“Violence is Not the Cure for Our Broken World”

Featured“Violence is Not the Cure for Our Broken World”

The staff of SC Ministry Foundation, along with Sisters of Charity and their affiliates active in peace and justice ministry were blessed to meet with two members of Pax Christi International and hear about the revolutionary work they are doing to promote nonviolence and just peace.

Secretary General Greet Vanaershot, from Belgium, and Senior Communications Officer Johnny Zokovitch, who splits his time between Belgium and Washington, D.C., were hosted at the Motherhouse where they thanked the Foundation and the Sisters of Charity for supporting their groundbreaking work.

Bringing Great Minds Together

The Foundation first supported Pax Christi International in 2016 with a grant for the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference they co-sponsored with several other organizations interested in promoting nonviolence. The conference, held in April, 2016, in Rome, Italy, brought together 80 theologians and peace leaders/practitioners from around the world – including places of extreme violence such as Iraq, South Sudan, Colombia, and the Philippines – to discuss and articulate a new understanding of nonviolence within the Catholic Church. Out of this meeting came the document, An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Recommit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence, which has been endorsed by more than 2,000 individuals and organizations.

This unprecedented gathering also gave birth to the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative – a project of Pax Christi International – which is focused on affirming the vision and practice of active nonviolence at the heart of the Catholic Church. The Initiative strives to help the Catholic Church deter the world from perpetual violence and war through an expanded investment of its intellectual, pastoral, academic, diplomatic, and financial resources to promote active nonviolence as a practical and effective tool for building peace within families, communities, and countries across the globe. They have created a platform for the best minds to articulate their experience of using nonviolent strategies in different contexts and to share that experience with peers, Church leaders, and government officials.

Preparing for the Next Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference

Catholic Nonviolence Initiative works closely with the Vatican in hopes that Pope Francis will write his next encyclical on the subject of nonviolence and just peace. This hope was fueled when their proposed theme and the substantial background materials they provided were used by the Pope in his 2017 World Day of Peace message, Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.

The Initiative has spent the last two years building on the success of the conference and working to replace simplistic ideas about nonviolent action with more accurate, expanded, and evidence-based information about effective nonviolent tools that could help humanity actually build a more peaceful world. Academics, moral theologians, activists, and the most creative, experienced peace-workers in the world have been reflecting in (virtual) round table conversations on multiple nonviolence-related themes. The outcome of these conversations will form the basis for a second conference on nonviolence and just peace in Rome in early 2019, which will again be supported, in part, by SC Ministry Foundation.

The conference will bring 80 – 100 participants together, many from war zones and violent situations. Other participants will be invited for their ability to influence the Vatican and international Catholic organizations to integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into the life and work of the Church through dioceses, parishes, agencies, schools, universities, seminaries, religious orders, voluntary associations, and others.

Professor Jeanette Rodriguez, PhD, is a member of one of the five international roundtables that have been meeting monthly via Skype for the past year. A celebrated faculty-scholar, Dr. Rodriguez has taught at Seattle University for 27 years. And for many years she’s been involved with Catholic peace reform movements. “Nonviolence is not just a concept or a methodology – it’s a tool, a way of being,” she says. “You can’t wake up from one day to the next and say, ‘I want to be nonviolent.’ You need to have a spiritual practice; habits that help form your character in a way that will help stop you from reacting violently, not just physical violence but the way we talk to one another. It involves the choices we make, the way we treat people.”



The Vital Role of Immigrants in Ohio

FeaturedThe Vital Role of Immigrants in Ohio

A new report, Our Pathway to a Brighter Future: Ohio’s New Americans, has revealed evidence that immigrants play a crucial role in Ohio’s economy and that further investments in services for immigrants would expand positive outcomes. The report is the result of the collaboration from SC Ministry Foundation and several Ohio funders, which sought to understand Ohio’s underserved immigrant populations and their contributions to our communities.

“Immigrants and their children represent the majority of projected labor-force growth in the United States over the next four decades,” said Richey Piiparinen, director of The Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University and the report’s author. “By making investments in supportive services here in Ohio, particularly for our newest immigrants, we can expedite their ability to positively contribute to Ohio’s economy.”

While many of Ohio’s immigrants have achieved conventional markers of success, including rates of educational attainment 15.4 percentage points higher than native-born Ohioans (42.1 percent of Ohio’s immigrants hold a four-year degree or higher compared to 26.7 percent of native-born Ohioans), immigrants have higher poverty rates than the native-born population (18.7 percent to 14.4 percent). This reality is a function of the time it takes to acclimate to a new country and its customs, and can be lessened with improved access to three types of services:

  • adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services and Spanish GED services throughout the state;
  • legal services that are affordable and available regardless of legal status;
  • a full-range of healthcare services that are available regardless of legal status and that address physical, mental, and oral health.

Supporting immigrants creates benefits for native-born Ohioans. Immigrants are more likely to fill physically demanding and emotionally draining jobs in high-demand fields such as home health care, catapulting native-born Ohioans into more skilled labor. As Ohio’s population ages, immigrants will play an important role in filling jobs for the estimated 1.1 million personal and home health care providers needed in the United States by 2026.

Additional findings in the report include:

  • Ohio’s immigrants have higher rates of family formation than native-born Ohio households, with 62.2 percent of immigrant households comprised of married couples with children compared to 56.4 percent of native-born.
  • While Ohio’s population growth is almost stagnant, growing at only 0.15 percent since 1998, immigrants help to stabilize Ohio’s population and are a source of growth.
  • Still, only 4.4 percent of Ohio’s population is composed of immigrants compared to 13.6 percent of the U.S. population. This is the largest divide between Ohio and the nation in modern history, and ranks Ohio in the bottom five nationally.

“Ohio’s immigrants drive cultural, economic, and social dynamism,” Piiparinen said. “By improving language, legal, and healthcare services, we can help immigrants contribute to Ohio’s economy and our communities more quickly. We must begin to imagine immigrant support services as a launchpad, not a safety net.”

Click to download the full report.

About the report

Our Pathway to a Brighter Future: Ohio’s New Americans is the result of a collaboration of funders coordinated through Philanthropy Ohio. It was funded through the generous support of The George Gund Foundation, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, Needmor Fund, Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, Open Society Foundations and SC Ministry Foundation.

2016 Annual Report in the Year of Mercy

2016 Annual Report in the Year of Mercy

Reflecting on the Year of Mercy: A Letter from Sister Sally Duffy, SC

Can you forgive God, your parents and yourself? I remember a priest at Notre Dame University beginning a homily with this question. Forgiving one’s self begins with recognizing that God forgives our sins. Yet one must begin by acknowledging our own sins, betrayals, denials, wretchedness, and collusion.

Continue reading “2016 Annual Report in the Year of Mercy”

Forgiving Offenses

Forgiving Offenses

Forgiving Offenses: Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center

Cincinnati, OH | www.ijpccincinnati.org

“Pardoning offenses becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves.” – Pope Francis

For the staff at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC), this belief in love and care for others is at the core of their work to promote a peaceful, nonviolent society. The organization was formed 30 years ago when five congregations of Catholic women religious, including the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, joined together to advocate for social justice. Today the organization is supported by 21 diverse faith communities which advance the mission of educating and advocating for peace and nonviolence, as well as challenging unjust local, national and global issues.

Sister Andrea Koverman, SC (right), visits with anti-death penalty advocate Derrick Jamison (left). Derrick survived nearly 20 years on death row in Ohio before being exonerated and freed in 2005.
Sister Andrea Koverman, SC (right), visits with anti-death penalty advocate Derrick Jamison (left). Derrick survived nearly 20 years on death row in Ohio before being exonerated and freed in 2005.

Some of the most serious social justice issues pertain to the racial disparity and unfairness with our nation’s use of the death penalty. Since 1973, more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence2. As long as the death penalty exists, the risk of executing an innocent person continues.

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Welcoming the Stranger

Welcoming the Stranger

Welcoming the Stranger: Catholic Charities of Central Colorado

Colorado Springs, CO | www.ccharitiescc.org

“We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us… As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.” –Pope Francis

Since 2009, the Family Immigration Services office within Catholic Charities of Central Colorado has served an increasing number of immigrants each year. The state of Colorado is home to more than 500,000 foreign-born residents from more than 75 countries. The challenges of a broken immigration system in the U.S. have left many of these immigrants undocumented. Just as most Americans are descendants of someone who came to this country with the desire to leave violence and poverty behind for a better life – so too are the stories of the modern-day migrants and refugees.

The evidence is clear and the struggles are real for many families seeking refuge in the U.S. “Many are fleeing horrific situations in Central America to keep their children safe,” shared Eric Pavri, director of Family Immigration Services. “They believe in the U.S. and feel they will be safe here.”

Cristina Pavasars (right), is one of two immigration counselors in the Family Immigration Services office who has earned accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals of the U.S. Department of Justice. She is pictured here with director and immigration attorney, Eric Pavri (left). Catholic Charities of Central Colorado is the only organization in their 10-county diocese that has government approval to provide low-cost legal representation in immigration cases.

Continue reading “Welcoming the Stranger”