From July 30 to August 1, 17 members of the Nuns on the Bus Ohio spent a three day retreat at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity to discern direction for the coming year. Watch out, Ohio, here we come!
From July 30 to August 1, 17 members of the Nuns on the Bus Ohio spent a three day retreat at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity to discern direction for the coming year. Watch out, Ohio, here we come!
What does Pope Francis say? Learn about his transformative vision on Saturday, July 19 at Xavier University in Cincinnati, when the Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice presents a workshop on The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis' first encyclical.
Today, June 14, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A will convene in Detroit and continue for a week. The Reverend Susan Bryan of Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati asks for prayers from us and our supporters. The Assembly will take up discussion of whether to divest funds from corporations that contribute to Israeli-Palestinian violence. They will also address such issues as the use of drones in warfare, human trafficking, U.S. - Cuba relations, the income gap, racism, whether to allow pastors to perform same sex marriages in states where they are legal, immigration reform,peacemaking, and other social justice concerns. Reverend Bryan participates regularly in the Cincinnati arm of Nuns on the Bus Ohio. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to guide all present in their deliberations and discernment.
Week 6: Climate Change
"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of God has done this? In God’s hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind" (Job 12:7-10).
Lent means springtime, and signs of new life are slowly emerging around us, inviting us to reflect on our harmony in the web of life that sacramentally reveals God, and to learn its rhythms (as Job proclaims). As people of faith, we believe the earth is entrusted by God to our care and this month of Lent emerging into Easter and Earthday invites us to restore right relationships.
"Today the great gift of God’s Creation is exposed to serious dangers and lifestyles which can degrade it. Environmental pollution is making particularly unsustainable the lives of the poor of the world … we must pledge ourselves to take care of creation and to share its resources in solidarity." - Pope Benedict XVI
In Ohio, we have a particular moral responsibility in addressing global warming, as we produce nearly 1% of all global emissions. We are 3rd in the US, which ranks second internationally (17% of all global emissions though we are less than 5% of global population ) Ohio is also one of the highest polluters of toxins into our air, water and land. Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas can pollute and disrupt our land and waterways, while greater conservation and renewable energies (such as wind and solar) can create jobs and cleaner air. The impacts on the health, food, and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable in our own region and internationally (who are not the ones causing global warming) calls us to action. Traditions of sacrifice and fasting for the sake of the global common good can make a difference. For example, because of the high resource consumption (water, land use, deforestation) associated with meat production, fasting can substantially reduce our carbon footprint.
Other Steps we can take and Resources available
The Catholic Climate Covenant website (http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/) provides a great many resources to guide our five-steps in addressing climate change. Some Ohio-based and specific resources are also suggested.
* Pray - Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) (http://meec.udayton.edu) in its publication section has resources for praying with nature and features native plant restoration and sales and information on environmental justice and climate change impacts in Ohio.
* Learn - Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org) has up to date sound science resources on climate impacts on Ohioans health and environment and energy solutions, and Ohio Environmental Council (http://www.theoec.org) provides Ohio-specific resources and public policy issues.
* Assess & Act The Lent Energy Fast booklet produced by MEEC includes 40 ways in 40 days that we can make changes that will conserve and reduce personal and institutional energy use.
* Advocate - Ohio Interfaith Power and Light (www.ohipl.org) has many resources to guide actions by individuals and congregations in energy conservation and public policy.
We pray that our great Ohio legacy of industry, agriculture, invention and technology can be channeled to renewable energy and creative solutions in new jobs, cleaner air and a healthier, more just environment for all.
-- submitted by Sr. Leanne M. Jablonski FMI
Week 5: Migration/Immigration
Last October a small fishing boat went down off the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing 366 migrants on board. They are only the most recent of thousands who have died trying to make this dangerous crossing. They were escaping Eritrea, a deeply impoverished and war-torn African country, with dreams of a safe and better life in Europe.
Eight months later, on July 5, 2013, Pope Francis visited Lampedusa and uttered these profound words, beginning with God's question of Cain in Genesis:
“’Where is your brother? The voice of his blood cries even to me,’ God says. This is not a question addressed to others: it is a question addressed to me, to you, to each one of us. These brothers and sisters seek to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace, they seek a better place for themselves and for their families - but they found death. How many time those who seek this do not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity!”
Pope Francis directed his remarks to “each one of us.” He was exhorting us to recognize the immigrant as our neighbor. He was calling us to look at “our Lampedusa.”
Teenager Nellie came to the United States with her mother from Mexico. She found work, saved money, and was about to buy a car when police stopped and arrested her for driving without a license (a catch 22 for undocumented immigrants). Sentenced to 8 months in jail for a first time offense, Nellie was plagued with depression. As a teenager, she fit into the Dreamer category, and a Dreamer organization took up her cause, with pro bono lawyers representing her, but to no avail. The judge made sure that Nellie served her full sentence before she was handed over to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) to be deported back to Mexico.
Many desperate people who have tried to cross the border from Mexico have died in the desert. Those who successfully arrived are always in peril of deportation until they can receive the proper papers, a long and obstacle strewn process that can take many, many years. This is “our Lampedusa.”
This week the 2 millionth immigrant is expected to be deported under President Obama’s administration. On April 1, bishops will gather for Mass at the U.S. / Mexico border. We invite you to join your prayer with theirs.
Examine your own intolerance toward others.
Start a conversation with folks who think differently on immigration reform.
Call your Congressperson and the White House. Tell them to stop deportations.
-- submitted by Sr. Mary Wendeln CPPS
Today, March 29, despite pouring rain and chilling temperatures, 75 to 100 supporters joined the Fast 4 Families bus at Xavier University in Cincinnati to rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Of course the Nuns on the Bus were there! (Several even rode in on the bus!) Among the featured speakers were Eliseo Medina, famed labor organizer, and several young Dreamers. Because Xavier University is the Alma Mater of House Speaker John Boehner, the message was simple and direct: "Mr. Speaker, give us a vote on comprehensive immigration reform!" — at Xavier University. (8 photos)
Week 4 -- Racism and Inclusion
Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
When singing the song “All Are Welcome in Our Church,” do you ever wonder when that will really be true? As much as we might want to believe that all people are welcome in our church, unfortunately that is not always the case. We may want this spirit of inclusion with all our hearts, or we may unconsciously – or consciously -- think our church is for only a certain type of person. We feel more comfortable “with our own kind” and we have centuries of tradition to back up those feelings.
Jesus reached out to everyone. For example, in yesterday’s Gospel, he asked a woman in Samaria for a drink of water at Jacob’s Well. The woman replied, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (She said this because Jews and Samaritans did not use things in common.) Similarly, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, he praised the Samaritan for showing great compassion and mercy to a stranger found beaten on the road, a man whom a priest and a Levite had already avoided by crossing the road. (The Samaritan was Jesus’ example of fulfilling the biblical commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.)
Cultures build on the ideas of inclusion and exclusion. Jesus showed us another way.
Americans today carry a huge burden of racial exclusion based on our legacies of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow laws. Black and white churches have been separate for centuries. Many institutional and historical factors keep them that way. Crossing the church color line is difficult because it requires a leap of faith – and hope – that one might be, if not welcomed, at least tolerated, in that other church. Perhaps seeing those of another race as neighbors in the biblical sense could help ease our uneasiness. Perhaps prayer could help us with this.
Am I, like the priest and Levite, sometimes tempted to avoid, judge, or fear another simply because of skin color? And if I am, what steps can I take to change those harsh reactions to gentler, more neighborly responses?
What simple steps can I take today to show neighborliness? Can I smile and say hello when I meet a stranger of another color? Can I introduce myself at a gathering or in a grocery line?
What can I do to bring about more neighborliness in my heart?
How can I help others in my church to feel more neighborly toward those not currently included?
“I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world….Love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization…. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr. 1957
-- submitted by Sr. Joyce Kahle CPPS and Sequoia Powers
In support of teachers in Catholic schools, Nuns on the Bus in Cincinnati have written the following:
An open letter to the teachers and principals in the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati:
As you discern your response to the contract presented to you for the 2014-15 school year, we assure you of our prayerful support. You have succeeded many of us as teachers and principals in a dearly loved and vital ministry in our parochial schools. Families today continue to look to Catholic education to prepare their children to live in a diverse, multi-cultural global society and to bring gospel values to the marketplace.
For some of you, it is a choice between following your conscience and keeping your job which provides your livelihood. It would be very detrimental to our schools to lose dedicated teachers who have given decades of service to Catholic education.
We remind you of the primacy of conscience and your importance as the Body of Christ. We pray that you will find a way to continue your ministry without compromising your integrity. May God show us the way forward together.
With love and deep respect,
The Nuns on the Bus
LENT FOR THE COMMON GOOD
Week 3 Health Care / Mental Health
“Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveler who has been attacked. It is Justice’s role to prevent the attacks.” -- Blessed Frederic Ozanam
Losing both a job and health insurance at the same time is devastating for any family. In Alicia’s case, the family also lost their home. This proud, middle class family of five found itself in poverty and in line for assistance at Jobs and Family Services. Alicia and her husband took any jobs they could find, but the bills kept stacking up. The pressure took its toll. Alicia, particularly, found herself exhausted, angry, depressed, and unable to sleep. Her husband felt shame and guilt for not being able to adequately support his family. Grief counseling could have helped both Alicia and her husband to deal with these heartbreaking and debilitating losses.
As our nation continues to deal with its economic crisis, demand for mental health services is increasing, but state budget cuts are creating a vicious cycle that is leaving some of our most vulnerable citizens behind. Without treatment, the consequences of emotional distress for the individual and society are staggering -- unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives. In the U.S., the economic cost of untreated mental illness is well over $100 billion each year.
We bring the good news of God’s love and active presence to others and to our community whenever we alleviate suffering, whether in body, mind, or spirit.
Do you know of anyone in your family (or perhaps yourself) who is suffering from stress and/or mental illness? Are his/her physical-health issues connected to emotional upset?
Do you know of places you can refer him/her for help? Are there affordable mental-health treatment centers in your neighborhood?
How do you extend the expansive heart of God with persons who suffer from mental challenges?
Are you intolerant or critical of persons who suffer from mental illness?
ACTION: call or speak with members of the Ohio legislature about the lack of resources for mental health.
-- submitted by Sr. Fran Repka, RSM
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
"The Spirit of God is upon me, God has anointed me to bring Good News to those who are poor, to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, and that the oppressed will be set free.”(Luke 4:18)
Recently when I heard a speaker say that oppressed people share responsibility for their oppression, I was stunned. How can that be? Isn’t this blaming the victim? Then I heard it as a call to claim our inner freedom. Yes, we may suffer from others’ abuse of power, but our hearts can be free. With grace, our spirits can be whole.
Dan recently returned to society after being incarcerated for over 20 years. In spite of the harsh, demeaning environment he experienced in prison, he miraculously emerged without anger and hatred. Grateful for life and freedom to move about, he is friendly and helpful. He has very little of this world’s goods, but he is free – inside and out.
Peace and non-violence begin inside each of us and spread from there.
Do my words and actions plant seeds of peace or do I spread suspicion, distrust, or innuendo?
Do I model that God has set us free. Have I let go of feeling like a victim?
Resolve this week speak a word of encouragement or comfort to a person suffering from anxiety or stress.
Consciously choose not to add to negative political innuendos.
-- submitted by Sr. Carren Herring, RSM
Week 1: The Wealth Gap and Economic Justice
Pope Francis recently said, "Today we also have to say 'thou shall not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.” “The Joy of the Gospel"(Evangelii Gaudium)
Do you know someone in your family, neighborhood, city, state or the world who is barely surviving? Have they been victims of an unjust economic system that believes in the “trickle down” or the “pull yourself up by the boot straps” philosophy?
An economically just system values the dignity inherent in all human beings, meets the person's basic needs – physical, spiritual and intellectual -- and calls us beyond selfishness to the common good by including full participation and sharing of power.
Is the person you know suffering from exclusion or inequality or both?
What new way can we act to include him/her in our community?
Is my table big enough to include that person for a few days?
Can I encourage my legislator to make changes in the law that widens our sense of “community?”.
-- submitted by Sr. Jean Miller, SC
February 25, 2014 - In one week Ash Wednesday will launch the holy season of Lent. Lent is about preparation for Baptism and renewing baptismal commitments. Those already baptized invite the Spirit to help us change from within so that we may enter into the deeper meanings of our faith. For each week of Lent, Nuns on the Bus Ohio will offer meditations and action steps inviting you to share our vision and spirituality. Welcome!
It has been almost a year since Pope Francis was elected by the College of Cardinals to lead the Catholic Church. From the beginning he has captured the hearts and imaginations of many with his humility, simplicity, and warmth. He continually reminds those with abundance that we must care about individuals who live on the margins, particularly the poor. He tells us the Church must be about inclusion, not exclusion. While he does not endorse the ordination of women as priests, he does say the Church needs a theology of women. On February 2, he spoke about the important role of nuns. Here is a summary of his remarks.
Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday highlighted the great value that nuns bring to the Church. “What would happen” – the Pope said – “if there were no nuns? No nuns in hospitals, in missions, in charitable institutions, in schools… Can you even imagine a Church without nuns…? No it is unthinkable!”.
And speaking on the day in which we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life, the Pope said that nuns are great women. He said “they are a gift, the leaven that carries the message of Christ”. “These women – he said – are great!”
The Pope’s words came before the Sunday recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, after having presided over Mass in the Basilica on the Feast Day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, a Feast which is traditionally dedicated to Consecrated Life.
To those gathered in the Square Pope Francis said that consecrated persons in different sectors are “the leaven of a more just and fraternal society”. He said that “Consecrated Life is a gift of God to the Church and to His people”.
The Pope said that the Church and the world needs the witness of religious and consecrated lay people to the love and the mercy of God, and he asked for prayers so that many young people may say “yes” to God who calls them “to consecrate their lives to Him and to be of service to their brothers and sisters”.
Pope Francis recalled that the year 2015 will be dedicated to Consecrated Life and asked for prayers for this initiative. After the recitation of the Angelus Prayer, Pope Francis reminded those present that in Italy “The Day for Life” is celebrated today with the theme “Generating the Future”. He sent his greetings and encouragement to those committed to the defence of life from its conception to its natural end.
On February 2, 2014 Sister Mary Wendeln CPPS and Sequoia Powers will accompany a group of DREAMERS and their families to urge Speaker of the House John Boehner to sponsor Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the US House of Representatives. Please pray that we will be persuasive and he receptive. For more information see United We Dream.
Sister Barbara Wheeler OP, lifelong friend of the poor, died in Cincinnati on January 4, 2014. When the original Nuns on the Bus came through Cincinnati on its Midwest tour in June 2012, Sister Barbara was at the Peaslee Center in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood to greet them. This photograph notes that occasion. We cherish the memory of this good sister and pledge to carry forward the work she held dear.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 AM on January 18, 2014 at St. Joseph Church, 745 Ezzard Charles Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45203. This will be followed by a Pot Luck Luncheon in Fr. Rivers Hall. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Dominican Sisters of Hope, 4027 Fawnhill Lane, Cincinnati, OH 45205.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Law is stalled in the House of Representatives. All over the country coordinated activities are taking place the week of December 15 to bring attention to the need to pass this important law.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 17, 6 PM, CINCINNATI
Join us for an evening of Christmas Caroling to support immigrant families. We will carol in SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER'S NEIGHBORHOOD. Please come and invite your friends. It is time for Speaker Boehner to look into his heart and do what is right to support immigration reform!
Meet at 6 pm at the corner of Wetherington Drive and Tylersville Road in West Chester. Please park in the West Chester Meijer parking lot: 7390 Tylersville Road, West Chester, OH 45069. The evening will include complimentary hot cocoa and candy canes. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-621-5991)
Hope to see you there!
Federal Funding for Ohio Medicaid Expansion
If Ohio expands the population served by Medicaid by January 2014, the state will receive the following matching federal funds to cover the additional cost:
100% in 2014, 2015, 2016
95% in 2017 90% in 2020 and thereafter
94% in 2018
93% in 2019
90% in 2020 and thereafter
Ohio Medicaid Today
The Ohio Medicaid program covers persons with disabilities and seniors up to 64% of federal poverty level (FPL); parents with dependent children up to 90% of FPL; children and pregnant women up to 200% of FPL; and workers with disabilities up to 250% of FPL. The FPL is $23,550 for a family of four.
Economic Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Ohioans
Over the nine-year period, 2014-2022, the Ohio Medicaid Expansion Study
estimates that expansion of Medicaid eligibility to people living at or below 138% of the federal poverty level would:
1. Allow $1.6 billion in state budget savings
2. Generate $2.7 - $2.8 billion in state revenue
3. Increase Ohio’s Medicaid costs between $2.4 billion and $2.5 billion
because more people would be covered
4. Result in $1.8 - $1.9 billion in net state budget gains
Current Status of Legislation in Ohio
Gov. John Kasich's budget proposal to extend coverage for Medicaid up to
138% of FPL, with a "safety valve" to protect against changes in the federal
matching rate, failed to gain enough support in the legislature.
Sen. Capri Cafaro introduced Senate Bill 166 to expand Medicaid coverage to
275,000 Ohioans and cap the cost growth of the program at 3.5% rate, half the
current rate. House Finance Chairman, Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) hopes
to move on a package of bills regarding Medicaid expansion by early October.
Call to Action
Tell your Senator (www.ohiosenate.gov) and Representative
(www.ohiohouse.gov) to expand Medicaid to 138% of federal poverty level.
For More Information
The Ohio Medicaid Expansion Study is a partnership of the Health Policy
Institute of Ohio, the Ohio State University, Regional Economic Models, and the Urban Institute. To view all publications and materials for the Study, visit http://bit.ly/Ybiqxi.
From Church World Service:
Please share this info far and wide to prep everyone to get ready for a major call-in push for May 9, 14, 16, and 20-24 as the Senate considers amendments to the immigration bill.
NOW is the time! Get ready to make very important calls on amendments to the Immigration Bill!
On May 9th, the Senate Judiciary will begin voting on amendments to the Bipartisan immigration bill (S. 744). See compiled faith statements and analysis on the bill at http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IIC-Statements-on-Immigration-Bill.pdf. Once the process begins, it will be important for faith voices to be heard in support of or in opposition to those amendments that will impact our communities. Please get ready to make calls on the important dates listed below. We already know that we will have to defeat anti-refugee and -asylum amendments, and push for improvements to the family unity provisions, eligibility for the pathway to citizenship, enforcement provisions, etc.
• On May 6 at 4:00 EST, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition will host a webinar on how we are organizing to add positive amendments and prevent anti-immigrant amendments to the bill. To join, call 805-399-1000, access code 104402#. RSVP for a link to the visual portion on the morning of the call.
• We expect the Amendment process to begin on Thursday May 9, and continue on May 14th, 16th, and 20th - 24th. Once the process begins, it will be very important for every single person in our networks to CALL 1-866-940-2439 on those mornings, to hear about amendments and urge your Senators to support or oppose amendments that will impact our communities. The IIC will send action alerts on the morning of each day with information on what amendments will be considered. You can sign up for alerts at http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/.
• Members of Congress will be home for recess on May 27-June 3, which is a great opportunity for us to meet with them in neighbor-to-neighbor visits, and host family unity prayer vigils. Both May and June are great times to draw media attention to your support for humane and compassionate immigration reform. Try your hand at letters to the editors responding to immigration reform stories you read in your local newspapers and voice your support for immigration reform that keeps families together, improves the lives of refugees, and creates a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans.
There is materials-online IIC Communications Toolkit.to support your media outreach. See also the Map of Actions and Calendar Events on the IIC Website, and please coordinate with local immigrant rights groups
The time is now to make immigration reform a reality! Let’s work together and make it happen!
Join NOTB Ohio and others as we work to move immigration reform forward!
Nuns on the Bus Ohio joined thousands of other Ohioans at the Statehouse to support Medicaid Expansion in Ohio! We heard from a veteran and other hard working Ohioans who deserve to have the healthcare they need! All Ohioans deserve to have the healthcare they need! Urge your State representative to expand Medicaid!