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Promoting justice and peace for the most vulnerable

Welcome to the Canadian Augustinian Centre for Social Justice

The Canadian Augustinian Centre for Social Justice will work to break the silence surrounding the poor. Our goal is to help people recognize the social, political and economic conditions surrounding them and take action against these oppressive elements.

This is accomplished by offering educational workshops/seminars for service providers.

We will work to form linkages, networks and partnerships among service providers so they can be effective in building a foundation of community support.

“It would be better no one be hungry, and this necessity did not exist”. St. Augustine

Current Highlights

As the climate conference in Paris gets underway, it is important to take some time to increase our understanding of climate change, the conference, and our involvement as Christians. This section provides some ideas about the meeting in Paris, the Encyclical of Pope Francis on this topic, the response in video from Canada, and Advent liturgy from the Maryknolls, a prayer for the success of the conference and an article from a Catholic newspaper in Canada.

The climate conference in Paris is an opportunity for us to reflect on what this conference is all about, reflect on what Pope Francis has said about our common home and to offer prayers for its success.

In 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

France will play a leading international role in hosting this seminal conference, and COP21 will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.

The official site of COP21 is here.

Laudato Si

On May 24, 2015 Pope Francis issued the encyclical “Laudato Si” - Praise be to You, My Lord entitled “On Care for our Common Home”. His opening paragraph states, “in the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.

You can read the entire encyclical by clicking here.

There is a video response to the encyclical prepared by a group in Canada. It is entitled, “Laudato Si, A Canadian Response”. You can see the entire video by clicking here

THE MARYKNOLLS

The Maryknolls have produced an Advent Reflection Guide based on Laudato Si. There is some reflection for each week of Advent, scripture passages, suggestions for action and some further resources. Maryknollers have especially engaged in social justice ministry for many years.

You can access the guide here.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement has written a prayer or COP21 in Paris. It invokes God our Father, the Holy Trinity, Jesus, Mary, St. Francis, and St. John Paul II.

You can read the entire prayer by clicking here.

THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

The Catholic Register newspaper has an article by Michael Swan entitled “Catholics waking up to the perils of climate change”. In the article he wonders whether Catholics around the world are ready to hear and take action on climate change even though world leaders are meeting in Paris at COP21 to discuss the issue. He points out that religiously, Catholics seem to have more personal concern about climate change. Among Canadian Catholics, 26 per cent said they were “very concerned that climate change will harm me personally.”

The Pope encouraged the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to organize a Vatican workshop for global leaders in April. It concluded with a statement that, “In the face of the emergencies of human-induced climate change, social exclusion and extreme poverty, we join together to declare that human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity.”

In conclusion he quotes Pope Francis, “our time cannot ignore the issue of ecology, which is vital to man’s survival. Nor (can we) reduce it to merely a political question. Indeed, it has a moral dimension that affects everyone, such that no one can ignore it. As disciples of Christ, we have a further reason to join with all men and women of good will to protect and defend nature and the environment.”

You can read the entire article by clicking here.


Gift Box in Toronto July 10 to August 15

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons July 30, 2015

Unwrap the Horrors – Catholic Register July 2015

Covenant House Trafficking Petition – Catholic Register August 2015

Pan Am trafficking project a resounding success


GIFT BOX HAS ARRIVED

July 7, 2015 Faith Alliance to End Human Trafficking at St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto unveiled the “UN Gift box” which will remain there throughout the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in July and August in Toronto and surrounding area. The box will be open from 10:00am to 6:00pm each day of the games.

On hand to celebrate the launch were representatives from various Religious Congregations, faith leaders, volunteers, designers, architects, committee members and many others.

GIFT Box is a global project that was launched by “Stop the Traffik” and “UN Gift” in 2012 and has introduced over 50,000 people in approximately 100 locations across 5 countries to the issue of human trafficking and inspired them to further action. This is the first Gift box to appear in Canada.

Through the Gift Box, visitors to the games will share the stories of those who have experienced human trafficking first hand – and learn what can be done to end this situation.

The outer side of the box invites people inside to a better life, good job, and more money. When inside the box one reads the stories of those who have been trafficked, the atrocities that have been committed and some ways to begin to address the situation.

Representing the Canadian Augustinian Centre for Social Justice was Brian Dwyer, the director. He served on the committee of Faith Alliance to arrange for this project to be realized.

Dr. Sue Wilson of the Sisters of St. Joseph in London Ontario gave the opening keynote address. She told the stories of two people who have been trafficked, one internationally, and one right here in Canada. She challenged all of us to take action to address the situation. She said that those who are trafficked are asking us to speak with Government, law enforcement and social services to come together to address the issue.

References:

Faith Alliance to End Human Trafficking
Pope Francis – World Day Against Trafficking
UN Gift Box
Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network
UN World Day Against Trafficking in Human Persons

For more photos, please click here