Update (November 2002)
LCWR Participates in Actions Opposing War on Iraq
Since mid-August, LCWR has actively spoken out against the Bush Administration's efforts to encourage a U.S.-led pre-emptive strike on Iraq.
The August 16 LCWR National Board letter to President Bush decrying any unprovoked attacks against Iraq was endorsed by the LCWR membership at the 2002 National Assembly in St. Louis. The letter recieved significant coverage in the Catholic media.
LCWR President Mary Ann Zollman, BVM, spoke at the evening vigil held near the White House during the September 25 Lobby Day, organized by NETWORK and Pax Christi. The next day, the LCWR President was interviewed by Catholic News Service and visited her Iowa senator's offices.
On October 9, LCWR joined NETWORK and Pax Christi USA in organizing a lobby day on Capitol Hill to oppose the resolution being debated that would open the way for U.S. military action against Iraq. Forty people gathered to pray, visit their legislators’ offices, deliver written statements (including the LCWR board letter) to Congressional offices, and stand in silent vigil holding signs at intersections between the House and Senate Office Buildings and the Capitol. Those who came the farthest to join in the Lobby Day activities were three Benedictine sisters who drove nine hours from Eastern Kentucky to participate. In the evening, about 100 people participated in a public prayer vigil for peace.
In spite of the Senate and House approval of the Bush Administration's resolution, LCWR members are encouraged to continue to express their resistant to U.S. millitay actions against Iraq by sending faxes, e-mails and letters to President Bush and his Cabinet, as suggested in the 2002 LCWR Asembly Resolution for Peace. The Resolution for Peace may be viewed at the LCWR website under "Assembly Information" at www.lcwr.org.
LCWR Joins Other U.S. and U.K. Christian Leaders in Issuing Statement on Iraq
LCWR President Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM, and CMSM President Canice Connors, OFM, were among the 28 U.S. and U.K. Christian leaders who signed the statement “Disarm Iraq Without War,” which may be found on the Sojourners website, www.sojo.net.
LCWR Executive Director Carole Shinnick, SSND, represented LCWR and the Catholic Church in an interfaith press conference held October 11, 2002, at Washington’s National Press Club to release the statement. The press Press Conference included Bishop Peter Prince of Bath, England (participating by speaker phone), Bishops John Bryson Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and Rev. Jim Wallis.
A portion of Carole’s statement was reported in a September 13 Washington Post article: “We are convinced that the current move towards war is generated by fear – fear that has been carefully nurtured by the present administration – fear of another September 11th – fear of not being re-elected and that decisions made in a climate of fear are seldom wise, generous, or principled.”
National Coalition on Catholic Health Care Ministry Reviews Resource Handbook
On October 1, 2002, members of the National Coalition on Catholic Health Care Ministry met in Washington, DC, to continue collaboration among the Bishops’ Conference, Catholic Health Association, religious sponsors, and Catholic Charities USA.
The Coalition reviewed in detail the content of a resource handbook for decision-making, with the expected publication date early in 2003. The group also engaged in ongoing discussion of processes by which lay-sponsored health care entities relate within the institutional church.
LCWR representatives in the Coalition are Bea Eichten, OSF (chair); Diane Grassilli, RSM; Eileen Moughan, SHCJ; Marie Therese Sedgwick, DC; Teresa Maltby, RSM; and Judy Cannon, RSM (staff).
NCNWR Congress Encourages Creativity in Communications
“NCNWR: Gateway to Collaborative Creativity” was the theme of the 8th annual National Communicators’ Network for Women Religious (NCNWR) conference. Almost 100 communicators from many LCWR member congregations across the U.S. and Canada attended the 4 - day meeting in St. Louis, MO.
During the NCNWR business meeting, LCWR member and NCNWR Co-Chair Barbara Mullen, CSJ, reported on the progress of the organization’s 4 year strategic plan and its continued development of its website, listserve and communication materials to support the work of congregational communicators. For more information, go to www.ncnwr.org. LCWR Communications Director Sheila George attended the meeting as LCWR liaison.
LCWR Thanks Assembly 2002 Volunteers
Once again, LCWR’s National Assembly was in no small part a success due to its volunteers. From the Assembly Planning Committee to the energetic group of local sisters who help stuff Assembly folders, register the participants and distribute materials to participants’ tables, to the liturgical dancers and musicians to the NCNWR Region 10 members who assisted the Communications Office with photography and reporting on workshop sessions, a note of thanks is expressed from the National Office to all of you for your commitment and generosity.
National Catholic Development Conference Holds Annual Assembly
The annual National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) was held September 14-18, 2002, in Philadelphia, PA. NCDC assists organizations in development ministries by providing opportunities for leadership growth and networking through regional meetings. At the conference, Milwaukee Bishop Robert Morneau, NCDC Episcopal moderator, spoke of the spirituality of stewardship to new attendees. Suzanne Delaney, IHM, LCWR staff, attended on behalf of the Conference.
Additional information on the full range of services offered by NCDC may be found at www.ncdcusa.org.
Think Tank VI on Systemic Change
Register now for the sixth annual Think Tank on Systemic Change, February 9 (5:30 p.m.) through February 11, 2003 (noon) in Tampa, Florida. Facilitator Carol Zinn, CSJ, will focus on issues in peacemaking. To register, please use the form in this UPDATE mailing. Registration deadline is December 17, 2002.
From The Executive Director's Desk
As I write this column, the Washington, DC area is gripped with fear. In a little over a week, there have been ten sniper shootings, eight of them fatal. And despite an all-out effort on the part of law enforcement officers to find and stop them, the perpetrators are still at large. Ordinary people doing ordinary things – loading groceries, pumping gas – have been the targets of these attacks. Frequently our lunchtime conversations here at Cameron Street focus on the new routines and strategies developed in self-defense against an unknown and very frightening danger.
There is a certain sad irony in the fact that – in the midst of this local “reign of terror” - both houses of Congress voted to give the present administration more-or-less unlimited power to bring destruction and death to the peoples of Iraq. We hear how “smart bombs” and “sophisticated weapons” will function with “laser-like efficiency” to “minimize collateral damage.” This in the nation’s capital where law enforcement officers cannot find or stop two people driving public streets in a white minivan!
Supposedly the sniper left a Tarot “death card” taunting the police with the written message, “I am God.” As a nation, are we not also participating in a similar blasphemy, saying that we, too, are able to pick and choose who lives and who dies in our world? Is it possible that we who reside in the Washington, DC area are being given a tiny taste of what it must feel like to be a population that a superpower has decided to attack?
For the last three weeks, LCWR members in conjunction with the incredibly capable staff of NETWORK and the committed members of Pax Christi, have been writing, calling, and visiting lawmakers to persuade them not to approve the resolution to go to war against Iraq. We have stood in the dark, in drizzling rain with flickering candles two blocks from the White House, praying that our officials would choose wisely.
Given the outcome of the vote yesterday, it would be easy to be discouraged. But to do that would be to give up too easily, to say that this business of being a prophetic voice is just too hard. As LCWR, we are committed more than ever to creating a culture of peace. Our God has promised, “I know the plans I have for you…plans of peace and not disaster – to give you a future and a hope!” And God never reneges on a promise.
- Carole Shinnick, SSND
Has Your E-mail Address Changed?
Throughout the year, LCWR members may change their contact e-mail addresses for any number of reasons. If you do so, please inform the National Office. Without the correct e-mail addresses in the LCWR database, important information sent only via WorldMerge messages will not reach LCWR members. Help us communicate effectively with you by sending any changes to your membership e-mail address to Linda Ann Thomas at email@example.com.
LCWR Days of Contemplation
2002 Monthly Reflection
Susan Borgel, CPPS
Let us lay aside the sword of busyness and
allow God to fill the ensuing emptiness
with God’s self and thus reshape us into
instruments of reconciliation.
World Bank Bonds Boycott
The World Bank Bonds Boycott is an international grassroots campaign that is building moral, political, and financial pressure on the World Bank regarding their loans to highly indebted countries. CMSM and many communities of women religious have endorsed the boycott, stating their refusal to buy World Bank bonds. This is an opportunity to work for cancellation of poor countries’ unpayable debt as stated in our 1998 Joint Assembly resolution. For information and a list of endorsing communities visit www.worldbankboycott.org.
For Your Information
New Leader Workshop Deadline Approches
LCWR members interested in attending the 2003 New Leader Workshop are encouraged to return their completed registration form by December 3, 2002. For additional information, please contact Suzanne Delaney, IHM at the National Office, firstname.lastname@example.org
Common WorldMerge Questions Answered
Q: I am a regional LCWR member, yet I never seem to receive the WorldMerge messages – why? A: WorldMerge messages are for national LCWR members and associates; regional members not in the national member database will not be able to recieve WorldMerge messages. Please e-mail your WorldMerge questions to LCWR Communications Director Sheila George at email@example.com.
LRCR Staff News
Judy Hereford relocated to St. Louis, MO effective October 1, 2002, but continues her work as Associate Director of the Legal Resource Center for Religious by telecommuting. For her contact information in St. Louis or for further information, please check the LRCR website, www.lrcr.org.