Columban Mission Newsletter Columban Mission Newsletter
U.S. Region of the Missionary Society of St. Columban

Monday, November 2, 2009 VOLUME 2 ISSUE 11  
The Kidnapping of Fr. Michael Sinnott
God's Garden in Peru
A Prayer for Fr. Michael Sinnott
A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Fr. Michael Sinnott
The November newsletter from the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Fr. Michael Sinnott
October 12, 2009
Vol. 3 Issue 1
October 2009 Columban Mission Newsletter
October 1, 2009
Vol. 2 Issue 10
September newsletter
September 1, 2009
Vol. 2 Issue 9

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The November newsletter from the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
In 1991, Columban missionaries in Peru responded to a cholera epidemic by creating a recycling project that eventually led to the founding of the Happy Earthworm Project. In a video recently produced by the Columbans, four communities are shown working together to collect all of their refuse and re-use everything possible. The residents have been educated about separating their trash into items to compost, items to recycle and the few items that cannot be reused in some way. The food garbage is fed to the earthworms, and they turn it into useable plant fertilizer  which is sold to sustain the project. The community is now cleaner, has less disease and more employment.  You can watch the video at:
It is an inspiring story of what one community can do and is a wonderful example that it is possible to live more justly and sustainably. 
Michelle Melcher Knight (Advocacy/Outreach Associate)
DeMint Amendment Dismissed
The Department of Homeland Security 2010 Appropriations Bill was passed by the House and Senate without the DeMint amendment, which proposed at least 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the southwest border by December 31, 2010. At this time, the bill awaits the President’s signature. Columban missionaries opposed this amendment because of its anticipated negative impact to the environment and the communities living on both sides of the border. The DeMint Amendment (S.A 1399) was removed from the DHS Appropriations Bill, and many in Congress recognized the problems with the amendment, such as Rep. Henry Cuellar (D- TX) who stated, "The DeMint amendment represented an unproductive and inefficient border security strategy.”  As we think about comprehensive immigration reform, the rejection of the DeMint amendment is a step in the right direction.  
Veronica Diaz (Migration/Border Intern)
Immigration Rally on Capitol Hill Mobilizes Thousands
At an afternoon rally in front of the Capitol on Tuesday, October 13, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s Immigration Task Force joined with Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus,  Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) to promote the message that an immigration overhaul is long overdue.  Similar rallies were scheduled in at least 20 cities throughout the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, San Jose and Minneapolis.
Thousands of immigrants and supporters, including the CCAO staff, came to Capitol Hill for a day of lobbying and an afternoon rally calling for comprehensive immigration reform. A main purpose of the rally was to call attention to current immigration law and its effects on families.  U.S. citizens and immigrants living in cities throughout the country spoke to the crowd, telling their personal stories with the message that it is time to reform our current immigration policies.
Katherine Moone (Migration Volunteer)
Rethinking U.S. Foreign Aid
Since the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act was written in 1961, the U.S. government has contributed billions of dollars to governments and NGOs with the goal of eradicating extreme poverty. Fifty years later, statistics show that extreme poverty is still a global crisis. Almost half the world’s population — over three billion people — lives on less than $2.50 a day. One billion children live in poverty; 29,000 die daily from preventable causes.[1]
Recently, two bills have been introduced in Congress, H.R. 2139 by Representative Howard L. Berman and S. 1524 by Senator John Kerry, both calling for the re-examination and modernization of U.S. foreign aid. The White House announced a Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Development Policy, the results of which will be released in January 2010. In addition the U.S. Department of State began a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to provide the short-, medium-, and long-term blueprint for our diplomatic and development efforts. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Foreign Assistance Act, it is an opportunity to reexamine the policies and practices of U.S. aid to the world. Columban missionaries know well the impacts U.S. aid has had in the global community and can speak to the successes and challenges of the current system.  
The success of Foreign Aid reform is in no way guaranteed. Join us in telling Congress that we care deeply about the effectiveness of foreign assistance. Contact your member of Congress today and ask them to support H.R. 2139 & S. 1524.
Lily Olson (Economic Justice Intern)
Climate Migration
There is a growing awareness of migration as a consequence of global climate change.  In Peru, Columbans recognize seasonal weather patterns as having negative impacts on traditional agricultural practices of indigenous communities often forcing them from rural areas to urban centers.  In small island nations like Fiji, sea level rise forces migration of entire communities.   Poor air, water, and soil quality tax the health of residents in many regions. In a recent Columban publication on climate change, it is estimated that in total between 25 and 50 million people have been displaced by environmental causes.[2]
Currently climate migrants do not receive protection under international law. The CCAO in partnership with other faith-based and civil society organizations is working to draw attention to the connection between the environment and migration. We are advocating for U.S. policies which will reduce climate-change factors that drive migration as well as for the rights of climate migrants.
Ariell Watson (Climate Migrant Intern)
Senate Climate Bill
In October, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Boxer (D- CA) drafted a Climate Change bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S 1733). With international climate change talks approaching in Copenhagen, the U.S. is expected to pass legislation before December as a sign of its commitment to the talks. The bill calls for tough but desirable goals for emissions reductions by 2020 and 2050. However, the bill also proposes a stronger effort at integrating biofuels into the energy sector. Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh, an internationally recognized eco-theologian, calls for the use of wind and solar power over the biofuels option. Fr. McDonagh also warns against the nuclear power option which many members of Congress support.  For more Columban analysis on biofuels and nuclear power by Fr. McDonagh, visit the Columban Ireland-based website: hearings begin at the end of October, and our office will be following the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process. 
Casey Gallagher (Environmental Justice Intern)
Columbans Outreach in Los Angeles - Ariel Presbitero
Multicultural Los Angeles, California, is a wonderful backdrop for Columban mission in the U.S.  From Korean youth ministry to our largely migrant and Hispanic parish in Fontana to our active group of Filipino supporters and Affiliates, there are many opportunities to outreach to these communities.   Volunteer fairs at local universities like Loyola Marymount and Religious Education Congresses are also venues where we invite people to join Columbans in mission.  We invite you to be missionary with Columbans. Here are some of our upcoming opportunities:
·         Peru Mission Exposure Trip: January 30 to February 8, 2010
·         Columban Mission Retreats:
        Los Angeles, CA – November 15, 2009  (9 AM – 4 PM) -Columban Center House
        Omaha, NE – December 5, 2009 (9 AM – 4 PM) – Columban Retreat Center
·         Stop by our booth at the National Catholic Youth Conference:
Kansas City, MO, November 19 – 21, 2009
If you would like more information about our Mission Exposure trip to Peru or to register for our retreats, please contact our office at or 301-565-4547.

[1] Bread for the World -
[2] Theresa Polk, “Climate Change and Forced Migration: The Gathering Storm,” in Climate Change: The Agenda for Mission Today, ed. Patrick McMullan (Korea, 2009), 102.

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