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Let’s Celebrate Earth Day, 22 April 2015

 

Intrinsic connection between care for the environment and care for the poor
Photo for Earth Day 2015“It’s what we have when we have nothing that defines our relation to nature and the effect of nature on the soul. Then we begin to realise that we do not exist outside of nature or above nature or independent of nature; we are simply its most vulnerable part.
What we learn from nature may make the whole difference in the way we go through life and what we want from it, and what we consider important in it, and- most of all- what we are capable of learning by being alive.” Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB. Becoming Fully Human; The Greatest Glory of God. 2005
2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which was founded in 1970. In terms of care for the earth and environmental awareness, we like to think that we have come a long way since the 1970s but in light of Pope Francis’ statement, January ‘’It is man [sic] who has slapped nature in the face, ’’ there is still a long road ahead as we try to honour our obligations to care for the world we all live in and share.
Ms. Gina McCarthy, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stated at her meeting with Pope Francis in late January,  “…It’s important to have Pope Francis continue to speak as clearly as he can because there are millions if not billions of people at risk here who the Catholic church and other faiths have been focused on for many, many years and it’s those individuals that we need to speak for, and to help.’’
Pope Francis, who took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment- has made care for the environment another hallmark of his papacy.  It is expected that the Vatican will issue an Encyclical on the environment in July, 2015.  believing that ‘’A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us…and this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.’’ (Pope Francis, 9th February, 2015).
Second Photo for Earth Day 2015RENATE believes that our failure to respect the Earth is linked with consumerism, greed, conflicts which lead to the annihilation of the dignity of the human person – all of which contribute to human trafficking and the exploitation of persons.
For more information, please see:
’Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change & Sustainable Development, ’’ summit to be held on the 28th April, 2015 at Casina Pio IV, Vatican City, Rome.
www.pas.va (Pontifical Academy of Sciences) & www.pass.va (Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences).
www.earthday.org/2015
 
Prepared by Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person
 

International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Transatlantic Slave Trade

 

International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic SlaveTrade
Remember Slavery
 
Every year on the 25th of March, the world honours and remembers the victims of slavery and especially those victims of the transatlantic slave trade.
In previous years, themes centred on “Remembrance”, “Celebrating Emancipation”, “Culture” and more. In 2015, the theme will be “Women and Slavery” with tribute being paid to both the enslaved women who endured forced labour and exploitation, and the women who subsequently overcame slavery and abuse, to become leaders in the modern world.
This year is particularly special as a Permanent Memorial in honour of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade will be unveiled at the United Nations Visitor Plaza in New York, as a reminder to the world to remember and reflect upon the legacy of the slave trade and to fight against racism and prejudice as they occur in modern times.
The permanent Memorial is entitled “Ark of Return: Lest We Forget” created by Mr. Rodney Leon, an American of Haitian descent who explained his design as follows: “The Ark of Return is a symbolic spiritual space and object where one can interact and pass through for acknowledgement, contemplation, meditation, reflection, healing, education and transformation.’’
In 2013, at the announcement of the winning design, Ms. Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General stated “The slave trade is not merely a thing of the past – it has shaped the world we live in, it has moulded the face of modern societies, creating indissoluble ties between people, irreversibly transforming economies, cultures and customs across the world. The slave trade concerns not only people of African descent but the whole of humanity.”
The permanent Memorial is intended to be a reminder to future generations of the importance of remembering and learning from the past. It will help us appreciate the importance of understanding history and the consequences of slavery. In addition, it will act as an educational resource, raising awareness about the dangers of racism, prejudice and their impact on society.
During the week commencing 23rd March, 2015, a series of events are taking place worldwide, to include cultural events at the United Nations General Assembly Building.
For more information, please see: www.un.org/slaveryremembranceday/2015
To watch the unveiling ceremony of The Ark of Return, please log onto: UN WEB TV

 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Report from RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania

 

RENATE Working Board meeting in Durrës, Albania
9-16 March, 2015
RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania, 9-16 March 2015
The reassuring words of Matthew 18:21 ‘’For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst,’’ set the tone for the yearly general meeting of the RENATE Working Board in Albania.
Because the Working Board gathers formally once a year, the meeting is of great importance not only as a time when Board members make time to get together, share knowledge and best practise concerning human trafficking and exploitation, but equally as a time of discernment for when Board members and staff reflect upon much that has been achieved over the last year, and to plan for all that is yet to be done in order to fulfil the mission, vision, goals and objectives of RENATE.
With 18 European countries represented around the table, the excellent facilitation provided by Patricia Mulhall, CSB, was essential to the 28 participant’s full participation and to ensuring a productive week together.
The work of the week included consideration of the following:

  • The RENATE Annual Report, 2014.
  • The audited accounts for RENATE, for the period 1st October 2013 to 30th September, 2014.
  • Discernment processes, with a view to informing future priorities.
  • Capacity building, with the specific intention of increasing membership from Eastern Europe.
  • How best to deploy existing resources, i.e. development of the WEB.
  • Communications, with an appeal to all members to engage, respond and be more proactive in communicating their local stories and initiatives.
  • RENATE Corporate Campaign, where the Board identified significant dates in the calendar for RENATE to make, e.g. International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking; St. Bakhita Day,  8th February and European Human Trafficking Day, 18th October.
  • Mapping Exercise, update and likely composition of the final report.
  • Support available through grant-aid from RENATE e.g. to assist local projects; improve English-language skills.
  • Katholikentag 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, where RENATE will take a stand to promote its work, as well as awareness raising.
  • Future trainings e.g. Madrid, Spain 31st May- 5th June, 2015; Dublin, Ireland 25th-31st October, 2015.

Delegates appreciated the thorough insight into the local situation in Albania, as conveyed by guest speakers Ep. George Frendo OP; Fr. Giovanni Peragine; Mrs. Edlira Gjoni; Mrs. Elona Gjebrea and Mrs. Marjana Meshi. Each of whom shared aspects of the following specific to their own individual responsibilities:

  • The rich Religions and Faith Traditions of Albania.
  • An overview of the Conference of Religious in Albania.
  • The cultural reality of Albania.
  • An overview of the human trafficking situation in Albania and Government policies to try to combat this.
  • The work of anti-trafficking at grass-roots level in Albania.

At this year’s working Board, there were new members from Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Malta who brought new perspectives to bear, which created an interesting dynamic .
Each day’s work was underpinned by Mass at the beginning of each day and Theological Reflections, based on the daily theme/topic, drawing the formal business of the day to a close.
The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the Field Trips to witness first-hand the mission of anti-trafficking in Albania, through Mary Ward Loreto and the Roma Projects; Different and Equal Project; and sharing time with members of the local women’s group at Shkoder/Hot I Ri project.
Through these projects, the enormity of the challenge to try to combat human trafficking was reduced to realistic possibilities and where the phrase ‘’No longer slaves but brothers and sisters’’ came alive.
Believing that God will ask each of us ‘’What did you do for your brother/sister?’’ (Gen 4; 9-10), the work of the week through formal meetings, prayers, liturgies, various exchanges and quiet reflection ensured that each participant returns to her own country strengthened in her commitment to the social teachings of the church in which the work against human trafficking is considered the mission of God.
Clearly enormous work was undertaken by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE and her team at Mary Ward Loreto, Albania. No request seemed too much to ask. The team were true ambassadors for Albania, as they worked conscientiously to ensure the success of the Board meeting in their country.
Justa del Sol_Memorias de Albania_ES
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

UN Commission on the Status of Women Conference, 9th – 20th March 2015

 

Twenty years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, at the Fourth World Conference of Women in 1995, the U N Commission on the Status of Women has as its central theme at this year’s Conference ‘’Implementing the Beijing Platform for action.’’
The Conference will inform and facilitate discussions on the current challenges that affect the implementation of the Declaration, the achievement of gender equality, the empowerment of women and much, much more over the twelve days, including trafficking and exploitation.
Of particular interest will be the seminars and workshops on Humanitarian Actions; Ending Violence against Women and due concerns for the trafficking of women and girls as ‘’weapons of war’’ in war-torn Syria & Iraq.
For full information and Conference details, please log on to CSW59/Beijing+20 (2015)

International Collaborative Efforts to Promote the Non-Punishment Principle

 

The Council of Europe and the Organisation for Social Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), held a joint conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, entitled ”Not For Sale- Joining Forces against Trafficking in Human Beings’’, 17 – 18 February 2014.
The Conference identified that promoting the Non-Punishment Principle is one of the important areas to facilitate enhanced co-operation between both the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The Non-Punishment Principle holds that victims of human trafficking should not be punished for unlawful activities they were forced to commit by their exploiters.
Eight months later in October, the Council of Europe and the OSCE launched a joint two-day workshop in Strasbourg, France, which brought together judges and prosecutors to discuss the key challenges in supporting the legal rights of human trafficking victims. A fundamental premise was the implementation of the Non-Punishment Principle by all law enforcement agencies, from the police officer right through to the highest court in the land.
‘’Upholding the Non-Punishment Principle is a key step to increasing the number of successful prosecutions in the OSCE region as it encourages victims of trafficking to testify in court by ensuring that they will not also be imprisoned or deported’’, stated Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
Despite the agreement earlier in the year on promoting the Non-Punishment Principle, legal experts, judges, lawyers, prosecutors and even a judge from the European Court for Human Rights, heard that it was not universally implemented throughout the region. Petya Nesterova, Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, said that ‘’Despite the existence of binding, legal provisions, victims of trafficking are still imprisoned or deported. This contravenes the State’s obligation to protect and assist victims and contributes to the impunity of traffickers.’’
Building upon the need to standardise best practice when attending to human trafficking cases, before Christmas the OSCE provided a training seminar for judges from regional courts, in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.
Thus a review of the past year indicates a concerted effort from all parties, funded and supported by the OSCE, the United States embassy in Kazakhstan, the Civil Service Academy and the Supreme Court, to ensure extensive training in the implementation of the Non-Punishment Principle, with the explicit hope that victims of human trafficking will find the courage to break free, confident that they will not be punished.
Training of judges continues during 2015, with a focus on best legislative and judicial practices to combat human trafficking. National and international experts play their part in the training, to improve understandings and enhance co-operation between law enforcement, judicial authorities and civil society.
It is encouraging to see formal attention to training measures which will improve professional skills in both judicial and administrative areas which will go a long way towards heling combat human trafficking.
It is early days yet, but clearly significant plans are being made for the future and the implementation of best practice in order to break the chains that bind victims of human trafficking.
 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Light Dispelling the Darkness of Human Trafficking

 

The First International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Trafficking,

8th February 2015

Individuals, friends, families and communities were united in prayer on the 8th of February, in response to Pope Francis’ invitation to the world, to honour the first international Day of Awareness and Prayer against Trafficking, on the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Here are samples of events that took place, throughout the RENATE Network.
In Albania, Bishop Frendo, OP presided over a very special Liturgy which was prepared in honour of St. Bakhita. The theme of ‘’Light Dispelling the Darkness of Trafficking’’ communicated a very hopeful message to all who attended. Prayer cards were distributed and people joined in prayer together. After the ceremony, there were conversations about how to be more proactive in working against human trafficking.
Press releases with resources have been circulated in countries worldwide, by numerous organisations working to combat human trafficking.
These resources, inter-faith prayer services, prayers, songs and intercessions are readily accessible to all who wish to avail of them, on the public domain of the RENATE website: Resources in Various Languages.
In the UK, members of RENATE marked the day by submitting writing on the life and story of Saint Bakhita that featured in parish newsletters. Prayer cards for the victims of human trafficking were distributed at Churches. Silent vigils were observed and prayer groups convened.
Morning Mass, broadcast from Brentwood Cathedral gave special mention to the day in which Fr. Martin Boland gave his homily on Bakhita’s life: Sunday Worship in Brentwood Cathedral, 8th February 2015 (the text  is available on screen, beneath the recording).
Caritas Slovakia organised a prayer service on the occasion of the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.This prayer service took place at the Jesuit Church in Bratislava on Sunday, 8th February 2015.
Caritas Slovakia has been helping the victims of human trafficking for seven years and took this opportunity to join the world in prayer for more than 21 million women, men and children who suffer from modern slavery.
The prayer service, broadcast live on the national radio, was accompanied by the songs of Taize, performed by the professional church choir Chorus Salvatoris. Initial introductory words and opening prayers were followed by Psalms and stories of trafficked Slovak victims. Candles of hope were placed on each continent of the world map symbolizing the global extent of human trafficking. Then intercession prayers were read for particular and all victims, but also for traffickers, pimps, government and church representatives as well as for all of us to be able to face the globalisation of indifference with globalisation of solidarity. All participants then lit candles for freedom and dignity. Images of St. Josephine Bakhita printed on a prayer card, were distributed to all participants.
Together with the Dutch Conference of Religious, the SRTV in the Netherlands, devised inter-faith prayer services, comprising prayers, hymns and intercessions to share with the churches and congregations throughout the Netherlands and also Belgium. The national broadcasting station also featured these services, in the Netherlands.
In Romania, the opportunity was taken on the 1st of February, at the official opening day for the Year of Consecrated Life, to share fliers, prayer cards and information in preparation for the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking, with representatives from all the religious orders present at the official opening. These were then distributed at the parish Masses or prayer services  dedicated to the victims of human trafficking in and from Romania.
The award winning Ten Ten Theatre Company in London, premièred a specially commissioned film of the Saint Bakhita story and human trafficking, which was screened in London on her feast day, 8th February. The twenty-six minute documentary film follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of modern slavery and what they can do to stop it. A two minute preview of the film is available on the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
The Ten Ten Theatre Company have worked with The Medaille Trust as well as TRAC UK for the past eighteen months, in the making of this documentary film. Previously, the theatre group produced a one-woman play on human trafficking entitled, This is my Body, written by Martin O’Brien, founding member of the Company.
The Fundación Amaranta in Majorca, Spain, recorded the testimonies of the women they are supporting to recover from trafficking. Through their testimony, their voices will be heard and no-one can turn a deaf ear to their stories.
There are many, many more special events which have taken place and we will feature according as people share their news.
 

Enjoy the photo gallery shared with RENATE!

phot0 gallery world day of prayer

 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Report from the Press Conference in Vatican, 2nd – 4th February 2015

 

Sr. Imelda Poole IBVM, President of RENATE, was invited by UISG (International Union of Superiors General) to be present and participate in the press release at the Vatican for the worldwide day of prayer against trafficking, the Feast of St. Bakhita. She spoke on behalf of RENATE and also about her work in Albania, which was named Talitha Kum Branch in the official reporting. Her interviews for the Vatican Radio and TV can be found here: www.radiovaticana.va (available as ”Presentation on the Day Against Human Trafficking”).
 
Links to the official reports:
Light a lamp to dissipate the darkness of human trafficking
CNA_EWTN News by Elise Harris

International Day of Prayer against Trafficking, 8th February 2015

 

Pope Frances has strongly denounced many times the trafficking of human beings, defining it as «a crime against humanity» and calling on all to fight and looking after the victims. Responding to the Holy Father’s plea

Pontifical Council of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

International Union of Superiors General (UISG and USG)

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

promote an

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER & AWARENESS

AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The First International Day will be celebrated in all dioceses and parishes in the world, in the groups and schools . 8 FEBRUARY 2015, the Feast Day of Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave, freed, who became a Canossian nun, and was declared a Saint in 2000.
Click here to read the official Pamphlet 8-February-2015 prepared by the Global Freedom Network.
Courtesy of RENATE Members we can share the following prayers in various languages.
Albanian: AL_ftesa ne shqip  AL_ftesa ne anglisht  AL_Bakhita bookmark
Croatian: HR_Prayer Card translated to Croatian  HR_SVJETSKI DAN MOLITVE PROTIV TRGOVANJA LJUDIMA
Dutch: NL_Gebedsdag Tegen Mensenhandel – PERSBERICHT  NL_Gebedsdienst Dag tegen Mensenhandel
English: ENG_Compilation 8th February 2015 Introduction to Day of Prayer & St. Bakhita  ENG_Celebration Saint Bakhita  ENG_Prayer Card in English  ENG_cj_Prayer Suggestions for the Anti Trafficking Day 8th of February  UK_TRAC 8th February 2015 Feast of St Josephine Bakhita for Europe  US_Prayer service INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

French: FR_International Day of Prayer translated to French

German: AT_Gebet um ein Ende des Menschenhandels  AT_Gottesdienstvorlage  AT_Presseerklärung  DE_Die Heilige Bakhita
Hungarian: HU_meghívó_febr-8
Italian: IT_Celebrazione Santa Bakhita  IT_pieghevole_italiano  IT_preghiera_italiano  IT_veglia di preghiera

Polish: PL_czytanka  PL_droga krzyżowa  PL_modlitwa o wstawiennictwo  PL_modlitwa wiernych  PL_modlitwy na noc czuwania  PL_czuwanie modlitewne  PL_modlitwa na 8 lutego 2015

Romanian: RO_Bakhita  RO_rugaciunea credinciosilor 8 februarie
Slovak: SK_ikona  SK_plagat  SK_TS_Den motlitieb obete OSL- SKCH  SK_UCASTNIK_Den modlitby 8.2.2015
Slovenian: SI_Molitev proti trgovini z ljudmi  SI_Molitev proti TZL – RV
Spanish: ES_cj_Prayer Time on the 8th of February translated to Spanish

 

 

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