Full Stories - June 2012
New General Council for Scarboro Missions
During the 13th General Chapter that ended on June 1st, the following were elected for the new General Council:
Fr. Brian Swords – Moderator (Superior General). Fr. Brian had served as Superior General previously in 1987-1997. He has worked mainly in Hong Kong and China.
Fr. Ron MacDonell – Vicar General. Fr. Ron has spent many years in Brazil, specializing in their native language revitalization work.
Fr. John Carten – Councillor and Treasurer General (continuing his previous positions). Fr. John has spent many years in Japan.
Welcome to Scarboro Missions TV – our new Catholic Education TV site
We are launching our revised Homepage that has this new “Education Video Box” at the top of the page. Links are provided to the Roman Catholic TV Hub, Scarboro Missions TV site with 12 video clips about its history, mission work, etc. Please take a look and provide us your feedback.
50th Anniversary of the Opening of Vatican II
The 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council this year is an opportunity to give renewed attention to the study of the council and its teaching. We hope that Scarboro Missions magazine’s special issue (Jan-Feb 2012 magazine issue) will encourage dialogue and conversation on this important event in Church history. We have set up the articles in this issue to allow for commentary and dialogue at the end of each article and invite you to take part in this exchange.
Courage to Serve June 23-24, 2012 Cancelled
LAY MISSION OFFICE NEWS
Returns to His Roots in Guyana Twice a Year
By Kate O'Donnell
Scarboro Lay Missioner in Guyana
Twice in the last year, I have had the privilege of assisting Peter Jailall and his team with their literacy programs in Guyana.
Peter is a retired teacher who grew up in Guyana and has lived in Canada for about forty years. Although Peter has lived in Canada for all these years, he has never forgotten his roots. Twice a year, he comes to Guyana at his own expense to do literacy programs with primary school students. Being a writer and poet himself, he knows the importance of the written word. Peter has an amazing way with the students that he works with and is a great story teller.
Part of Peter’s story telling exercise is done outdoors where he engages the students through games and songs. He has a great gift for keeping them interested and on track. The stories he chooses to do are about ecology and this brings awareness to the students on our environment and how to look after it. Peter brings local places, animals and surroundings into his stories which make them more meaningful, personal and interesting. He reads the story with much emphasis and action encouraging the students to participate.
After discussion on the story with the students, he splits the class into groups. Each group will take a section of the story and re-tell it in their own words and do illustrations. This part is done inside the classroom.
As part of Peter’s team, I help encourage the students by asking them questions which will get their imaginations flowing. We assist them with the editing of their stories, spending time with each student individually. Peter encourages the students to be neat by showing them books already published of other Guyanese student’s stories and hopes to do the same for this class and send a copy to their school. As well as this being a delight for the students, it is also a teaching tool for the teachers. Peter tries to involve the teachers as much as possible.
The principal objectives of the program are:
- Train the teachers in writing conferencing with the students
- Use the local school environment as the stimulus for the student’s writings
- Publish the writings after the conferences as a means to create new reading material for the school.
Working with Peter and his team has been an education and a joy for me. Some of the things I have learned from them help me with the English lessons I give to other children in the afternoons. I am deeply grateful to Peter for sharing his many gifts and talents and allowing me to be part of his team. He is doing a great work here and his efforts are bearing much fruit in this beautiful land of Guyana.
Students Lives Changed at Mercy Wings Vocational Centre
By Sylvia Wilvert
Scarboro Lay Missioner in Guyana
January 30th was the 12th anniversary of Mercy Wings Vocational Centre. It was a real pleasure for me to attend the celebration of this amazing learning centre for 56 boys and girls ages 15 to 20 years of age for the third time.
This school was the "brain child" of the Sisters of Mercy as they sought to find a way of helping the poor children living in the sections or neighbourhoods around the school. They based it on the Servol model of vocational schools originating in Trinidad.
These young men and women have all left secondary school for various reasons, but want a chance to better their lives so they have sought out this opportunity to learn a skill in food services, child care, carpentry, masonry or plumbing. For 10 months of the year they work towards this goal and I watch them grow and mature. As their counselor I hear about their life struggles, often going to bed hungry, waking at 5 a.m. to do chores before getting to classes at 8 a.m. They love to come into my office to weigh themselves, look at the photos of past graduates on the wall, and collect their jolly pop before leaving.
The hidden gift for me are the teachers who are so patient and kind to me. They are so generous in taking the time to explain Guyanese expressions and helping me understand and interpret what the students are saying at times.
Yesterday was a celebration for all the students both past and present, whose lives will forever be changed, thanks to the opportunities they have received at Mercy Wings. Father John Persaud, a Guyanese priest has a great understanding of his people and their culture. He talked in his homily about listening with the heart and how that gift will forever serve them. This year I am working with my third group who are planning to graduate in July. I often see them in town and there is never a moment when any of them would not take the time to "gaff" with me. They inspire me and keep me young.
I am so grateful and feel Blessed for the opportunity to work with Mrs. Paula Bess, the principal and all the teachers towards empowering the youth of Guyana. May they enjoy many more anniversaries!
Academics Isn’t for Everyone in Malawi – A Success Story
By Sr. Ann MacDonald, csj
Scarboro Lay Missioner in Malawi
Vincent and Isaac are a couple of students who have been studying at my home since September 5, 2011. They have been preparing for a carpentry course beginning in the New Year at Padre Pio Secondary School that offers a technical component for students who complete their JCE (Malawi Junior Certificate Examination – Grade 10). The day the pictures were taken was interview day and I’m happy to say they passed with flying colours!!!
Vincent and Isaac have been studying basic Math and English every day for the past three months with Phillip Chisi - a former St Peter's Student. Mr. Katumbi, the Carpentry teacher at Padre Pio Secondary School who interviewed them commented on their English skills and encouraged them to keep working on speaking for the next month. Both boys decided that they will come three days a week for the next month to keep improving their reading and speaking skills in English.
This morning as they left my place for school on their bikes (since Malawi has no petrol right now), I felt like a Mother watching her kids leave for school on their first day. It will take them an hour to get to school on their bikes.
This is very encouraging for these two young men and gives them hope for their future. An academic course is not necessarily the best for everyone in Malawi, which is the case for Vincent and Isaac. They now have a chance to learn a skill to use to build their future.
I wish them all the best in their journey in life and feel Blessed for being part of it.
INTERFAITH DESK NEWS
One Muslim's interfaith resolutions
Sohaib Saeed is a Scottish Muslim writer who is currently specializing in Qur’anic studies at Al-Azhar University (Egypt). I am sure you will appreciate the depths of his nine interfaith resolutions. See link below:
Commentaries on the Golden Rule
Researchers have discovered numerous commentaries on the Golden Rule from well-known individuals in a number of fields. A number of these commentaries are presented in this listing. Featured here are scientists, philosophers, politicians, writers, business people, religious leaders, companies, organizations and others. Read more...
Sabbath and Lord’s Day Workshop
(A time for Rest, Renewal and Re-creation)
Georges Bernanos' classic novel, The Diary of a Country Priest, ends with the words: "everything is grace." He, of course, took these words from the Little Flower, Saint Theresa, who is the patron of missionaries. This phrase sums up a workshop on the “Sabbath and Sunday” a time for Rest, Renewal and Re-creation, held at Scarboro Missions on Saturday April 21, 2011. Sister Lucy Thorson NDS, told us how the Jewish people welcome their “Queen”, the Sabbath, on Friday evening facing towards the sunset. They turn and face the west with their hands raised in the orans position. Yes, “everything is grace”, but there are moments of special grace and if we do not stop or slow down, we cannot see them or appreciate them. The Sabbath is a reminder of our need to stop, rest and recognize God’s presence and wonderful creation in a tangible way.
In the second half of the workshop, Shawn Daley SFM, spoke about time, Chronos (our time) Kairos (God’s time) as a simple reminder that our perception is not the entirety of perception. Yes, “everything is grace”, but there are those special moments where we need to disconnect from our routine (Chronos) to appreciate God, neighbour and creation all the more.
The workshop reminds us that love is pouring out to us form God and neighbour making our cup overflow (Psalm 23,5) as symbolized in the ceremony for the end of the Sabbath – Havdalah. We simply need to stop or be still and know (learn and appreciate) that grace comes in many ways, shapes and forms. In fact, in so many ways that we just cannot resist stopping, resting and being…re-created. Love only builds and expands; it never tears down and contracts.
May you have the grace to welcome your day of “down-time” with God.
Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World
In 2011, this 5-page document was jointly published by the the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (Vatican), the World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Alliance. Together, these bodies represent 90 percent of the world’s Christians. The purpose of the document is to address practical issues associated with Christian witness in a multi-religious world. The document encourages churches, church councils and mission agencies to reflect on their current practices and to use the recommendations in the document to prepare their own guidelines for their witness and mission among peoples of different religions and among those who do not profess any particular religion. To read or download the entire document, click here.
Golden Rule texts in 13 religions translated into the Urdu language
The Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department is proud to announce that the Golden Rule texts in 13 religions have been translated into Urdu and can be downloaded free of charge from the Scarboro site. The translation was done by Shahid Akhtar, an interfaith activist in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
It is estimated that close to one billion people understand spoken Urdu. The use of the Urdu language is concentrated in South Asia but Urdu-speaking people reside in many countries throughout the world.
The publication of these texts in Urdu is an effort to further universalize the already universal message of the Golden Rule.
Below please find the link to the Urdu translation. Feel free to forward this link through your communities and networks for use in newsletters, bulletin boards, websites, mailing lists, list-serves, blogs, Facebook pages, twitter, etc.
When you click the link below, it will take you to our “Multilingual Versions” page. If you look to the left of your screen, you are given the choice of clicking one of eight languages. Urdu is listed at the bottom of this list. Here is the link:
Interfaith – Engaging the World Series (held Oct. 13 - Nov. 17, 2011)
Who in the world is calling you?
In a collaborative series, between the University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre and the Interfaith Department of Scarboro Missions, various organizations (religious and otherwise) were invited together in order to reflect upon how our human condition, common to all faiths, is also a call to joint action due to this very commonality. We all need water, we all need food and we all need love and care. The following is a brief reflection expressing one person’s impressions about the series. As the title of the series was “Engaging the World”, we wish for the process to continue through internet and therefore are including a list of the topics with contact information.
Who knows, maybe the world is engaging you?
Engaging the World
The Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Toronto and Scarboro Missions collaborated in bringing together a six-week series called Engaging the World. Insightful individuals ranging from students to executive directors of NGO’s shared their experiences and knowledge obtained in their life journeys to inspire the community to reflect upon the power of faith and the role it has in our world.
(Some members of the Multi-Faith Centre & Scarboro Missions team)
Faith need not be a private identity that is left behind at our front doors when we leave the house; faith needs to be embraced by the individual and the world as it shapes one’s identity, value and action. Evidently these speakers wrestled with questions like “What does religion mean to me and what role does it play? and “What now?” We can reflect and obtain all the knowledge there is about this world but if we remain unchanged, or if we do not do anything about what we know, then all of it is meaningless.
“Tikun Olam” means repairing the world—a great motto from the Canadian humanitarian and relief organization, Ve’ahavta. This alludes to the fact that we know that this world is not what it should be and that this world can be better. Through this series, I’m encouraged to see people, young and old, building bridges, mending wounds and changing the world according to what they know, where they are and who they are.
What is your part in this journey?
Engaging the World
(took place each Thursday from October 13th through to November 17th, 2011)
Week 1: Overseas Programs and Opportunities
(University of Toronto Centre for International Experience)
(Global Youth Network)
University of Toronto Centre for International Experience
Global Youth Network
Week 2: Ecological-Spirituality
Greening Sacred Spaces
Week 3: Aboriginal Spirituality
First Nations House - University of Toronto
Karen Van Loon
First Nations House
Week 4: March of Remembrance and Hope (Holocaust Awareness)
Rabbi Aaron Katchen
March of Remembrance and Hope
Week 5: Tzedaka-Sadaqah Project (Jewish and Muslin Students together)
Week 6: Development and Relief Organizations
Mona El Sayeh
(International Development and Relief Foundation)
JUSTICE AND PEACE OFFICE NEWS
Citizens for Public Justice gives an overview of the budget bill C-38 and how it undermines democratic process
Urgent Action: Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley, in Amazonas State, Brazil, at risk of extinction due to high incidence of disease
Scarboro Missions is promoting this urgent action request from indigenous organizations of the Javari Valley in Brazil and their supporters. They are calling on the Brazilian government to take urgent measures to address a high incidence of diseases such as malaria and hepatitis among Indigenous peoples in the area, which is putting them at risk of extinction. The Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples, an organization of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil, is collaborating in the development and promotion of this campaign. After the background information below, instructions are provided for individuals or groups who wish to participate in this urgent action through a letter or petition.
Background for the Campaign
“Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley: United for Health and for Life”
Where is the Javari Valley?
The indigenous reserve of the Javari Valley is located in the western part of Amazonas State, Brazil, on the border with Peru. It is the second largest indigenous reserve in Brazil, with an area of 8.5 million square kilometres.
Who lives there?
The Marubo, Matis, Mayoruna, Kanamari, Kulina and Korubo peoples live in the Javari Valley. There are eight confirmed groups of “isolated peoples” – those who have no contact with outside groups. The Javari Valley comprises the greatest concentration of “isolated” indigenous peoples in South America. The total known population of the Javari Valley is around 4,900 persons.
Threat to the Indigenous Peoples
In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in diseases such as malaria and hepatitis A, B, C and Delta, and especially of Hepatitis B which has no cure. Serological testing, carried out in 2008 by Brazil’s National Health Foundation, showed the following results, based on 2,660 Indigenous from several of the Javari Valley’s peoples:
- 87.7% are carriers of Hepatitis A
- 68.9% (1,832 persons) are carriers of Hepatitis B
- 17.8% (197 persons) are carriers of Hepatitis B and D
- 5.3% (150 persons) are carriers of Hepatitis C
- Children between the ages of 0 and 14 years are the most numerous victims, making up about 50% of the cases
These diseases have caused the death of more than 300 individuals in the last ten years. In 2003, the first major crisis happened, with the death of 17 Indigenous people in several villages. In 2010, just among the Kanamari, 12 deaths occurred.
“In the Javari Valley in 2007, 123 infants died for every 1,000 born, a rate similar to those of Afghanistan and the poorer countries of Africa. The numbers from the Javari Valley are higher than those of countries like Mozambique which are facing an AIDS epidemic with a death rate of 81 children for every 1,000 born. The infant death rate in the Javari Valley is 5 times greater than the national average for non-indigenous (22.6 per 1,000 in 2006) and 2.5 times greater than the national indigenous average,” reported the newspaper “O Estado de São Paulo” on May 25, 2008.
The deaths have occurred in all the indigenous communities. Some of the many consequences include a large number of mothers without husbands or means to support themselves; orphaned children sick with Hepatitis B; and low self-esteem of the Indigenous people who, because of their grieving, have stopped practicing their rituals and celebrations.
The high incidence of infection has affected the indigenous communities of the Javari Valley in all aspects. Now, the Indigenous people are reacting and seeking to recuperate their self-esteem and their normal lifestyle.
Please support this cause!!
This campaign – “Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley: United for Health and for Life” – is an initiative of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (Univaja) and other indigenous organizations of the region. The objective is to mobilize students, professionals, faith groups, human rights organizations, and other concerned individuals or organizations to support the resistance of the Indigenous peoples against all threats to their life.
Together with other segments of society, the indigenous organizations intend to take their appeal to all levels of government in Brazil, seeking concrete, practical and efficient initiatives to contain the impact on indigenous life caused by the epidemics.
It is the responsibility of the Federal Government of Brazil to urgently adopt the necessary measures to avoid the extinction of these peoples. It is up to each one of us to call attention to and pressure the Brazilian authorities on behalf of the health and the life of the Indigenous peoples of the Javari Valley, Amazonas State, Brazil.
Instructions for Participating in the Urgent Action
If you would like to support this urgent action there are two possibilities:
- Petition: There is a pdf document of a petition which may be printed out and completed. In Canada please mail completed petitions to the Justice and Peace Office of Scarboro Missions. We will forward them to CIMI, the Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples in Brazil, which is collecting petitions as part of the international campaign. Please return petitions to:
- Scarboro Missions
Justice and Peace Office
2685 Kingston Road
Scarborough, Ontario M1M 1M4
Other countries, please return completed petitions to CIMI:
- Cimi Regional Norte I
Rua Lagamar, 36
Conjunto Habitacional de Flores
Bairro Flores, Manaus
Amazonas CEP 69.058-801
Open pdf document of petition here…
- Solidarity Letter: Alternatively, individuals or organizations may send a letter to the President of Brazil. Below is an English translation of the letter, followed by the letter in Portuguese for copying and pasting to form a solidarity letter. The letter needs to be signed including complete name, city and country, and then sent to the President of Brazil with copies to other government officials whose contact information has been provided at the end. A pdf version of the letter in Portuguese is also provided which may be printed out, signed including complete name, city and country, and then sent as above.
Open pdf document of the letter in Portuguese here…
ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF SOLIDARITY LETTER
President of Brazil
Palácio do Planalto
Praça dos 3 Poderes
Brasília - DF / 70150-900
We have become aware of the dramatic situation faced by the Indigenous peoples in the region of the Javari Valley, in the State of Amazonas. It has become apparent that the Kanamari, Kulina, Korubo, Mayoruna, Matis and Marubo peoples are at risk of disappearing due to endemic diseases, like malaria and hepatitis. We have been informed that there are communities in the region in which more than 80% of the inhabitants have been infected by Hepatitis B, which is recognized as an incurable disease. We have also found out that the Brazilian Government’s presence in the region is precarious, and that the necessary measures to prevent and treat the diseases have not been taken.
In view of the seriousness of the situation, and hoping that this painful reality of the Indigenous peoples can be changed for the better, we call for the implementation of the following measures which will allow the Indigenous peoples to better their quality of life:
- Presence of a permanent, multi-discipline health team in the area (doctors, nurses, dentists, infectologist);
- Construction of basic clinics and basic infra-structure for the preservation of vaccines;
- Serological testing of all the Indigenous peoples of the Javari Valley;
- Acquisition of well-equipped and rapid boats for attending and transporting sick people;
- Basic sanitation services;
- Construction of landing strips and small plane flight hours which are guaranteed in the health budget;
- Formation of health agents and midwives;
- Prevention and control of malaria;
- Short-term urgency: the construction of a new building for the “House of Indigenous Health” hospital in the town of Atalaia do Norte, and the construction of a guest-house for patients who are carriers of endemic diseases.
Assured of your immediate attention, we thank you,
SOLIDARITY LETTER IN PORTUGUESE:
Presidenta da República
Palácio do Planalto
Praça dos 3 Poderes
Brasília - DF / 70150-900
Tomamos conhecimento da realidade dramática enfrentada pelos povos indígenas da região do Vale do Javari, no estado do Amazonas. Consta-nos que os povos Kanamari, Kulina, Korubo, Mayoruna, Matis e Marubo estão sob risco de desaparecer devido a contaminação por doenças endêmicas, como malária e hepatites. Fomos informados que ali existem comunidades onde mais de 80% dos moradores estão contaminados por hepatite do tipo “B” – reconhecidamente uma doença sem cura. Soubemos ainda que o Estado Brasileiro se faz presente na região de forma bastante precária, sem adotar as medidas necessárias para prevenir e curar as doenças.
Em vista da gravidade da situação e com desejo de reverter esse quadro doloroso para os povos indígenas, solicitamos a adoção das providências que os próprios indígenas assumem como condição indispensável para melhorar sua qualidade de vida, quais sejam:
- Presença de equipe multidisciplinar permanente na área (médicos, enfermeiros, dentistas, infectologista);
- Construção de pólos bases e infra-estrutura básica para a conservação de vacinas;
- Realização de sorologia em todos os indígenas da terra indígena Vale do Javari;
- Aquisição de barcos equipados e rápidos para atendimento e remoção de doentes;
- Medicamentos em quantidade suficiente para atendimento aos doentes;
- Saneamento básico;
- Construção de pistas de pouso e horas de vôo asseguradas em orçamento;
- Capacitação de agentes de saúde e parteiras;
- Prevenção e controle da malária.
- A médio prazo: nova estrutura para a Casa de Saúde do Índio – Casai, de Atalaia do Norte; Construção de uma casa de apoio para pacientes portadores de endemias.
Certos da Vossa pronta atenção, agradecemos,
Please add signature
Please mail the signed and completed letter in Portuguese to the President of Brazil, with copies by email or regular mail, to the following addresses:
Ministry of Justice
Ministério da Justiça
Secretary of Human Rights
Secretaria de Direitos Humanos
Ministry of Health
|Ministério da Saúde|
Exmo. Sr. Ministro Alexandre Padilha
Esplanada dos Ministérios
Bloco G Ed. Anexo, Ala A 2° andar, sala 243.
Brasília-DF / CEP: 70058-900
Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic
|Casa Civil da Presidência da República |
Exma. Sra. Ministra Gleisi Hoffmann
Casa Civil da Presidência da República
Palácio do Planalto - 4º Andar
70150-900 - Brasília - DF.
Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples
Cimi Regional Norte I
Click on the calendar icon to access archived news from as early as 2004: