Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration


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We say NO! to violence

Last week, our parish action was to open our eyes to our personal attitudes, to admit to ourselves the biases we might hold towards others—so to see who it is that we might not treat as equal. Thanks to everyone who sponsored us (Fr M, Marusia & Aleksandra), our community members contributed funds to the Waterloo Women’s Crisis Services to help local women escape domestic abuse.

This week, let’s continue to focus specifically on the issue of domestic abuse, because in our journey towards ecological conversion we cannot ignore our interconnection with this suffering inflicted on people who are, oftentimes literally, our neighbours. Laudato Si explains that “concern for the environment needs to be joined to sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society” (91). Knowing that we must first change before we can cause change, we look to how we actually might be sustaining domestic abuse, rather than preventing it.

What do you think of when you hear the word “home”? Home refers to safety, belonging, love. What happens when home is a place you dread? The goodness of home is not in a building, but in the relationship with others there. When home is not a refuge, typically it is a man who exploits the affection of his wife or partner, not only harming her in some way, either physically, emotionally or spiritually, but most often also blaming her for her own unhappiness. All too often, men isolate their partner from her close friends and make her believe she is dependent on him. For this reason, on average a woman tries 7 times before escaping an abusive home. It is extremely difficult and, for many, ends in death. While every situation is different, it is important to recognize general patterns so that we can be supportive and unjudgmental of anyone we fear may be in trouble. The network of neighbours offers online training for anyone interested in mitigating domestic abuse. [Network of Neighbours Intervention Training

Significantly, the 6 km fundraiser was called “Walk to Break the Silence”. We must break the silence.

Possibly, as you read this bulletin, you may recognize that you are experiencing abuse or you may ask yourself if you might be causing unhappiness in your home. Please do not stay silent: talk to a friend, Fr Myroslaw, the Women’s Crisis Services, or anyone you trust. We need each other to find courage to take positive steps in new ways. Luke’s gospel this Sunday reminds us of how our fear of change can keep us from accepting freedom. First, the possessed man fears Christ’s reaction to him: “I beg you, don’t torture me!” Jesus not only does not torture the man, He sets him free, so that he no longer requires his fetters. The former raving madman is calm, rational, and happy. He can be “home” without fear. The villagers, however, were accustomed to the misery of their bound and chained neighbour. Rather than rejoicing, all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear”. The people rejected Christ. He “got into the boat and left”. There we have it, we are free to respond to Christ (and change ourselves and the world) or we are free to reject Christ, because we fear the change He entails.  

  • This week, think about home. Who lives there?
  • How do I relate to them?
  • Do I look forward to being home? Why?
  • Do I value what my partner does?
  • Do I treat my partner with respect? Do I feel respected?
  • When we disagree, is the same person always right?
  • Am I kind? Am I compassionate? Am I treated with kindness and compassion?
  • Beyond home:
  • Do I show respect for women in society?
  • Do I make sexist jokes or criticize women’s looks more than a man’s.
  • This week let’s overcome our fear of moving beyond the status quo. Let’s say “yes” to Christ.

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Lord, open our eyes!

  • Open our eyes, Lord
  • God of all, you made the earth and saw that it was good,
  • but like robbers we have stripped it of its treasure.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Now the earth cries out and your people hunger and thirst.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Open our eyes to see the pain of your creation and move us with compassion for your world.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Lead us to act as neighbours, who do not pass by on the other side.
  • So that together we may care for all that you have made and with all creation sing your praise.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.

(CAFOD: C Gorman)

On this, our 6th week of intentional and transformational actions taken together as a parish, may we stay strong in the faith that our small steps, united here and with this movement of actions worldwide, will indeed cause positive change, in ourselves and in the world. 

While Canadians might have felt sheltered from the immediacy of the climate crisis, the disaster this week in BC erases any feelings of complacency. Our actions towards ecological conversion are critical and teach us anew just how fundamentally interconnected we are with all creation.

Luke’s parable this Sunday (16:19-31), describes how easily we ignore our responsibility to each other when we ourselves are comfortable. The story is simple: rich man ignores poor man. Rich man goes to hell; poor man to heaven. The rich man is remorseful, but it is too late. Listeners—be forewarned!!! Yikes!

Before we panic, or find relief in the fact that we can’t be that rich, let’s take a closer look.

Who is this rich man? What is his name? What do we know about him?

What do we know of the poor man?

If you’re like me, you’ll think you’ve forgotten the name of the rich man, but in fact the rich man is not named; he could be any person who has what anyone wants: nice food, clothes, a house with a gate, and lots of siblings whom he cares about. Is it a sin to be wealthy? No. Wealth is not the problem here. The problem is what he sees and does not see. The problem is relationship with all creation. In the parable, the rich man only sees Lazarus once they have both died. The man sees Lazarus only once he himself is suffering. Nevertheless, he sees the difference between them as an unbridgeable chasm. He sees Lazarus only because he is with Abraham: the great Patriarch. The rich man now acknowledges Lazarus because Lazarus might help him. What was the rich man’s sin? In life, although Lazarus sat at the man’s gate—he did not see him. The difference between them was so great for the rich man, that Lazarus was invisible to him. The wealthy man did not abuse or ridicule the poor man; he simply did not see him or need him. He felt he had all he needed. Being self-sufficient—a success in the eyes of his peers—he was oblivious not only to Lazarus at his gate, but to God’s presence in his life.

And what about Lazarus? Does being poor make him holy? No. Poverty is not a virtue any more than is wealth. However, Lazarus could not be distracted by riches into believing that he didn’t need God and others. Lazarus had a relationship with heaven; Abraham calls him by name, and for this reason, we too know this sick begging character as a loved son of Abraham.

This week let’s add to our growing list of actions, the need to recognize individuals in our life whom we haven’t acknowledged as our equals. This would vary for each of us. Who, for me, is outside of my scope of caring? Might it be an estranged family member? Members of a foreign culture or religion? Perhaps the victims of domestic abuse, illuminated by the walk Aleksandra is doing this weekend or those in countries still waiting for COVID vaccines? Do I fail to see those who work without a decent wage, so that I can buy goods cheaply? 

We are connected to each other and to our surrounding environment. This week, let’s try to bridge the chasms that divide us and open our eyes to the beauty of the Spirit connecting us all.

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As a Christian, my actions are to follow Christ’s standard of divine love.

● When I reflect on the way I live, does my life speak to me, and to those who interact with me, of a life of gentleness, humility, sincerity, moderation and peace?

● Am I creating a space/atmosphere of non-violence by the way I speak?

● Is my response the same to the poor, as it is to the person who is well-fed and nicely dressed?

● Is my lifestyle reflecting a reverence for all of God’s creation?

● Do I show respect for the earth and the natural resources of the earth?

Loving God, instill in my heart the desire to become that person you so want me to be. Amen.

Laudato Si resources

We hope that our weekly actions are helping us to grow as mindful Christians actively working to improve the state of our world. COP26 illuminates the imperative for each of us individually to nurture a passion for environmental and social justice activism, so that we, collectively, will elect leadership that dares to implement effective measures to mitigate the climate crisis and restore hope for the future.  Too many leaders speak the language of environmental consciousness while, for example, continuing to buttress infrastructure for more roads, cars, and fossil fuel consumption. It is up to each one of us to discern and recognize rhetoric that satisfies our personal greed or the common good!

The readings this week, point out our responsibility as followers of Christ. Paul writes of dying to the “law” (Romans 7:4); no longer can it be enough for a Christian unthinkingly to feel self-righteous because he isn’t breaking any laws. As a Christian, my actions are to follow Christ’s standard of divine love. Luke’s parable of the sower emphasizes our responsibility to act in this love. Christ’s life generates infinite seeds. Our parish community’s steps to ecological conversion are a way of nurturing more fertile soil so that more seeds will germinate and flourish. Let’s continue to fortify this soil, encouraging and strengthening each other in our efforts to live with openness and interconnection with people and planet. 

“We must beware of spiritual laziness: we are fine, with our prayers and liturgies, and this is enough for us. No! … praying never means avoiding the difficulties of life; the light of faith is not meant to provide beautiful spiritual feelings. No, this is not Jesus’ message. We are called to experience the encounter with Christ so that, enlightened by His light, we might take it and make it shine everywhere. Igniting little lights in people’s hearts; being little lamps of the Gospel that bear a bit of love and hope: this is the mission of a Christian.”                               Pope Francis

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“The Holy Father, Francis, calls us to be an ever larger Church, one that goes beyond itself in service”

Our Bishop’s post-Synodal message has just been issued, encapsulating the challenges of our time. The proclamation of the Episcopal Synod of the UGCC “Our Lord’s Call to Hope” embodies Pope Francis’s appeal for a conversion that enables us to better witness Christ’s presence in our global Church.

The epistle encourages us “to consider how we can be a dynamic and authentic Church, a community of peace and joy, followers of Christ, in the midst of today’s dilemmas.” The pastoral letter is comprised of seven sections that “continue the themes of the “Living Parish” plan, introducing questions of pastoral conversion, developing networks of communion, healing wounds, and addressing trauma. The bishops emphasized the necessity of paying practical attention to those who are marginalized and impoverished. Also, the document speaks of the meaning of the

Christian family as the domestic church and the crucial need for every church member’s active involvement in missionary outreach to the world. In the spirit of Laudato Si, our bishops underline the requisite conversion: “Conversion is not refusing something—it is meeting someone:  Christ Jesus. . . this frees us so that in Christ we can become a vibrant community of God’s children. Conversion makes us fruitful in spiritual life and pastoral service, fulfilling the mission of the Church throughout all ages and amongst all peoples.” The bishops speak of the dire need for personal, social, and global healing in that “paradoxically we find wholeness not in focussing on ourselves, on our own problems and needs, but rather when we open ourselves to others in empathy and generous love, so that, through our human presence and caring, they might feel God’s healing presence and life-giving love . . .The Holy Father, Francis,  calls us to be an ever larger Church, one that goes beyond itself in service. In this way each of us is given a mandate to leave our personal comfort zones, detach from our self-interest, and open up more to those around us.”

The epistle ends with an appeal: “Beloved in Christ! For the priorities and proposals we proffer here to be instituted in the next few years in our Church, we, each of us, you and I, must hear our calling and feel our responsibility before God for the gifts we have been given. Let’s reject everything that keeps us from Christ! Let’s be open to the Holy Spirit, who is with each of us and acts through us. May we be living icons of God’s goodness in the world!”   

Full text of the  Pastoral Letter in Ukrainian:

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“The starting point of all rebirth is the recognition that we are children of God”

Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others. And remember that every atom of hate we add to this world makes it still more inhospitable. (Etty Hillesum)

The Gospel today reminds us of the Christian bottom line—clear and simple: treat others in the way we want to be treated. Ever so straightforward and ever so difficult. We’re told it’s not about the easy relationships at all. Of course we’re good to those whom we love and who love us back. We are asked to love as God loves, defying our expectations of utilitarian returns. We are asked to see others with compassion. Why? Because God sees us with infinite compassion.  While last week we spoke of the importance of small steps in goodness that are expanded by God, similarly, this Sunday Paul tells us that God works through his weakness. We can have faith that our personal and communal efforts towards a better world are effective. If I were that person who angers me, disgusts me, or is completely alien to me, how would I want to be treated???

If I were my estranged relative? If I were homeless? If I were from Afghanistan?

But just as we first change ourselves to change our environment, so too, we must be compassionate with ourselves to be able to recognize goodness around us: forgive ourselves for our failings, as God forgives us, to be able to forgive others to treat them as we would want to be treated. This is often harder than it sounds. But we take small steps, knowing that we may fall again and again. As long as we keep taking steps and helping each other up along the way.

Week 1: meatless day

Week 2: reducing our use of plastics

This week: For a week, note what you buy. Review your consumer habits by asking yourself these questions:

Do I really need what I bought?

Where was it made? Are the workers there treated fairly? Can I find out?

Could I buy this locally made?

Is it made with sustainable material?

Is it reusable or recyclable or compostable?

Did I buy it from a large chain store or from a local businessperson?

Might my purchase have negative or positive repercussions? Why?

These are just some of the questions we can ask ourselves to determine if a purchase is ethical or not. It is difficult to live ethically in our society where we are conditioned by popular media to continually want to buy more things, whatever the cost to others and the environment. The first step is always awareness. Ask for help whenever you would like more information. We are better together and we are deeply loved. Let’s keep up our steps towards a better world. 

“Dear sister, dear brother, never be discouraged.  Are you tempted to feel you were a mistake?  God tells you, “No, you are my child!”  Do you have a feeling of failure or inadequacy, the fear that you will never emerge from the dark tunnel of trial?  God says to you, “Have courage, I am with you.”  He does this not in words, but by making himself a child with you and for you.  In this way, he reminds you that the starting point of all rebirth is the recognition that we are children of God… This is the undying heart of our hope, the incandescent core that gives warmth and meaning to our life.  Underlying all our strengths and weaknesses, stronger than all our past hurts and failures, or our fears and concerns about the future, there is this great truth: we are beloved sons and daughters.  God’s love for us does not, and never will, depend upon us.  It is completely free love.” (Pope Francis)

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Laudato Si: In every situation we are able to act in some way, following our “heart”.

This Sunday’s reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he speaks directly to you and me, to our parish, on our journey of ecological conversion. He says:

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

When we wonder how we can generate change in the world, change someone’s attitude, or moral, political and economic situations, most of us feel helpless. But the saints long ago have given us the answer: namely, first we must change ourselves and then everything around us changes. Changing myself, helps me see God’s will in specific life circumstances.

  In every situation we are able to act in some way, following our “heart”. While we can do “only” what is possible for us, God boosts our action. So don’t worry about the overwhelming things beyond us. Let’s focus on what we can do in concrete instances. Always there is something we can do. Our smallest action can be magnified by God. So let’s try to take care of our smallest actions, for from any goodness, greater goodness inevitably follows.                                                                                         


We’ve begun a community action to benefit the planet by committing to a weekly meatless day. We can expand this ethical action by becoming more conscious of the packaging of the food we buy. As the climate crisis intensifies, the use of plastics has risen—exponentially damaging our oceans and soil. Please examine this fact sheet to be aware of the dire need to reduce plastic use in our daily life:

Once we acknowledge the problem with plastics, we can take concrete steps to go plastic free. 

Here are some simple tips for going plastic free

  • Carry reusable shopping bags and use them instead of store plastic bags.
  • Avoid food packaged in single-use plastic.
  • Carry reusable utensils and drinking straws.
  • Do not buy or consume soft drinks, juices and other beverages in plastic bottles.
  • Carry your own containers for takeaway food and leftovers.
  • Carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle at all times for coffee and other drinks while away from home.
  • Choose lotions and lip balms in plastic-free containers.
  • Do not buy or use bottled water

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Laudato si: One grateful step towards a better planet

You may have heard the news coverage of the young activist Greta Thunberg berating world leaders’: “blah blah blah”.  While she, and hundreds of thousands of children and youth, watch extreme climate disasters accelerating worldwide, they see politicians continuing to boast about their grand pledges to address climate change. Where is the action? 

Meanwhile also taking place last week, (but without the same media coverage), Pope Francis gathered together religious leaders and scientists from around the world. “In his address to the participants at the meeting, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for their presence . . . and proposed three concepts to guide their reflection: openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love, and the call to respect.” (B. Mayaki, SJ. Vatican News)

They, science experts and faith leaders, have taken a common stand to present to the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in November in Glasgow, Scotland. Church and science join to press for real, effective, compassionate change for humanity. Their appeal reflects the Laudato Si goals we too are embracing in our parish as we take steps towards “ecological conversion”. While our joint actions are still hampered by COVID gathering restrictions, we can take individual household actions together.

Do not think that our actions are ineffective. What you and I do, what we do as a collective, makes a difference. A marathon begins with a single stride.

This Thanksgiving Weekend offers a perfect opportunity to spotlight our consumption of food and its repercussions.  In Canada, Thanksgiving is a happy acknowledgment of gratitude: gratitude for the beauty of the earth as it bursts with ripeness. We also acknowledge our thankfulness each time we pray before meals. How fortunate we are that we have daily meals that we choose according to our wishes! There are many ways we can share our good fortune with others. One way to make an impact collectively is if our parish, each member, commits to have one day a week without any meat. “Meatless Mondays”/Friday (or any day). It’s as simple as that, but it’s a commitment we must undertake seriously.

“By going meatless just one day per week, you are decreasing your meat consumption by nearly 15 percent, decreasing the environmental consequences associated with meat production, too. Another way to look at it is like this: If the entire U.S. [only] did not eat meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles — or taking 7.6 million cars off the road,” says the Earth Day Network.

Reducing our meat consumption is one of the biggest ways our actions can improve the health of the planet. This initiative began in the first world war and has been used in countries decades ago to improve children’s health. Now it is a UN sponsored global movement active in over 40 countries. This is an action encouraged by our Church. Let us, families of Holy Transfiguration Parish KW, take this small but wonderful step for our planet. For more information about the history and importance of Meatless Mondays please read this article: (English language)

Please email me ( with any meatless recipes you love, and I will share them on our parish email!

This Thanksgiving Day I also want to thank each one of you for your presence in our community. I pray that we always may find a renewed peace and comfort in each other.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!


Compassionate and loving God,

you created the world for us all to share,

a world of beauty and plenty.

Create in us a desire to live simply,

so that our lives may reflect your generosity.

Creator God,

You gave us responsibility for the earth,

a world of riches and delight.

Create in us a desire to live sustainably,

so that those who follow after us

may enjoy the fruits of your creation.

God of peace and justice,

You give us the capacity to change,

to bring about a world that mirrors your wisdom.

Create in us a desire to act in solidarity,

so that the pillars of injustice crumble

and those now crushed are set free.

Amen. (Linda Jones)

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Laudato, Si: Laudatus means praise. Praise springs from joy.

Last week, when asked to reflect on the goals of Laudatus Si, did it seem daunting or impractical? Possibly the idea of integral ecology was too unfamiliar? Yet, this Sunday’s readings, once again, remind us that these goals are roadmaps to help us follow Christ, and as Christians, this has been our purpose since baptism. On this Sunday after the feast-day of The Exaltation of the Cross, we hear Paul emphasizing the distinction between following laws and following Christ. I think the latter is decidedly harder. How often do we act poorly towards others without breaking any laws? We’ve just had the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Many who participated in the systemic oppression of indigenous people throughout Canada’s history were usually not breaking laws. However, although they might have called themselves Christians, they were not following Christ. The New Testament does not promote anarchy or lawlessness, but its many books, letters, and stories reiterate one central truth: God is love and our purpose on earth is to love each other as we are loved by God.Yes, we were made to love. However, don’t we find ourselves following laws of fashion, wealth, social success, power, or popularity more easily than a “law” of love? In Mark’s gospel the invitation to take up our cross and follow Christ may seem like a call to suffering. But Christ’s death transformed the cross into a victory of Love. It is our call to carry Love to the world, despite its unpopularity or economic unfeasibility.

Laudatus means praise. Praise springs from joy. Hence our roadmap is not onerous, but it steers us away from the mainstream laws of self-importance. It takes us to the passion of connection to others.

Our community lives in praise and love! Last week so many responded to project Smile, ready to spread joy to our sisters in Ukraine. Through our prayers and actions we know the warmth that

comes with caring for others. Paul asserts that Christ lives in him because he knows that he (Paul) is loved regardless of his failings. This is powerful faith—not adherence to laws, but faith that we are loved first, no matter what. No matter what, we are valued and cherished. Let that conviction give us compassion for our own shortcomings so that forgiving ourselves we can be drawn to kindness and understanding of others. Drawing on Laudato Si, as we carry forward Project Smile, we will also introduce new initiatives for us, as a community, to reach out to the KW community around us.

Breathe in love, exhale joy!

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Laudato, Si: All-powerful God . . . bring healing to our lives


Here are the seven goals the Church asks us to consider in our journey towards ecological conversion. This is a call to action to you and to me—to every Christian—to every woman and man of “good will”.

Canada’s election is over. The nation’s leadership has the uphill battle of guiding our country out of the pandemic to a society with a better “normal” than pre-COVID. But Pope Francis has spoken tirelessly about committing to building a better world after COVID. The election campaigning of all the major parties echoed our call to conversion: care for the climate, the vulnerable, the economy, the physical and mental health of people and families. The election results demonstrate that voters expect cooperation amongst parties for the good of the entire population.

While factions prevent positive developments in any sector, everyone benefits from community wellbeing.  Remember the Ubuntu story? (See our website: and press on 2019.08.25) “How can I be happy when another is sad?” Just as the country needs every member to act responsibly, so too the human community needs every member to reflect Christ’s image in order to literally ‘make the world a better place’ for every individual.

Before we plan the steps of our personal and parish journey towards integral ecology, please take time to reflect on your current actions: at home, at work, at church, at play, how does what I do respond to the needs of our world today? Do my actions correspond to the 7 goals guiding us towards more holistic living? Once I recognize where I stand now in my conversion course, I’ll be able to see my direction more clearly.

Prayer for action (from Laudato Si Action Platform):

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.

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Laudato, Si: Can we look beyond our own self-interest?

As we begin the new liturgical year, I think of our journey together since our small family officially joined the parish family.  Together, as a community, we move in prayer towards learning how to live each day with deeper understanding of God’s love in us and around us. This learning is life-long, forever new, forever challenging, forever expanding. It is at once exciting and scary too—because real learning means we might see differently and more scary still—we might have to act differently. Living our Faith inevitably pushes us beyond our personal comfort zones. But that’s why it’s so good that we have each other—our parish family.

As the world faces climate crisis and social breakdown, Church leaders have issued an invitation to all people of good will to join forces to create effective positive action towards a better future. Last week I spoke of us joining the global “Laudato Si” movement and recognizing its holistic goals:  7 goals for each of us to embrace and actualize in the next 7 years of our life.

Pope Francis calls each of us “to undergo an “ecological conversion,” that develops our awareness of the relationships between Creator, creation, and all our brothers and sisters.” “Through this conversion, the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in our relationship with the world around us, as we seek to protect our brothers and sisters by protecting the home we share.” (Laudato Si’, 217) Since “conversion naturally becomes action” Laudato Si will provide a plan of suggested actions for each goal on October 4th, the close of the Month of Creation. This document will help us choose concrete actions that will flow from our desire to build integral ecology in our own community and in our own lives.

Please take time to carefully read the historic joint message issued by the Pope (Catholic), the Ecumenical Patriarch (Orthodox), and the Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican), for the “Protection of Creation”. Their words to us can begin and deepen our—your, my—ecological conversion, so that we together create peace, carry hope, and generate joy.  (SEE: Joint Message for the Protection of Creation)

This Monday we have the privilege of casting our vote for our country’s leadership. Each vote helps shape our collective response to “creation, and all our brothers and sisters.” Can we look beyond our own self-interest and beyond the political rhetoric of elections to choose politicians who care for the well-being of people more than that of the economy? The true value of a society lies in its care for those who are most vulnerable.  May we choose well.