As we move from respect life month in October to the Solemnity of All Saints, I wanted to briefly reflect on a number of inspiring events that took place in the last week which manifest the importance of living a consistent ethic of life as Christian disciples.
Friday, October 25:
The University of St. Thomas School of Law hosted its LawJournal Fall Symposium. The symposium was sold out and featured a distinguishedgroup of speakers who conveyed the importance of restorative justice andrestorative practices in responding to harm, in the various areas of law, andin response to the clergy abuse crisis. Those who attended were inspired,enlightened and hopefully now motivated to learn more about the potential ofrestorative justice to bring needed healing.
Friday evening, Abria Pregnancy Resources hosted its 5thAnnual Gala which raised more than $500,000 in support of the critical work onhelping women choose life. The highlight of the evening was a young AfricanAmerican woman who spoke beautifully of the joy and gift of her young child andthanked Abria for their indispensable guidance and support.
Saturday, October 26:
Catholics gathered at Assumption parish in St. Paul to learnmore about restorative justice and healing from Justice Janine Geske, a pioneerin this work. It was moving to have the opportunity to enter into healingcircles where fellow Catholics were able to speak about the peripheral harmthey have experienced as a result of the Church crises. Let the healing begin!
Sunday, October 27:
Catholics at Our Lady of Lourdes gathered to hear “stories from the border” from a group of parishioners and others who recently returned from a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico to work with our parish partnership – the Oblate Mission in Tijuana. The stories of those who are seeking to escape violence and to seek a better life were moving as were the stories of the response of love and compassion from the Oblates and from the various lay Catholics who assist them in their critical work.
Sunday evening, Lourdes Justice and Charity Chair, JulieDitter, hosted a gathering of the Second Chance Coalition Board at her home inMinneapolis. This organization assists those who are reentering society afterspending time in prison and helps them navigate the complexities of collateralconsequences and their desire to live a life of human flourishing.
Wednesday, October 30:
Wednesday, the Minnesota Justice Research Center hosted an all-day symposium entitled “Reimagining Justice.” This gathering assembled experts, community activists, thought leaders and criminal justice practitioners to discuss with creativity and passion the injustices of our criminal justice system and best practices that are emerging which are bringing greater light and equity to those who are often disproportionately affected. Much thanks to Tom Johnson for his tireless work as a steward and advocate for justice.
The only way forward for Catholics in the critical work ofbuilding a just and more humane social order is in teaching, living, andensuring a consistent ethic of life.