Catholic Rural Life Sunday, June 26, Gergen Family Farm

Hosted by St. Mary’s Catholic Church, New Trier, Rural Life Sunday officially began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Lee Piche at 1:30 p.m.

The farm yard was replete with a wide array of tractors (several vintage), a fully restored 50’s something GMC pick up truck, a petting zoo that incuded a Holstein cow with calf, banty chickens, rabbits and a goat. Mass seating on hay bales and rough planks overlooking the soybean fields and the farmstead faced the flatbed fifth wheel trailer from which the Mass was celebrated.

Through the ligurgy and Bishop Piche’s homily gratitude was expressed to our God for the bounty of earth and the hands of farmers who abundantly feed God’s people, and the ongoing call to continue to provide care for earth.

Immediately following the Mass, dinner was served in the machine shed to more than 400 people, from Mendota Heights, West Saint Paul, St. Paul and the surrounding area.

The Gergen Family was represented by Helen, 98 year old matriarch (back home on the farm for the day), Leon and Nancy, Ray and Elaine Gergen who currently live on and farm the land. More about Catholic Rural Life

The Honorable Joseph Boakai, Vice President of Liberia

The Honorable Joseph Boakai, Vice President of Liberia, met with civic leaders early in his visit to Minnesota, June 17. That afternoon, the Coalition for Permanent Residency (CPR) hosted a reception in his honor at the Urban League in Minneapolis.

CPR is an interfaith and advocacy based coalition that since early 2007 has been working with the Minnesota Congressional Delegation and local and national networks (NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Advocates for Human Rights, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota…) urging the White House to grant early extensions of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to affected Liberians; and for passage of HR 1293 and SF 656, the Liberian Immigrant Refugee Fairness Act to grant permanent status to approximately 3,600 Liberians who have lived in the United States “temporarily” since 1991.

Scott Gray, CEO Minneapolis Urban League opened the reception with a welcome from the Urban League. CPR representatives presented a program: Mayalan Keita-Brown: African and American Association for Cooperation and Development served as MC; Ahmed Sirleaf, Advocates for Human Rights presented an update on DED and pending legislation in Congress; Theodosia Gray, Liberian on DED, described the multiple challenges of living a life in limbo on DED; Ginger K. Hedstrom, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates provided background on the mission of CPR lived through our advocacy efforts locally and nationally.

In his remarks, Vice President Boakai described the harsh realities rooted in the civil war that forced so many Liberians to leave – and the current challenges in Liberia’s reconstruction. He expressed deep gratitude to the United States for our ongoing support of Liberia and hospitality provided to Liberians living in the United States. Going on he expressed that the ideal would be for Liberians to return. However, he noted that the destruction of the infrastructure, lack of electricity, potable water, 80% unemployment, and lack of the opportunity for an education pose enormous challenges for those in Liberia. Passage of the Liberian Immigrant Refugee Fairness Act would allow Liberans on DED to return freely when the situation there improves rather than by forced departure. Proudly he stated that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration “holds no political prisoners.”

Vic Rosenthal, Jewish Community Action closed the afternoon by calling everyone to action by signing postcards urging President Obama to grant an immediate extension to DED and to join CPR in thanking Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, Congressman Ellision, Congresswoman McCollum for their leadership roles in advancing the Liberian Immigrant Refugee Fairness Act in Congress. Vice President Boakai signed a postcard before leaving the reception.

NOTE: Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are home to the largest number of Liberians in Minnesota – estimated at more than 23,000.

World Peace and Prayer Day 2011

World Prayer and Peace Day 2011 (WPPD) events are being held in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, June 18 -21. The events center around Bdote, (Mendota), the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. Sacred sites in this area include: Oheyawahi/Pilot Knob and Coldwater Springs. Since 1996 WPPD has grown to include grassroots and international communities – as part of a coalition for all Humanity involved in healing Mother Earth.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, founder of WPPD, is the 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and holds the responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

Schedule of events and information on presenters from around the world and more:

Many of the events will be on the grounds of St. Peter Church, Mendota (Highway 55 and 13). NOTE: The Mendota Bridge will be closed Sunday, June 19, 2-4pm.

Twin Cities World Refugee Day, June 25, 12 – 6p.m.

Minnehaha Park, 4801 South Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis

This event will recognize more than 100,000 refugees living across Minnesota and build bridges between the longtime local community and the newest members of the wider Minnesota communty. FREE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT; food and vendors from around the world, children’s activities, community resource fair and interactive educational displays. More information is available at TWIN CITIES WORLD REFUGEE DAY

11th Day Prayer for Peace, June 11, 6:30 p.m.

Promoting a Culture of Life

Short reflections on: War or Peace? Death Penalty or Rehabilitation? Drugs or Sobriety? Abortion or Adoption?

Pornography or Chastity? Trafficking or Human Dignity?

Euthanasia or End-of-Life Care? Deportation or Immigration?
Consumerism or Conservation? Poverty or Sharing?

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: Provincial House Chapel, 1890 Randolph Ave., St. Paul
FFI: 651.690.7079

Prepared by: Gospel of Life Task Group of the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates