This month the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach (CCAO) will launch its new E-Advocacy initiative. We hope this new technology will strengthen our capacity to work with Columban supporters and enable us, together with you, to advocate on behalf of vulnerable communities world-wide which are adversely affected by forced migration, economic and environmental injustice, violence and conflict.
Immigration continues to be a key issue, and our office continues to work with Justice for Immigrants, an advocacy coalition of Catholic religious orders and organizations hosted by the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference. During the Lenten season, we will be working on building support in grassroots communities for comprehensive immigration reform, based on Gospel values of welcoming the stranger and keeping families together. A Lenten Resource booklet is available from our office.
We also continue to advocate for environmental justice, and have invited Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh, from Ireland, to join us for a week of activities during Ecumenical Advocacy Days, March 21 – 24. He will appear on three panels and speak to a local parish on climate change and care for creation. We will also host Columban Fr. Enrique Escobar, on his way from Peru to the Philippines.
Our four interns continue to work hard in the areas assigned to them, and to both bring their talents and experience to the table, as well as to grow in the work of advocacy. This opportunity to intern with the Columban Center enriches us as well as them, as they represent the inter-cultural experience that Columban in mission experience as well.
We are grateful for the Columban Border Center for the many university groups they host for a border immersion experience, and we are inviting the more than fifty students who have taken part in the past two years to consider a summer internship with the CCAO. Every summer, four to five people intern full-time with our office during the months of June and July, and live together in community at the Franciscan Mission Service. We are looking forward again to this shared experience.
The CCAO office is also working with Columbans in Lima, Peru through the U.S. Region’s TransAmerica program to offer a Peru Mission Exposure Trip from August 22 – 31, 2014. We look forward to promoting and accompanying a group of people on this trip, and in the spirit of mutual solidarity, visiting Columban mission projects among the poor in Lima, and reflecting each night on the experience in a local Columban parish. Deadline for applications is June 1.