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Sister Donna Markham standing in front of a stage at the United We Stand Summit

September 20, 2022, Washington, D.C. – Adrian Dominican Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, was one of the nation’s faith leaders invited to attend President Joe Biden’s United We Stand Summit, held at the White House on September 15, 2022.

The United We Stand Summit: Taking Action to Prevent and Address Hate-Motivated Violence and Foster Unity drew bipartisan and non-partisan federal, state, local, and tribal officials; civil rights groups; faith leaders; business leaders; and law enforcement officials. Also among the 200 people invited to the summit were Sister Mary Haddad, RSM, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).  

“This was a full-day summit with the President, Vice President, and several members of the cabinet,” as well as survivors of the Pulse Nightclub massacre, the Tree of Life Synagogue Assault, and domestic terrorist attacks in Buffalo, Philadelphia, Florida, Texas, and Virginia, Sister Donna said. The survivors shared their stories of loss and healing.

The Summit “put forward a shared vision for a more united America, demonstrating that the vast majority of Americans agree that there is no place for hate-fueled violence in our country,” according to a White House fact sheet. The White House also recognized 16 “uniters,” including Valarie Kaur, a civil rights and faith leader who served as keynote speaker for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2022 General Chapter.

Sister Donna noted her special role in the summit as a faith leader. “At the opening, as a faith leader, I was invited to be part of a kind of ‘prayer circle’ around the victims who were speakers and to hold all of those who have been killed in prayer,” she said. 

“The day was packed – and intense,” Sister Donna recalled. She especially noted a bipartisan panel of mayors who discussed their efforts to promote unity in their city and the invitation to attend lunch in the State Dining Room. “It was a powerful day,” she said. “I was honored to be invited.” 

Catholic Charities USA is the national office for diocesan agencies throughout the United States. Its mission is “to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of good will to do the same.” 

Catholic Charities agencies serve all people in need in such areas as food and nutrition, affordable housing, social enterprise initiatives, advocacy and social policy initiatives, immigration and refugee services, disaster relief, and leadership development and Catholic identity. Sister Donna is the first female President and CEO in CCUSA’s more than 110 years of history.


August 30, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – “To listen to creation is to recognize that, besides all human beings, other-than human life, all the species, biomes and ecosystems have agency, purpose, and a distinct voice. Creation speaks a language of love, of justice and peace, of living within limits, and of respect for the interdependence of all living things, throughout all time.”

Father James Hug, SJ

The above quote is from the preface of the Catholic liturgical materials prepared for the 2022 Season of Creation by Father James Hug, SJ, sacramental minister for the Adrian Dominican Sisters. This year’s theme is “Listen to the Voice of Creation.” 

Season of Creation 2022 is observed from Thursday, September 1, 2022, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, through Tuesday, October 4, 2022, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Season of Creation was established by the World Council of Churches in 2007 as a way for Christians worldwide to reflect on and celebrate God as Creator, on the gifts of creation, and on our responsibility as human beings to care for creation. The Season of Creation Steering Committee publishes an annual liturgy guide for Christians throughout the world.

Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to participate with their Protestant sisters and brothers in the Season of Creation in 2016 – the year after he had written the encyclical, Laudato Si’, on care for Earth, our common home. 

Father Jim realized years ago that, even with the pope’s approval of the Season of Creation, Catholics had no specific liturgical guide. For three years, Father Jim wrote a guide for his own use in celebrating Liturgy at St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse. 

Feeling that Catholic pastors might not feel free to use the ecumenical text, he began publishing the guide in 2020 “to help Catholic communities read and pray with the scriptures of the Catholic lectionary for the Sundays in Ordinary Time during this period through the lens of the Season of Creation,” he wrote in the introduction to the 2022 materials. 

For each Sunday – and for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi – the liturgical guide includes introductory comments, prayers for the opening sign of the cross, an opening prayer, points for reflection on that Sunday’s scriptures, general intercessions, prayer over the gifts, prayer after Communion, and the final blessing. 

Denise Mathias

In addition, Denise Mathias, Music Minister for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, suggests hymns and responsorial psalms to accompany each Sunday’s theme. The guide also includes artwork by iconographer Angela Manno. “I felt the need to expand the canon of images in traditional iconography to include an icon of the Earth – the living host of all that we know,” she wrote.

Also partnering with Father Jim on the Catholic liturgical guide are the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Laudato Si’ International Scholars Tertiary Education Network (LISTEN); the Missionary Society of St. Columban; and the Laudato Si’ Movement.

The Catholic liturgical guide is available on the website of the Dominican Center: Spirituality for Mission. The Spanish translation is available here.

The Season of Creation aligns fully with the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2016 General Chapter Enactment on Sustainability. Through the past six years, the Congregation has worked toward making the Motherhouse campus more sustainable and has encouraged Sisters and Associates to live out the Enactment in their own lives. 

The commitment to sustainability was reaffirmed in June at the 2022 General Chapter, when delegates approved an Enactment for the Congregation to participate in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. Through the Action Platform, Catholic organizations worldwide commit to a seven-year program to work together toward sustainability goals.


 

 

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