Week of Novenas for Justice and Peace

Our Lady Queen of Peace and the Blessed Katherine Drexel

August 4 - 12, 1998

General intentions

1. For the conversion of the rich and powerful.

2. Celebrate life, goodness, beauty, virtue, responsibility, and joy. Practice peace, non-violence, servant leadership, harmony, community, voluntary cooperation, and the proper stewardship of God's creation. Pray without ceasing. (Sixth work of Justice and Peace)

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Saint Prayer

Blessed Katherine Drexel, by the grace of Christ and for the love of God and your fellow human beings, you put your wealth to work for the poor and marginalized, bringing them education, healing, and the opportunity to participate in their own lives. May your example of conversion and cross-cultural solidarity be an evangelical witness for all people. We particularly ask your intercession on behalf of the rich and powerful, that they will stop committing injustices against the poor and embrace the culture of life that calls us to healing and wholeness and communion with God and solidarity with our neighbor. Amen.

Katherine Drexel was a rich woman, born a Philadelphia heiress, who devoted her wealth to founding schools and missions for Indians and African Americans. She was the foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. Bornin 1858, she died in 1955.

When she began her ministry of reconciliation, her actions were not popular with some. Prejudice and discrimination were rife, and "cross-cultural solidarity" was not the general rule.

But out of the most favored groups in society, came a woman who understood that her material wealth was an opportunity to do a great amount of good for people whom society had marginalized and victimized by violence and repression for many years, centuries, in fact.

During this week of prayer, let us keep in mind the need for conversion of the rich and powerful. We may criticize such people because of the many sins they commit against the poor, but it is also true that there are rich people who are in service to the poor; all people have a right to hear the Gospel, and that includes the rich and powerful.

Unfortunately, the more money and power someone has, often the less truth that is spoken to them. People don't necessarily want to speak or hear uncomfortable things, and some of the things that must be said to the rich about their need for conversion and evangelism are indeed uncomfortable. It is never easy to speak truth to power, but this is what we must do, if we are to truly honor Our Lady as the Queen of Peace.

We must remember that the rich are countries, as well as individuals, and in this regard, we here in the United States and in Europe have a heavy debt to the poor. To take just one small example, consider the international debt situation. In the 1970s, big petro-dollar loans were made to poor countries, often to authoritarian regimes. Much of this money was wasted, skimmed off by corrupt officials to bank accounts in Switzerland. Twenty years later, most of the principle of these loans has been repaid -- but the interest? Ahhh, the miracles of compound interest and the tender mercies of the International Bankers.

You can't pay your interest? No problem, we'll just capitalize that interest and now you can pay interest on the interest! Isn't it a marvelous system, truly a preferential option for the rich! Those poor people don't need that money anyway. Let them starve! Chase Manhattan and the World Bank must have their payments! Close those schools, fire the doctors, plow up those food crops and plant drugs to feed the decadent western market.

The "Heavily Indebted Lesser Developed Countries" are paying 40% and more of their entire national revenues just to pay the interest on the interest. And debt cancellation? Puh-leeaze give us a break. These countries made their bed, let them lie in it, even if it kills all of their poor people. Do you think the international bankers, the United States government, and all the governments of Europe combined together give a rat's you-know-xwhat about the problems these cruel and wicked debt repayments are causing the poor. All they want is their money, and they care nothing about the way they go about getting it.

May God have mercy on such people -- but the Bible says that those who sow injustice will reap SEVEN TIMES what they have sown. Think about that, citizens of the United States of America.

Peace is the fruit of justice, and as Pope Paul VI reminded us, to work for peace we must first work for justice, because without justice, there is no peace. All people are connected, rich and poor, and if we are to preach to the poor, we must also preach to the rich.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, calls us therefore to the work of justice, to the celebration of life, goodness, beauty, virtue, responsibility, and joy. We are to practice peace, non-violence, servant leadership, harmony, community, voluntary cooperation, and the proper stewardship of God's creation and always, to pray without ceasing. As we practice these virtues, they have the opportunity of becoming habits, and we might even get pretty good at them after a while.

Send email to James P. Wolfensen, chairman of the World Bank. Share your concern for his immortal soul due to his willing, cruel, and wicked persecution of the poor. Read Robert Waldrop's Letter...Pray for the conversion of James P. Wolfensen

Selected links:

Works of Justice and Peace

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