Justice & Peace conference: 'Scattering seeds of hope'

By: Ellen Teague

Campaigners from parishes around the country gathered for this year's annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network at Swanwick in Derbyshire. Sister Lucina Wogan, a Good Shepherd Sister based in Newcastle, talked about projects where homeless women and women in prostitution in Asia earn an income from craft-making and secure some measure of financial independence. Sr Helen Costigane, of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus who teaches Christian Ethics at Heythrop College, spoke on the importance of ethical investment in helping to tackle structural injustice. 'Scattering seeds of hope' was the theme of the conference. More than 300 participants looked at various initiatives local and international which tackle poverty and oppression in the today's world. In one workshop, CAFOD's 'Unearth Justice' campaign called for better human rights and environmental protection in gold mining. In another, the Jesuit Refugee Service spoke about its work supporting impoverished asylum seekers in Britain. Participants also heard about a new 'Live Simply' campaign which is being launched this Autumn to mark the fortieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI's 1967 encyclical 'Populorum Progressio' (On the Development of Peoples). It is hoped that this campaign will help Catholics to deepen their commitment to social action.

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