Pastor's Corner Apr 15 2018

This week we pray: O all-powerful God, we have just celebrated the paschal festivals; grant by Your grace that we may preserve the spirit of them in our way of life. This we ask through Your Son. Amen!

Generosity: I am heartened and grateful for your recent support. We are able to do some renovations without anxiety. We have fixed some corrupted restroom fixtures, replaced some broken windows and are poised to replace 4 rotten doors in the courtyard. On the larger side: a) In a few weeks, we will replace all the cedar shakes with asphalt shingles. b) The main doors into the vestibule can't really be fixed; we will replace them. c) We aim to address the parking lot issues this fall. Thank you for your patience.

Clean-up Day: Work can be fun if we do it together! We aim to beautify our property in and out. Come pitch-in on the 28th, and we'll get ‘er done! After the 9 am Mass, we'll have a coffee and donut. Lunch provided.

Naming opportunity: We have decided to add two benches to our landscaping and wonder if anyone would like to donate the cost in honor of a loved one. Anyone? These will be placed beside the Child Jesus shrine.

Human Trafficking: This week President Trump signed a bill which will ensure that websites promoting human trafficking can be prosecuted, such as Backpage. Some stats indicate more than 300,000 children annually are victims of trafficking—and most cases via the internet. In September 2012, Obama had said finding a solution was a "priority for the country." What is it? –the buying or selling of another person by force, fraud or coercion. The abduction of children from street corners is relatively rare. More frequently, perpetrators smooth-talk their victims with empty promises, and trick unsuspecting victims into servitude. Modern technology, like smart phones, has dramatically enhanced the trafficker's ability to recruit their victims. Parents beware.

We need to be wise in the ways of the world, as well as the ways of God, no? Here's a list of 10 common misconceptions in the U.S.: Myth 10: Victims of human trafficking are only "foreign nationals." On the contrary, most cases of trafficking, and particularly sex trafficking in the US, involve U.S.-born citizens. Traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of their victims. Myth 9: Human trafficking always involves transportation. No, victims could be exploited in their own states, neighborhoods, or even homes. Some victims come home every night for dinner, or are present at school every day. Traffickers try hard to avoid detection. Myth 8: Trafficking is the same as smuggling. No, while smuggling is a crime against the state in which someone seeks to cross international borders, trafficking is a crime against a person; the human being is exploited for the purposes of profit through force, fraud or coercion. Myth 7: Physical force is always involved. No, a life of servitude induced by emotional manipulation can deliver greater psychological damage to the victim, and less sympathy from friends. The victim is induced to believe they are complicit. Myth 6: Victims always ask for help. No! Traffickers develop great control over their victims. As a result, the victims are made to believe they consented; or that they themselves are the offenders! Victims rarely seek help or report their case to authorities. Myth 5: Victims of human trafficking always come from poverty. No, traffickers target any vulnerability they can find: poverty, attention-seeking, low self-esteem, children without healthy relation-ships or boundaries. Traffickers offer a semblance of whatever is not being fulfilled at home. Myth 4: All trafficking is for sexual exploitation. No, the exploitation is for the purposes of labor as well. This most commonly occurs within hospitality services, agricultural and manufacturing industries, domestic servitude and peddling. Myth 3: Human trafficking only occurs in illegal, underground industries. No, both the victims and the consumers of human trafficking are found in every type of demo-graphic. Myth 2: There's no crime if there is initial consent. No, at the time of consent, the victims are lead blindly into a situation they can't imagine. This is equivalent to the worst type of abuse. Myth 1: It's an international problem only. No, every home in America is at risk. 100,000 U.S. children are induced into the commercial sex trade every year. (This list was taken from the Virtus program.)

Awareness is key. Inoculate your children against this exploitation. I recommend all adults to acquire the VIRTUS certification and to maintain their status by reading the monthly bulletins. On this happy note, thank you for your attention.

May God reward your support of the parish.

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