Friday, May 14, 2010

Fr. Greg Boyle and 300 Homies Laid Off

Homeboy Industries, the Los Angeles institution whose mission for more than 20 years has been to turn jobs into a recipe for saving the lives of gang members, laid off most of its employees Thursday because of crushing financial problems.

Father Gregory Boyle, who started Homeboy Industries in Boyle Heights during the height of the city's gang wars, said 300 people were laid off, including all senior staff and administrators. Boyle said he has stopped taking a paycheck.

The only employees not laid off were more than 100 who work in the organization's businesses, including its store, bakery and Homegirl Cafe. Boyle said that for the moment, the social services and tattoo removal offered would continue, only because employees said they would keep coming.

The organization faces a $5 million budget deficit due to an increase in demand for its services combined with the economic slump and a reduction in donations. If you want to help put Homeboy Industries back on its feet, you can:

1. Buy Fr. Greg Boyle's book, the proceeds of which go to Homeboy Industries. It is available in English as Tattoos on the Heart and in Spanish as Tatuajes en el corazón.

2. Order a copy of Homeboy Review literary magazine.

3. Make a donation online at or by sending a check to:

Homeboy Industries
130 W. Bruno St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Stepping back to see better

Leonardo Boff's weekly columns are available in Spanish from Servicios Koinonia. Some of his older columns are available in English at

by Leonardo Boff (English translation by Rebel Girl)

We are all distressed by the crisis through which Mother Earth and human life are passing. And we have good reason to be, because we are facing a future that could be life or death. To better see the situation, we must take a step back. We will compress more than 13 billion years of existence of the universe into a single cosmic year. Let's see how over the months all beings emerged until the last seconds of the last minute of the last day of the year. Let's look at the scenario that a cosmologist friend helped me calculate.

On January 1 the Great Explosion (Big Bang) occured.

On March 1 the great red stars emerged that later exploded and from their elements, thrown in every direction, the current universe was formed.

On May 8 the Milky Way emerged -- one among one hundred billion.

On September 9 the Sun, the center of our solar system, was born.

On October 1 Earth, the third planet from the Sun, was born.

On October 29, life burst forth within the primitive ocean.

On December 21, fish emerged.

On December 28 at 8:00, mammals.

On December 28 at 18:00, the birds flew.

On December 31 at 17:00 our pre-human ancestors, the anthropoids, were born.

On December 31 at 22:00 the primitive human being enters the scene -- Australopithecus.

On December 31 at 23:58:10 the human being of today emerges, named homo sapiens, bearer of a thinking consciousness.

On December 31 at 23:59:06, Jesus Christ was born, the central figure of Christianity and, for Christians, the Savior of the world.

On December 31 at 23:59:59.02, Pedro Alvares Cabral came to Brazil.

On December 31 at 23:59:59.03, Europe began to be an industrialized society and to expand its power, exploiting the world and creating the current gap between rich and poor.

On December 31 at 23:59:59.54, Brazil gained its independence.

On December 31 at 23:59:59.56 (starting in 1950), the rate of ecological exploitation and devastation accelerated dramatically.

On December 31 at 23:59:59.58 Lula was elected president, a worker in power. Shortly thereafter the dangerous global warming that could threaten the future of civilization was noticed.

On December 31 at 23:59:59.59 we came into the world.

The point of this reading is to unseat anthropocentrism, ie, that vision which gives intrinsic value only to humans and puts everything else at their service. The history of the universe shows that it is not exactly true. The human being is one of the last things to have appeared and been inserted into the general movement of the cosmos. But he has a unique feature: he alone is aware of this history and his place in time. And he feels responsible for the good or disastrous course of the Earth.

Human time is shorter than the soft sigh of a child. Even so, there arises in us a feeling of gratitude to the universe that organized all things so that now we can be here to think and admire these wonders, full of respect and reverence.

And we are not alone. The universe gave us many companions: the stars, the animals, the plants, the birds and human beings, all formed from the same cosmic elements. We are a great Whole.

This earthly Whole cannot end miserably because of our irresponsibility. We will overcome the crisis and continue to live and shine, for our birthplace is in the stars.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Maribel Perez Vargas Gets New Lungs!

As regular readers of this blog know, we have been praying and raising money for a young Peruvian immigrant mother named Maribel Perez Vargas who needed a lung transplant because of pulmonary cystic fibrosis. Maribel has health insurance through Kaiser Permanente but at first, Kaiser would not pay for the procedure which would have to take place outside their coverage area at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. After that hurdle was negotiated, they said that Maribel would have to come up with the over $80,000 co-pay. MAPAVI and the Peruvian Consulate stepped up to the plate to help raise the necessary funds. Maribel's own health and emotional state fluctuated as she waited for the miracle that would save her life.

According to today's Washington Hispanic and El Tiempo Latino , on Tuesday Maribel received a double lung transplant and a temporary tracheotomy to help her breathe in a 9 hour operation. She is in intensive care and has considerable post-surgical pain but has been able to receive a visit from her husband, Lorenzo, and her children, Diana (12) and Jason (10) and speak to them. If everything stays on schedule, she should be leaving the ICU for a regular room on Monday and then she'll be getting rehabilitation and in a week she should be able to get up and walk around a bit.

So this morning we are grateful to God and to all those whose prayers and funds have helped Maribel have many more years with her family. Alleluia!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Immigration News Roundup -- 5/13/2010

1. More jurisdictions boycotting Arizona:

Also, the Republican Party rejected Phoenix as a site for their 2010 Convention in favor of Tampa.

2. The latest polls:

  • AP-Univision: Resounding majorities of Hispanics consider illegal immigrants a boon rather than a burden to the country and condemn Arizona's strict new law targeting undocumented people, according to an Associated Press-Univision Poll that spotlights sharp divides between Hispanics and others in the U.S...Even so, much of the poll — which questioned 1,001 adults of all races from the general population, plus 901 Hispanic adults — reads as if soundings were taken of two distinct worlds. It found that 74 percent of Hispanics said the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants mostly contribute to society. Just 35 percent of non-Hispanics agreed with that, with 60 percent saying illegal immigrants are mostly a drain. In addition, 67 percent of Hispanics said they oppose the Arizona statute. Just 20 percent of non-Hispanics oppose it, with 45 percent favoring it and 30 percent neutral.

  • NBC-Wall Street Journal: By a two-to-one margin, Hispanics are more strongly opposed than Americans overall to the recent immigration measure signed in to law in Arizona that would make it a state crime to reside there illegally. Seven in 10, or 70%, of Hispanic respondents said they are somewhat or strongly opposed to the law, compared with 34% of all respondents in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll set for release later Wednesday. One thousand people were polled. Among Hispanics, 27% are somewhat or strongly supportive of Arizona's law. That compares with 64% of respondents overall. Hispanics' opposition to the law stems from a widely held concern that it will lead to discrimination towards Hispanics who are citizens, or who are residing in the U.S. legally. Fully 82% of Hispanics said they are concerned about profiling, compared with 66% overall.

  • Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: The public broadly supports a new Arizona law aimed at dealing with illegal immigration and the law’s provisions giving police increased powers to stop and detain people who are suspected of being in the country illegally. Fully 73% say they approve of requiring people to produce documents verifying their legal status if police ask for them. Two-thirds (67%) approve of allowing police to detain anyone who cannot verify their legal status, while 62% approve of allowing police to question people they think may be in the country illegally. After being asked about the law’s provisions, 59% say that, considering everything, they approve of Arizona’s new illegal immigration law while 32% disapprove.
3. Arizona Religious Leaders Lobby for Immigration Reform: An interfaith group that includes some of Arizona's most powerful religious leaders is in DC this week to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform. They have already met with Senator John McCain and other meetings are scheduled with the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. They will also be going to the Department of Justice to ask for a delay in the July implementation of the Arizona law at the very least, to give Congress more time to act on comprehensive changes. Attorney-General Eric Holder said Sunday that the department is considering a lawsuit to stall its implementation, among other options.

The group includes: Bishop Gerald Frederick Kicanas, Tucson Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church; Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church; Rev. Monsignor Richard William O'Keeffe, Episcopal Vicar, Yuma - La Paz Vicariate Immaculate Conception Parish; Rev. Dr. Gary D. Kinnaman, Pastor at Large, Phoenix-area, and Chairman, AZ Governor's Council on Faith and Community Initiatives, 2008; Rev. Jan Olav Flaaten, Executive Director, Arizona Ecumenical Council; Rabbi John Andrew Linder, Temple Solel, Scottsdale; Joseph David Rubio, Lead Organizer for Arizona, Industrial Areas Foundation. "We are here...not in political capacities, but as religious prod, encourage and advocate comprehensive immigration reform," Bishop Kicanas said.

4. Cultural Diversity Conference Backs Arizona Bishops: Catholic leaders from across the United States participating in the Catholic Cultural Diversity Network Convocation at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, on the last day of their meeting, sent an open letter to the Catholic bishops of Arizona, expressing their support for the bishops’ leadership in raising opposition to Arizona Law SB 1070. “We write in order to express our solidarity with you and the Catholic community under your care and all the people of Arizona and throughout the United States who have raised their voices in opposition to Arizona Law SB1070,” the letter read. “This is a law which undermines the fabric of society by creating an atmosphere of discrimination against certain members of the community, profiling minorities and creating fear among persons of color regardless of their immigration status.” The full text of the letter is also available in Spanish on the Padre Hoyos Blog.

5. Crist: Immigration reform can help Social Security: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who's running for Senate as an independent, said Friday that providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants will help keep Social Security solvent — an idea he favors over his opponent, Marco Rubio's suggestion to raise the eligibility age for benefits for people now under 55. Crist told The Associated Press there are as many as 14 million illegal immigrants in the country as part of an underground economy. If they paid into the Social Security system, it would help increase the worker-to-retiree ratio....Crist made his comments after Rubio said he supports a controversial new Arizona immigration law that requires state and local law officers to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally. Rubio, who is Cuban American, previously opposed the law, but changed his position after the Arizona legislature tweaked the language to ban racial profiling. Hermanos y hermanas en Florida, you know what you need to do in November. Rubio may look Hispanic pero su corazón no está con nosotros.

See also Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions, New York Times, 4/5/2005

6. Pelosi Urges Catholic Church to Play 'Major Role' in Immigration Overhaul: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last Thursday urged Catholic leaders to "instruct" their parishioners to support immigration reforms, saying clerics should "play a very major role" in supporting Democratic policies. "The cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops that come to me and say, 'We want you to pass immigration reform,' and I said, 'I want you to speak about it from the pulpit.'" Pelosi, who is Catholic, was speaking at the Nation's Catholic Community conference co-sponsored by Trinity Washington University and the National Catholic Reporter. "The people, some (who) oppose immigration reform, are sitting in those pews, and you have to tell them that this is a manifestation of our living the gospels," Pelosi added. She also said that the church "has an important role to play" in teaching about dignity and respect, and "as a practical matter" it's not possible to tell 12 million illegal immigrants to "go back to wherever you came from or go to jail."

Ernesto Cardenal says humankind should free itself from "capitalist exploitation"

by Gorka Vega
May 12, 2010

Nicaraguan poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal feels it is essential that humankind be freed from "capitalist exploitation" in order to survive and he argues that God created man as a socialist being whose aim should be to build a "perfect society" under the banner of equality.

In an interview with EFE, on the occasion of his participation in "II Mayo Poético" ("Poetic May II") organized by the University of Almería, Cardenal, a former member of the Sandinistas and a supporter of liberation theology, reflects on the current socioeconomic situation and the direction that humankind should take, while demanding a more social role for the genre of poetry.

Despite his disagreements with the church hierarchy, Cardenal defends his status as a priest and, at 85, he admits that he only cares to be remembered "by God."

Question: Is poetry a political tool?

Answer: Of course it is, and I think it always should have been.

Q: Has poetry lost the spirit of denunciation?

A: Poetry hardly says anything anymore, it has neglected its mission of denouncing, and for the last two centuries has been reduced to the intimate, the personal, the subjective. Poetry is also prophecy in the sense that it is announcing a better world, while denouncing the present filthiness. This is the poetry of the Bible, which has been the main poetry of humanity.

Q: Is it possible to eliminate inequality in the world?

A: God created the world to be perfect.

Q: What can we learn from the current global economic crisis?

A: I think we should learn that capitalism needs to end because it is bad for humanity. To survive, humanity must liberate itself from capitalist exploitation.

Q: And where should we go?

A: There are only two systems: capitalism, which is private property, and socialism, common property. God created us to have common property.

Q: How do you analyze the progress of the political left in Latin America?

A: It is part of the evolution of humankind. We were created for socialism, for equality. God made us socialists.

Q: You have been very critical of the church hierarchy. What changes does the Church need?

A: I am critical like the prophets of the Bible, who were also critical of the religion of Israel of their time, and like Christ was of the religion of His people. Christians have to be critical of the Church, that has the errors and sins of ancient Israel. We must continue denouncing it.

Q: What do you think of the current pope, Benedict XVI?

A: I think he is the same as the previous one, or even worse.

Q: How do you imagine society five or six generations from now? Will we have improved?

A: I don't know in how many generations, but I imagine a society that will be perfect.

Q. How would you like to be remembered?

A: Just to be remembered by God.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cyber Cheating

We are getting into marriage season and one thing that has been on my mind is how much marital infidelity there is that falls short of full sexual adultery but is equally destructive to the domestic church that every Catholic marriage and family should be. With the Internet and chat rooms, this type of emotional infidelity -- or cyber cheating -- has become rampant as spouses spend more and more time online at the expense of their real life partners.


Some of the warning signs that cyber cheating may be at work in your couple:

1. You have little or no sex. Partner is always too busy or tired.
2. You have petty arguments.
3. You feel like you don’t have anything in common any more.
4. One of you is no longer attracted to the other.
5. Partner spends unusually long periods of time on cell phone or computer.
6. Partner suddenly becomes hypercritical about your appearance.
7. Partner becomes secretive or defensive when questioned about their behavior.
8. Partner loses interest in relationship or family activities.
9. Partner stays on computer very late at night after you have retired.
10. Partner secures their computer in a locked area or with passwords you don’t have access to.


Use this as a checklist to see if your online relationship with someone of the opposite sex has drifted from friendship to cyber cheating:

1. You are withdrawing from your spouse.
2. You are preoccupied and daydream about your online friend more and more.
3. You are not interested in being intimate with your spouse, either emotionally or sexually.
4. The amount of time you and your spouse spend together is less, while the time you spend with your online friend increases.
5. When confronted about the apparent emotional affair, you get defensive and respond, "We're just friends."
6. You find yourself anticipating when you can communicate or be with your online friend again.
7. You are sharing your thoughts, feelings, and problems with your online friend instead of your spouse.
8. You find crazy excuses to send your online friend personal notes, photos, or other "gifts".
9. You think your online friend understands you better than your spouse does.
10. You are keeping your friendship a secret from your spouse.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not specifically mention emotional infidelity. "Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely." (CIC 2380).

The cyber cheater may even justify their behavior by saying that they don't feel desire or lust for their online friend, that they are just looking for a confidante. However, the Church disapproves of cyber cheating and other forms of emotional infidelity because they violate the essence of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony which is that a couple "give themselves definitively and totally to one another." (CIC 2364). When a person reserves their innermost thoughts and dreams for an online friend rather than sharing them with their spouse, they are no longer giving themselves totally to their partner.

Cyber cheating and emotional infidelity can also become near occasions of sin in that they have the potential to lead to actual physical adultery. The Church instructs us that we are to avoid near occasions for sin and so those who see themselves in the warning lists above might want to take the following steps:

1. Examine the nature of your communication with online friends of the opposite sex. Is it appropriate and necessary or does it go overboard? If necessary, try to curtail your communication with your online friend. Ask yourself on each transaction: "Would I send this e-mail or post this message or comment if my spouse were looking over my shoulder?" If the answer is "no", don't do it. You should not be doing anything online that you can't tell your spouse about.

2. This post is not about Internet pornography -- a different sin against marriage and chastity and one explicitely prohibited by the Church (CIC 2354) -- but obviously you should not be engaged in that either and, if you are and can't control that aspect of your online activity, if it's an addiction, you should seek professional help. You can try using site blocking software to help but serious Internet porn addicts are usually not deterred and become accustomed to bypassing any blocking software that has been installed.

3. Are you engaged in excessive non work-related computer use that takes you away from your spouse and family? Try limiting how much time you spend on the computer after hours, especially at home. Set a "curfew" for your journeys into cyberspace.

While the Catechism doesn't address this sort of behavior specifically, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' For Your Marriage Web site does:

...There are some infidelities, however, that are not of a sexual nature. While these may appear to be less severe than sexual infidelity, they can also cause harm to a marriage, especially if left unchecked.

For example, one partner may have a relationship that mimics an affair in that a third party or entity takes an inordinate amount of one’s time, energy and emotional investment to the detriment of the primary marital relationship. This “third party” may be the custom of sharing daily coffee, or a similar get-together, with a co-worker without the marriage partner’s knowledge...

...Similarly, internet chatting can be either sexual or non-sexual and has the potential to be a dangerous form of unfaithfulness within the marriage. This particular problem can also become an addiction and needs to be addressed, often through the use of an intervention...
If you find you can't control your cyber cheating behavior, especially if it is damaging your relationship with your spouse, or if you have doubts about whether or not what you are doing is infidelity, seek the help of a priest or a pastoral counselor. Don't let an Internet "friendship" ruin your marriage.

More erosion in the old boys network

Declaring that “the days of cover up are over”, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, denounced Vatican No.2 Cardinal Angelo Sodano for having blocked an inquiry into sex abuse allegations against the late cardinal of Vienna, Hans Hermann Groer.

Cardinal Groer was accused in 1995 of sexually molesting young boys at a seminary in the town of Hollabrunn, Austria. In an interview with the Austrian news agency, Kathpress, Cardinal Schönborn identified Cardinal Sodano as the person who persuaded the current pope, then in his previous role of prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), not to investigate Cardinal Groer. Three years after the accusations aired, Groer relinquished his religious duties and went into exile in Germany. He died in 2003 without ever having been brought to justice.

Schönborn also excoriated Sodano for his Easter Sunday remarks in which Sodano dismissed international criticism of the church over the sex abuse scandal as “idle gossip”. Schönborn said those remarks caused "massive harm" to victims of clerical sex abuse.

Cardinal Schönborn also touched on a number of other hot button issues. On homosexual unions, the cardinal said that the Church "should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships", adding that “a stable relationship is certainly better than if someone simply indulges in promiscuity." With respect to Catholics who divorce and remarry, he said the Church might need to reconsider the idea that they should not receive Communion, pointing out that “many people don’t even marry at all any longer." The primary thing to consider should not be the sin, but people’s striving to live according to the commandments, he said. Instead of a morality based on duty, the Church should work towards a morality based on happiness, he continued. Finally, Cardinal Schönborn also argued that the Roman Curia is "urgently in need of reform," and said that Pope Benedict is working "gently" toward that goal.

Must be "very gently", because we at Iglesia Descalza don't see much movement...And how much you all want to bet that the Vatican won't demand that Cardinal Schönborn clarify his remarks about homosexuals and communion for remarried Catholics? Rank does have its privileges...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Madre de los Pobres: Mother's Day at QOP

Being at my current parish is always a blessing but particularly today when we were treated to a Mother's Day liturgy that was anything but saccharine. The choir picked some great Marian songs including "Madre de Los Pobres / Madre de Nuestra América" which I have reprinted and translated below. I'm still not sure what the song's real title is, so I have displayed both of the ones I have found for it. Chords -- although for some reason not all of the verses -- can be found here. We were also treated to Ali Primera's "Madre Dejame Luchar" -- see video below. Fr. Joe complemented the music with a homily that emphasized Mary as a real flesh and blood mother, rather than the otherwordly way in which the Church too often portrays her.

And then we got into the nitty-gritty of how we can support our children as a community because two of our altar servers are having immigration problems. One little boy, JC, had his first hearing the week before last. JC's mother is from El Salvador and has been living here legally under temporary protective status. JC had been living with his grandmother but crossed the border mojado with a group of strangers because he only wanted to be reunited with his mom. Now he is facing the possibility of deportation. The judge, who was shocked at JC's age (he is in elementary school), gave him a future court date in November, hoping (at least this is our guess) that some kind of sensible immigration reform will be passed between now and then. JC is poised, polite, gradually learning English and making top grades in school, in addition to his service to our community.

This week we learned that JD, who serves our community as an altar server, minister of Holy Communion and lector, was picked up after a routine traffic stop for driving without having a license (which he can't get because he is undocumented). JD is college age but, in spite of his youth, he is one of the few people in the community who knows where everything is and is familiar with the liturgy, soup to nuts. Very reliable. The police found out that JD doesn't have papers and he has been in detention ever since. His first hearing is this Tuesday and today the whole community -- both the Spanish and the English Masses -- signed a letter to the judge testifying to his good character. Both Fr. Joe and our pastor Fr. Tim will be writing individual letters of support. Members of the community were present at JC's hearing; members of the community will be present at JD's too. It should also be mentioned that several community members who are lawyers have offered their professional services for these kids.

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Today I was proud to watch as our faith community became "mother" to these two young men. That's the kind of church I want to be part of!


Madre de los pobres, de los peregrinos,
te pedimos hoy por América Latina.
Tierra que visitas con los pies descalzos
apretando fuerte un niño entre tus brazos.


América despierta, sobre tus cerros
despunta la luz de una mañana nueva.
Día de la salvación que ya se acerca,
sobre los pueblos que están en tinieblas
ha brillado una gran luz.

Luz de un niño frágil que nos hace fuertes,
luz de un niño pobre que nos hace ricos,
luz de un niño esclavo que nos hace libres.
Esa luz un día nos diste en Belén.

Madre de los pobres, hay mucha miseria
porque falta siempre el pan en muchas casas.
El pan de la verdad, falta en muchas mentes,
el pan del amor, que falta en muchos hombres.

Conoces la pobreza porque la viviste,
alivia la miseria de los cuerpos que sufren.
Arranca el egoísmo que nos empobrece,
para compartir la marcha hacia el Padre.


Mother of the poor, of the pilgrims,
we pray to you today for Latin America.
A land that you visit with bare feet
clutching a child in your arms.


Wake up, America, above your hills
breaks forth the light of a new dawn.
The day of salvation is drawing near,
on the people who were in darkness
a great light has shone.

The light of a fragile Child who makes us strong,
The light of a poor Child who makes us rich,
The light of a slave Child who makes us free,
You gave us that light one day in Bethlehem.

Mother of the poor, there is much misery
because many homes always lack bread.
Many minds lack the bread of truth,
Many people lack the bread of love.

You know poverty because you lived it,
ease the misery of suffering bodies.
Tear out the selfishness that empoverishes us,
so we can share the journey to the Father.

Mother's Day Proclamation


In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, best known as the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", called for women to rise up and oppose war in all its forms. She wanted women to come together across national boundaries, to recognize what we hold in common above what divides us, and commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts. She issued her "Mother's Day Proclamation" (see below) hoping to gather together women to act for peace.

She failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. The call was influenced by Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who had attempted starting in 1858 what she called Mothers' Work Days to improve sanitary conditions for both sides of the Civil war. In 1868 Jarvis also began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. When she died, her daughter, also named Anna Jarvis, started her own crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1907 in the church where the elder Anna Jarvis had taught Sunday School. And from there the custom caught on -- spreading eventually to 45 states. Finally the holiday was declared officially by states beginning in 1912, and in 1914 the President, Woodrow Wilson, declared the first national Mother's Day.

Soon after the first official Mother's Day, the commercialization of Mother's Day became rampant and infuriated Anna Jarvis and she made her criticisms explicitly known. She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter. She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother's Day, and she finally said that she "wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control ...".

So let's bring this day back to its original purpose by honoring our mothers simply and basically with our presence and sincere caring, and by working for peace and justice so that children and mothers do not die prematurely from violence or poverty or become separated through unjust laws.


Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Photos: Julia Ward Howe; Anna Jarvis -- mother and daughter