Advocacy & Justice Updates

Advocacy Efforts
Senate Quietly Passes Immigration Bill
Stewards of the Earth
USCCB Announces “First Fridays for Food Security”
USCCB Leads Ecumenical Commitment to Protect Poor People in Federal Budget 
USDA Issues Call to End Hunger in America


Advocacy Efforts
Senate Quietly Passes Immigration Bill
Stewards of the Earth
USCCB Announces “First Fridays for Food Security”
USCCB Leads Ecumenical Commitment to Protect Poor People in Federal Budget 
USDA Issues Call to End Hunger in America

Senate Quietly Passes Immigration Bill
With no debate, the Florida Senate quickly and quietly approved an immigration measure. The Senate measure, finalized yesterday after an emotional floor debate, would require work force boards to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of potential workers before referring them to employers and prohibit undocumented residents from receiving state or federal benefits. It would also allow nonviolent criminals to serve shorter sentences if they agree to be deported. And it would require law enforcement officers to make a “reasonable effort” to ascertain immigration status after someone has been arrested and detained. It is now up to the House to make necessary reconciliations to the legislation before final passage.
Read more here.

Two New “Climate Change Ambassadors” Affirmed by Diocese of San Jose
The Diocese of San Jose recognizes and promotes two area Catholic Climate Ambassadors on its website: Dr. Anthony Stawa and Lindsey Cromwell Kalkbrenner, members of our Catholic Green Initiative
in the Diocese of San Jose have recently received training and commissioning to be among 24 national “Climate Change Ambassadors.”  Read more here. Learn more about the Catholic Green Initiative in the Diocese of San Jose here. To contact a Catholic Climate Ambassador for an event in your region go here.

 Green Fair with Toronto-Area Catholic Schools
The first Scarborough Green Fair is taking place this weekend and it’s a big one.
Originally developed by teachers, parents and students at St. Agatha’s Catholic School, the event has grown to include Blessed Cardinal Newman High school, Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School and is being presented in partnership with Live Green Toronto, Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network, Toronto and Region Conservation, Evergreen and Toronto Zoo. “We wanted to teach the students and the community the importance of the environment and how to take care of it,” said Liza Tilander, one of the St. Agatha parents involved in the planning.  A lot of work has gone into planning the event to show people not only how they can be greener, but also why they should make greener choices.
Read more, and get ideas for planning your own school “green fair” here

Catholic School Honored at Environmental Awards Breakfast
St. Andrew Catholic School in North Oakville, Ontario was recently honored at the Regional Chair’s
Environmental Awards breakfast.  St. Andrew Catholic School has been awarded other recognition for its commitment to care for the environment:
St. Andrew has won numerous prestigious awards for environmental initiatives including Gold certification as one of Ontario’s eco-schools as well as the Halton Regional Chair Environmental Award.
St. Andrew Catholic School’s story is also decribed in this article: “
Environmental Education Woven into the Curriculum”:
In the days leading up to Earth Hour on March 26 students at St. Andrew Catholic Elementary School in Oakville share their environmental success stories. Chiara English, 8, has been learning about the environment from the time she started kindergarten at St. Andrew.
Learn more about how St. Andrew Catholic School is working to care for God’s good gift of Creation, including an “Eco-News” section in each monthly Newsletter

For Reflection: “The ‘Good’ and the Environment”
In a recent article for Coalition member National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Father Bud Grant, Assistant Professor of Theology at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, considers the questions:

+What makes environmental ethics peculiarly Christian?
+What makes this Christian environmental ethic uniquely Catholic?
+And now finally, how can this Catholic Christian environmental ethic of sacramental redistributive suffering manifest itself in our nation’s rural communities and farms?

Fr. Grant especially considers the role of sacrifice in caring for God’s Creation, and concludes:
To do and pursue good necessitates suffering motivated by love. Specifically, it requires that the yoke of suffering shift from the earth and the marginalized to those of us who have reaped the bounty of excess. This is no doomsday vision, no gloomy punishment. The suffering of Christ is redemptive and ends, not in death, but resurrection. So too ours…happiness, perfection, the good, is found not by avoiding sacrifice, but through it. Read the entire article here.

Institute on Developing Sustainable Biomass Supplies held
Last week, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosted a congressional briefing entitled Developing Sustainable Biomass Supplies. Presenters discussed the challenges to achieving sustainable biomass production and the need for a landscape-systems approach to incorporating bioenergy crops into existing agricultural systems. The key point is to ensure a high level of conservation performance for those systems. 

USCCB Announces “First Fridays for Food Security”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops challenge us to become more aware about food insecurity in the United States. On the first Friday of each month for the next year — beginning this Friday, May 6 — Catholics can take part by limiting meal spending to the amount allotted for a family of their size in the USDA Modified Thrifty Food Plan. This food plan is used as the basis for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps). 

At the USCCB Facebook Event Page, participants in the fast can leave comments about their experiences and access learning and prayer resources on different aspects of food insecurity. You can also download a handout (two-page pdf file) to encourage others to become involved. 

*Watch in the next few weeks for a new Food Security & Economic Justice study guide put out by NCRLC! More details to come. 

USDA Issues Call to End Hunger in America
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a series of new online tools to increase the number of individuals, organizations and local governments actively working to end hunger across the country. Today, more than 50 million Americans are at risk of hunger, including 17 million children. Although USDA’s nutrition programs provide assistance to 1 in 4 Americans, many eligible children and families do not participate. Working together, local governments, non-profit and faith-based organizations, and the public can make sure that no one goes hungry in the United States, especially children. 

USCCB Leads Ecumenical Commitment to Protect Poor People in Federal Budget 
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is leading an effort to build a common voice within the Christian community to promote the moral principle of a priority for the poor. The bishops are calling for a Circle of Protection around the “least of these” in the ongoing budget battles. 

The Catholic leaders who have signed this statement and committed to this principle include USCCB Chairmen, Bishop Howard Hubbard and Bishop Stephen Blaire, as well as the leaders of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA. Joining with them are leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Salvation Army, the American Bible Society, Bread for the World, the National Council of Churches, Sojourners and many other heads of denominations and other Christian organizations.   

This initiative is an important sign of unity and a commitment to common action. We are all called to help advance this common work to protect the poor in these difficult times. Click her for the USCCB press release. For complete information on the initiative, including the list of signers and a listing of programs, visit Circle of Protection online.


Advocacy Efforts:

Urge President Obama to actively support peace negotiations in the Holy Land now
Download in PDF.

What’s the issue? A new peace initiative by a group of former Israeli  government, intelligence and security officials along with the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Geneva Accord, offer key principles and ideas for negotiations to achieve comprehensive Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.  Achieving peace is urgent given the current stalemate in negotiations and the threat of escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

What do you want me to do? Contact President Obama now and urge him to exercise strong U.S. leadership for Holy Land peace.

Ask him to coordinate with the other members of the “Quartet” (the United Nations, European Union, Russia) to support the main elements being addressed in the various peace negotiations, including:

  • Creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, based on the 1967 borders with possible limited land swaps as mutually agreed;
  • A fair negotiated resolution of the issue of refugees that does not threaten the demography of Israel;
  • The sharing of Jerusalem by Israel and the Palestinian state with both having their capitals in the city;
  • Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights as part of a peace agreement with Syria; and

Guarantees for free access to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy places.

 Learn more about:

  • A recent letter signed by Catholic and other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders to President Obama in support of Holy Land peace negotiations;

Take Action Now!

  • E-mail, fax or print and mail President Obama from our Action Center click here;
  • Call 1-866-596-7030 for talking points and to be connected to the White House.