Catholic social justice in action

Each year delegations from dioceses throughout Florida attend Catholic Days at the Capitol. This year a group of 50, including four seminarians, will visit with legislators, asking for their vote on various bills. They will also get a tour of the historic capitol and the Capitol Complex which houses the House and Senate chambers and offices.

Margarita Feuerbacher, a parishioner from Our Lady of the Lakes in Deltona, has attended Catholic Days at the Capitol for more than 10 years. “I keep going back because I feel we can make a difference to be engaged with our legislators and affecting the quality of life we have as Catholics and Floridians,” she said. “It is an extension of us living the Church’s Catholic social teaching.”

“Through my work with St. Vincent de Paul Orlando, I’m able to put my faith into action during Catholic Days at the Capitol,” St. Vincent de Paul Orlando Executive Director Trace Trylko said. “Vincentians serve as a voice of the poor and time spent interacting with lawmakers in Tallahassee allows us to talk about important social justice issues that are at the very heart of our mission to serve our brothers and sisters in need.”

This year, that mission covers advocating for the Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program, a network of 100 local centers throughout the state that are non-profit organizations providing support and assistance to couples faced with difficult pregnancy decisions. The program offers free pregnancy tests, peer counseling and referrals, and classes on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and life skills.

Other bills being addressed are school choice for children with special needs and the repeal of the death penalty.

Susan Sullivan is a member of the Council of Catholic Women at Our Lady of Hope in Port Orange. This is her first time going. She says she wanted to be involved in legislative issues to make a difference. “I most look forward to the Red Mass,” she added. “I heard it is just wonderful.” The 43rd annual Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit concludes Catholic Days at the Capitol. Diocese of Pensacola Bishop William Wack leads the faithful in the celebration of the Mass.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff – January 31, 2018