Office of Advocacy and Justice Update



Keep the Flame Alive – POSTPONED
The Keep the Flame Alive workshop that was scheduled to take place this Saturday, March 26 at Sts. Peter and Paul has been postponed until August 6, 2011. We apologize for any inconvenience. More details to come. 

The Many Faces of Human Trafficking
A Human Trafficking Awareness Training will take place April 16, 2011 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Ascension Catholic Church in Melbourne. The course objectives for this training are:

  • Develop an understanding of the many faces of human trafficking
  • Explore the issue of forced labor, sex trafficking, and domestic minor sex trafficking
  • Discuss the scope of the problems involved in human trafficking including international and domestic cases
  • Identify the nature of victimization and discuss the indicators of human trafficking
  • Develop an understanding of the need for community involvement

Contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice for more information or to RSVP at; 407-246-4819.  Click here to download the flyer. 

Helpers Ministry: Sidewalk Counselor Training
The Office of Advocacy and Justice will hold a sidewalk counselor training on Wednesday, April 6 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Deltona.  This training is a support ministry of outreach to women and families who are considering abortion.  Please RSVP to or call 407-246-4819. 

Holy Saturday Morning Prayer and Rosary Procession with Bishop Noonan
On Holy Saturday, April 23, Bishop Noonan will lead us in Morning Prayer followed by a Rosary Procession to the nearby abortion clinic on Lucerne Terrace. Morning Prayer will be held at St. James Cathedral (215 N. Orange Ave., Orlando) beginning at 8 a.m. The rosary will be prayed in both English and Spanish. If you would like to volunteer to help during the event, please email

The Helper’s Approach maintains a loving, prayerful presence at the places where children are aborted.  Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John stood beneath the cross of Christ at Calvary, so too do we go to the present day Calvary at the abortion site. We pray for the protection of the innocent unborn, healing for the mothers and fathers, and for the conversion of staff and doctors. Please bring your rosary and your friends. 

Cool Harvest Educates Faithful on Food & Climate Connection
Cool Harvest is a new program by Interfaith Power & Light that builds on successful food programs to include an explicit connection for congregations that are also committed to addressing climate change.  

Worldwide, about one-fifth of global warming pollution comes from the food industry. That’s more than from all transportation combined. The Cool Harvest program will support congregations across the nation interested in educating their communities about this issue and in facilitating dialog and action. 

Using Cool Harvest, congregations will host screenings of the film Nourish, related discussions, “cool potlucks” with low “foodprint” ingredients, and will learn about Farm Bill advocacy. Some of the tips suggested in the program include consuming less meat, eating more locally sourced produce, choosing fish wisely, avoiding heavily processed and packaged foods, and reducing waste. Visit Cool Harvest to learn more. 

Survey for Catholics Confront Global Poverty
The Catholics Confront Global Poverty team would like to know what you believe have been effective ways we have engaged you and others in the Catholic community on global poverty issues in the past and how we can improve in the future. Please take a few minutes to respond to this brief survey.

Brazilian Bishops Address Climate Change & Overconsumption in Lenten Message
The Bishops of Brazil have used this season of Lent to lift up the connection between overconsumption, spiritual deprivation and environmental degradation including climate change.  In their Fraternity Campaign message, “The Brotherhood and Life on the Planet,” the bishops point out that in Brazil the beauty of flowers, the charm of serene nights and early mornings, the beautiful sunrise and sunset, the chirping of birds and the charm of our life may be being swallowed by a wave of destruction without limits, a lust for gain and pleasure without control, and a lack of awareness of sin, which, as Pius XII said, is the greatest evil of today.  The bishops go on to say that Lent is a time to call people to renew our baptismal life and by assuming changes in our personal, religious, family, community and society at large . . . in penitential spirit which leads us to live our baptism with a conscience, to live a life of faith in the hope of redemption.  Pope Benedict XVI responded with a statement supporting the bishops’ campaign.

The bishops’ original document is available in Portuguese here , and can be translated using Google Translator.  Read Pope Benedict XVI’s response.

Lenten Reflections on Caritas Internationalis Blog
In “Ideas for Lent by Catholic Coalition on Climate Change in USA,” Dan Misleh, Executive Director of the Coalition, begins a blog by suggesting ways in which some Catholics might feel called to use this Lenten season to grow closer to God by more fully caring for Creation and the poor in the face of what Pope Benedict XVI has called “disturbing climate change”  (Urbi et Orbi Message- Easter 2009).  Says Misleh, “What we buy, how we move, what we waste, how we conserve, how we spend our time: all of these things impact our planet and its people.  It strikes me that Lent asks many of these same questions. Lent calls us to sacrifice, to deny ourselves, to pray more fervently, to become more in touch with our Creator. Linking Lenten practices with a greater awareness of our finite planet and the needs of so many across the globe seem to me to be obvious connections. Read the entire blog here.

Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh Publishes Environmental/Climate Change Study Guide
The Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh has produced a study guide on the Catholic commitment to care for God’s creation, and explicitly addresses the issue of climate change. The study guide includes prayers and Scripture reflections about the environment, a sample Easter homily by Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, climate change impact case studies, ways to become an “eco-congregation,” and suggestions about how to reduce your carbon footprint in defense of both Creation and the poor.  A free copy of the study guide can be downloaded here.

Earth Hour at Canadian School: Instilling Eco-friendly Initiatives
This from the newspaper, The Toronto Star: St. Andrew Catholic Elementary School in Oakville is one of the most environmentally friendly in Ontario thanks to students, staff as well as parents and the community. The team effort has earned the school a long list of honors for the green initiatives including prestigious Ontario Gold Eco School certification – twice. St. Andrew has received many commendations for outstanding achievement from Halton Region, Halton Catholic District School Board and a host of environmental groups. Environmental education permeates work in the classroom including visual arts, music, creative writing and drama. “It’s a passion for us,” says Grade 2 teacher Debbie Guerin.  “And it’s important for the children to understand that the environment is a gift from God.” Among the initiatives are a weekly environmental promise recited by students, implementation of litter-less lunches, and the banning of bottled water.  Read more about what St. Andrew is doing- and discover ideas to share with your school and parish- here.

Advocacy Efforts:  

D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program: 

The full U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) the week of March 28th.  As many of you know, this program has allowed low-income students living in the District of Columbia to attend private, including Catholic, schools.  Funding for the program has been reduced during the last several years, as no new students have been allowed to participate. 

House Speaker John Boehner introduced H.R. 471 to reauthorize the program and increase the funding. On March 10, 2011, this bill was approved by a committee vote of 21-14.  Next week the full House will be asked to pass the legislation. 

Please urge your school communities to understand the importance of passing H.R. 471 so that they convey to their Member of the House of Representatives that he or she should  support H.R. 471.    Go to and scroll down to check out the Alert on D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.  More details and a sample advocacy message to your Representative are available here. 

Prayer Resources 

Feast of the Annunciation

“For centuries, March 25 has been celebrated by Catholics as the “Feast of the Annunciation.” Mary’s fiat – “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say” – brought our Savior into the world. As the first disciple of Christ, Mary shows us that we must listen to and do God’s will. Prayer and action therefore go hand in hand. As followers of Christ we must make time to talk to and listen to Him in prayer.” From the Annunciation Novena 

In honor of the Feast of the Annunciation download and pray the Annunciation Novena from the USCCB. 

Solemnity of the Annunciation – March 25

God our Father,
your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary. 

May we become more like Jesus Christ,
whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man. 

We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.