Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates


Keep the Flame Alive: Living the Spirit of Mission at Home
Have you always wanted to go on a mission trip?  Have you been on a mission trip and find yourself wanting to get back to that atmosphere of simple living and giving?   Have you experienced the great joy and solidarity of helping your brothers and sisters overseas and wanted to keep that feeling alive in your life, to share it with others? Come share your story and join us for an afternoon of exploring how to keep your desire for social justice in your daily life.  Together we will learn that a mission trip can be as close as your home address as we discuss what mission truly means in our Catholic Social teaching and the simple things we can do every day to make our hopes a reality.  Please join the Office of Advocacy and Justice, Catholic Charities of Central Florida, and the Office of Prison Ministry on Saturday March 26th at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Winter Park from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for this informational and life changing workshop.  (Continental Breakfast provided, please bring an international dish for a luncheon potluck). To RSVP contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice: 407-246-4819;

The Many Faces of Human Trafficking
A Human Trafficking Awareness Training will take place April 16, 2011 from 9am – 1pm 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 Mary Kay Kantz for more information or to RSVP:; 321-253-4504 or the Office of Advocacy and Justice at

Immigration Conference
USCCB and the Catholic University of America are cosponsoring the event, “The Catholic Church and Immigration: Pastoral, Policy and Social Perspectives,” on March 21, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Caldwell Hall. Since our nation’s founding, immigration and religion have served as two of the most powerful factors in the shaping of American identity. This conference will examine these connections and highlight the important role that the Church has played in the debate over immigration. There is no cost to attend and breakfast and lunch will be served.  View the agenda and register here. 

Care for God’s Creation
Climate Change’s Potential Impact on Health
Experts from leading U.S. medical groups gathered Thursday [February 24] to warn of impending dangers to human health if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, speeding climate change.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association said, “It concerns us that climate change poses enormous health risks. Climate change can lead to extreme weather events, putting the health of elderly, sick and vulnerable populations at greater risk. It can lead to increased air pollution, which is linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses. It can affect the drinking water supply and changes even in vector-borne diseases.”

Dr. Cecil Wilson, MD, president, American Medical Association stated, “Climate instability threatens our health and life-supporting systems and the risk to our health and well-being will continue to mount unless we all do our part to help stabilize our climate and protect the nation’s health.” 

Read a summary of the call here.  Read the entire transcript of the call here.
See what the Catholic Health Association of the United States, a member of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, has been doing to address the issue of climate change. 

USCCB/Catholic Coalition on Climate Change Policy Update
On Tuesday, March 1, the USCCB and Catholic Coalition on Climate Change hosted a policy briefing for Coalition members and supporters on the political landscape for addressing climate change and ongoing efforts to educate and empower the Catholic community about this global challenge.  Participants were briefed on the current outlook for climate change and environmental policy by Nigel Purvis, founder and president of Climate Advisers who has over a decade of experience in climate policy and has served under two successive Secretaries of State as a senior U.S. climate change negotiator.  Kathryn Ramírez, an International Development Fellow and Geographic Information Systems Specialist with Catholic Relief Services offered real-world problems and effective solutions for helping people in the poorest countries in the world adapt to and mitigate climate change. 

Lenten Calendar to Care for God’s Creation
The Environmental Outreach Committee in the Department for Charity and Justice, Archdiocese of Washington, has provided a Lenten calendar which they say offers spiritual reflections and sacrificial actions everyone can consider during Lent as a way to help you grow in your commitment to be a wise steward of God’s Creation now and for future generations. We invite you to use this Lenten calendar creatively in your preparations for Easter.  Download the Lenten Calendar here.

Lenten Resources: Do something for the climate, too?
This Lent reflect on our patterns of consumption and materialism that keep us from God and contribute to the impacts already being felt by people in the poorest countries around the world. Catholic News Service captured some of these ideas here

Advocacy Efforts:
Bishops Urge Illinois Governor to Sign Bill Ending Death Penalty

Signing a bill to end the use of the death penalty would “begin building a culture of life in our country,” said the bishop who oversees the domestic justice efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter to the governor of Illinois.

In his March 3 letter, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, joined the bishops of Illinois in urging Governor Pat Quinn to sign SB 3539, a bill that would end the use of the death penalty in Illinois and provide funds for training for law enforcement and services for families of murder victims.

“I hope and pray that you will take this essential step by signing SB 3539 and further Illinois’ leadership role in turning away from the death penalty with all its moral problems and issues of fairness and justice,” wrote Bishop Blaire.

Read the full press release here:


Questions to Examine Conscience in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching This examination can be used as a supplement to the traditional examination of conscience during Penance services or the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

USCCB Lent Calendar and Reflections
The USCCB Lent calendar features justice-related items most days during Lent. 

Way of the Cross Booklet
This booklet traces Jesus’ final steps in Scripture and sets them against the lives of Catholic heroes past and present whose actions give testimony to the power of faith, including St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Thomas More, Jean Donovan, Dorothy Day, St. Teresa of Avila, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, Oscar Romero, and others. Order from USCCB Publishing.