Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

 

The Many Faces of Human Trafficking
A Human Trafficking Awareness Training will take place April 16 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 advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org; 407-246-4819.  Click here to download the flyer. 

The Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum 
The Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum is coming to the diocese April 9 – 11 at Ascension parish in Melbourne. It will be open after all the weekend masses: April 9, 4:30 vigil; April 10, 7:30, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. On April 11, from 9 until 11a.m. the museum will visit Melbourne Central Catholic High School. 

The museum consists of a cargo truck outfitted as a replica of the trucks involved in a recent slavery operation and accompanied by displays on the history and evolution of slavery in Florida. Its central focus is on modern-day slavery – its roots, the reasons it persists, and its solutions. Brigitte Gynther, recipient of the 2010 Cardinal Bernardin Award for Young Leaders and director of the Interfaith Coalition, and 2-3  farmworkers/ victims of slavery will be available to give more information. For more information visit: http://www.ciw-online.org/museum/index.html

Good Friday Ecumenical Prayer Walk in Solidarity with the Poor
The Good Friday Prayer Walk will take place April 22nd, 9-11 am. Starting and ending at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Fee & Hickory in downtown Melbourne. It is a mile and a half walk, following a cross, to pray and sing at sites representing the plight of the poor in our communities and our world today.  More info at ascensionjustfaith@live.com. 

Holy Saturday Helper’s Morning Prayer & 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 8am. The rosary will be prayed in both English and Spanish. If you would like to volunteer to help during the event, please email eclayton@orlandodiocese.org

Stewards of the Earth: 

Catholic Climate Ambassadors Available Nationwide
Contact information for all 24 Catholic Climate Ambassadors is now available on the Coalition website.  The Ambassadors are ready to offer presentations on the moral dimensions of climate change consistent with Catholic teaching as outlined by our Holy Father in his World Day of Peace Message of 2010, If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation, and in the U.S. Catholic bishops’ statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good. Read about each Ambassador, find the Ambassador nearest you, and contact him/her about scheduling here.  

St. Francis Pledge Signed by Nearly 300! 
A northern California parish describes how they promoted and supported the St. Francis Pledge.  Nearly three hundred parishioners took the Pledge!  St. Elizabeth Church, Milpitas, California has recently completed the St. Francis Pledge with nearly 300 signatures. Instead of using pledge cards we stenciled an image of St. Francis on two cloth banners. Then we added the Canticle of the Sun and the five points of the pledge in three languages, English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Parishioners were asked to sign one of the two pledge banners after Mass. We hung the banners in the church vestibule so that they could be seen by all when leaving the church and serve as a reminder of the pledge. Click here to see pictures from the big day. 

Webinar — Up in the Sky and Down to Earth: A Catholic Conversation on Climate and Creation Care
On April 12, Catholic Climate Ambassador Kyle Kramer and Coalition director Dan Misleh will present a free webinar in partnership with the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, the National Association for Lay Ministry and Ave Maria Press.
Dan will discuss Catholic teaching as it relates to environmental stewardship and concern for the common good and the poor, especially in regard to the pressing problem of global climate change.  Kyle will share reflections from a decade of trying to put the principles of good stewardship and simplicity into practice on a small-scale organic farm, surrounded by family members, rural neighbors, and the nearby community of Benedictine monks. The hour-long webinar will begin at 3:00 pm EST (2:00 pm CST, 1:00 pm MST, 12:00 pm PST), and can attendees can sign up here

Earth Day and Climate Change: A Catholic Approach to Creation Care
St. Louis University: In preparation for Earth Day (April 22), Dan DiLeo, Project Manager for the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, will present on the Catholic approach to caring for God’s Creation and the poor, considering in particular the Church’s authentic teaching on climate change.  Those in the St. Louis area may want to check it out on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 from 7:00-8:00 PM in the Busch Student Center, Room 253 (A & D) at St. Louis University.  For more, see this promotional link from the Archdiocese of St. Louis. 

Catholics Advocate for State Legislation on Reducing Greenhouse Emissions
At the Washington State Catholic Conference Advocacy Day, Catholics urged state legislators to support a bill that would help reduce greenhouse gases causing climate change.  The bi-partisan bill will make Washington state the only state that will have no coal-generated electricity by 2025.  The WSCC action alert says:

Preserving the environment is a good health policy. Our need for energy often   compromises our decisions about the use of our natural resources and endangers our health. A prime example is the burning of coal for electricity, and the resultant harmful health effects.

In Washington State, there is only one coal-burning power plant, TransAlta, located in Lewis County. It is one of the largest employers in the county. The TransAlta coal plant is the largest single source of toxic mercury, air and climate pollution in the state. Children exposed to coal’s pollution have an increased risk of learning disabilities and asthma; everyone is at greater risk of cancer, heart and lung disease.  

The bill has the support of TransAlta, environmental organizations, the governor and a bi-partisan group of legislators. Learn more and get involved.   Information in Spanish here

Table Grace in a World Struggling with Climate Change
World Vision, a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization, has published a resource of meal-time prayers as a way to help Christians be mindful God’s gift of Creation: Thanking God with Integrity- Volume II: Table Grace in a World Struggling with Climate Change.  The prayer booklet points out that with climate change, we have taken the earth for granted. We assume it will always be there, and that it will always produce food to sustain us.  This leads to a lack of responsibility for how we steward the natural world, a disposition which has led to climate change and environmental degradation. But, the resource concludes, what better way to begin to accept responsibility than by recovering a spirit of gratitude. It is my hope that as we express gratitude for the love of God conveyed in creation, we will joyfully re-embrace our responsibility to care for that same creation. See the entire resource here.  

Advocacy Efforts:

‘Respect for Rights of Conscience Act”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has written to urge all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support a bipartisan bill protecting conscience rights in health insurance. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 (HR 1179) will help protect religious freedom and protect individual conscience rights. The full text of the letter may be read at: www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection/DiNardo-ltr-HR1179.pdf

House to Vote Soon on H.R. 3
It is anticipated that during the week of April 11 the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 3, will be considered on the House floor. The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA) has issued a revised Action Alert. Please see: nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=290.  Representatives are urged to support the bill and oppose any substitute or weakening amendments.

Note: A government “shut down” is possible if there is no agreement by April 8 on passing another Continuing Resolution or other measure to extend the government’s spending authority. Consideration of H.R. 3 would then be delayed.

H.R. 3 currently has 220 sponsors. For the most current list, see: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR003:@@@P. It is especially important that Representatives who have not yet cosponsored be contacted by their pro-life constituents.

Helpful background information on H.R. 3 can be found in these two sources:

1. A January 20 letter to Members of Congress from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urging Representatives to support and co-sponsor H.R. 3. See: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/1.hr3letter21.11.pdf

2. February 8 testimony on H.R. 3 by Richard Doerflinger, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, before the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee. See: usccb.org/prolife/HR3-testimony-2011-02-08.pdf