Mark your calendars! On June 11, 2011 from 9am – 12:30pm the Office of Advocacy and Justice will sponsor an Advocacy Day which will discuss how to:
1. Become better informed on how public policy issues impact the poor & vulnerable, both locally & globally
2. Recognize advocacy avenues to engage parishioners
3. Be able to include advocacy in ministry, including how to communicate its importance
4. Recognize some key tools, such as the importance of team building and base building
Representatives from the Diocese of Orlando, Florida Catholic Conference, and Catholic Relief Services National Staff will teach us how to live our calling to be Faithful Citizens. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 407-246-4819
Holy Saturday Helper’s 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 site 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 email@example.com.
Climate Ambassador Article
The Catholic Courier, official newspaper of the Diocese of Rochester, NY, recently published a story about Catholic Climate Ambassador Gerry Gacioch, M.D. Gacioch is chief of cardiology at Rochester General Hospital and also is a committed environmentalist who has branded himself a “green doc.” Gacioch has a new “green” title to add to his resume. In December he was one of 25 people nationwide trained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Coalition on Climate Change as a Catholic Climate Ambassador. He said his goal is to present climate-change information from the USCCB and Pope Benedict XVI to groups in and out of the diocese. “This is your leadership telling you what they think you ought to know about climate change based on our tradition and our teachings,” Gacioch said. Read more here. To schedule Dr. Gacioch or another Climate Ambassador to speak at your school, parish, or diocese, visit Climate Ambassador webpage.
Catholic Earth Day Committee in Georgia Wins Trailblazer Award
From the Georgia Interfaith Power & Light: The Trailblazer Award is given to the ministry that has shown determination and creativity in creating something new and embracing Creation care in revelatory ways. The Trailblazer Award at the Fifth Annual GIPPY’s was given to the Catholic Earth Day Committee, which is sponsored by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Atlanta, St. Thomas Apostle Catholic Church in Smyrna, and Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center in Atlanta, GA.
The Catholic Earth Day Committee is a group of volunteers dedicated to educating, engaging and promoting issues of Environmental Justice throughout the Atlanta Archdiocese. They came together starting in 2009 with a shared interest in environmental issues and a belief that there was a need in the Archdiocese for a Catholic presence on environmental issues.
University of Notre Dame’s “No Impact Week”
Notre Dame’s ‘No-Impact Week’ is just the latest step, in a push towards sustainability on campus. “Students have been excited about sustainability on campus for many years. The reason that we have an Office of Sustainability on campus is because the students at Notre Dame asked for it,” said Rachel Novick, who works in the Office of Sustainability at Notre Dame. Through ‘No-waste’ Wednesdays and ‘No-Impact Week”, N-D has been able to fight a winning battle. Read more here.
In addition, the University has announced that two interdisciplinary minors, in Sustainability and in Energy Studies, will be offered to all undergraduate students beginning in the fall of 2011. See more here.
Catholic Health Care Recognized for Environmental Sustainability
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System was the only health system in the country to earn the prestigious 2011 Environmental Leadership Circle Award from Practice GreenHealth – a national membership organization for healthcare facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations.
Award winners are chosen by the Practice Greenhealth award review team and must meet stringent criteria including mercury-free purchasing, recycling of at least 25 percent of their total waste stream, implementing recycling and pollution prevention programs and launching innovative employee and community programs to foster local sustainability. Read more here.
Free Energy Audits for Parishes
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are conducting a pilot program to collect information about energy use in existing worship facilities in the Southeastern region of the country. This pilot will help identify current energy usage patterns and measures that might reduce energy use. Information from this will be used to develop a workbook to help with improving energy efficiency in worship facilities. Findings from this research will also be made available through the ENERGY STAR® for Congregations program.
These audits may save a parish as much as $5,000: the typical price of an energy audit for a church facility. Deadline to enroll in the program is April 30. A description of the program including how to apply can be found here. For questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, w) 303-275-4568
Advocating for Child Sex Trafficking Legislation Conference Call 4/18 at 2pm EST
Conference line: 218-548-4972; passcode 153059#
Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S.596, the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011, on March 16, 2011. View the bill text here: http://wwwgovtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-596. Our Senate champions are ready to fight to secure critical funds for domestic minor victims of sex trafficking. Join us for a call on this legislation and how we can work to pass it into law this year. We will discuss:
• S.596 – An overview of the bill and how it is part of the solution
• Questions regarding the legislation
• How to support S.596
• An overview of the materials provided
• Your needs and concerns
You can access four documents to help you get started by clicking the links:
1. a detailed summary of S.596;
2. a one page brief of S.596;
3. a document with tips on engaging the media to advocate for the bill; and
4. a resource document for the Christian faith community with information and ways to take action.
Fiscal Year 2011 Agreement
On April 14, Congress passed a budget agreement. The deal proposes a $17.8 billion in cut to mandatory programs and a $20 billion reduction to domestic discretionary programs with a $1.1 billion across-the-board cut in discretionary programs. While details of the cuts to programs have yet to be released, the Congressional Quarterly reports that White House Communication Director said the cuts included $13 billion from the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments, $8 billion from the foreign affairs programs and $30 million from a job training program for student loan processors. However, current level funding for Head Start and Pell grants are maintained.
Stopgap Bill includes $2 billion in Cuts
On April 9, President Obama signed into law a weeklong continuing resolution to keep the government operational until April 15th. While the stopgap spending measure was passed to allow Congress to work out the details of the compromise for FY2011 spending, the bill included more than $2 billion in cuts to the following programs:
• Housing and Urban Development Fund including the Community Development Blockgrant ($220 million)
• Eliminates funding for the Economic Development Initiative, Neighborhood Initiative grants, and the Universities Community fund
• High speed and intercity passenger rail ($1.5 billion)
• Transit new starts ($280 million)
• Federal Aviation Administration Facilities and Equipment account ($8.7 million)
• Transportation Planning, Research and Development account ($6.3 million)
• FAA Research, Engineering and Development account ($3.5 million); and
• Federal Railroad Administration Research and Development account ($2.5 million)
Jobs Growth in March
On April 1 the Department of Labor reported that in March 216,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy–slightly more than anticipated by economists. The number of unemployment claims is steadily declining, down from the mid 400,000s to 388,000. However, the number of long-term unemployed remains woefully high at more than six million.
According to reports, 1,700 jobs in manufacturing, 37,000 in health care, 78,000 in professional and business services were added to the economy. In addition, jobs in local governments have been on a decline down another 15,000 in March.
Prayer for Good Stewardship
God who creates and cares for all, move us to be good stewards of the resources with which you have blessed us. May we be intentional in our use of our talents, time, wealth, and the Earth’s resources, and may we use them to glorify you. Amen.