Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates



Living Will Forums

Do you have questions about Advance Directives or Living Wills?  Concerns about end-of-life care and Catholic teaching? Confused about designating a Health Care Surrogate?  These and other questions can be answered at a living will forum by a panel consisting of a Catholic physician, attorney and clergy. To schedule a Living Will Forum at your parish contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice at: 407-246-4819;


Scheduled Execution Prayer and Action Alert

The Florida Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Manuel Valle until September 1, 2011. Your parish is encouraged to continue to pray for Mr. Valle, his family, the victim’s family and friends, that they will continue to receive healing through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; for all the public officials involved in this scheduled execution; for Governor Scott, that he will discern God’s will and apply the teachings of our Catholic faith on the death penalty. Manuel is a committed Catholic who regularly receives the sacraments. Please refer to the petitions and bulletin insert below.  For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, or 407-246-4819.


Sample Bulletin Announcement


The U. S. Catholic Bishops have called all Catholics to participate in a campaign to achieve the abolishment of the death penalty, see:

Our Bishops have stated that, “At a time when the sanctity of life is threatened in many ways, taking life is not really a solution but may instead effectively undermine respect for life.”  This pending execution gives Florida Catholics the opportunity to be a part of the campaign in a very personal way.  Our hearts and lives must have special space for the victims and their loved ones as well.  But let it be known that “standing with families of victims does not compel us to support the use of the death penalty” (U.S. Bishops).  For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, 407-246-4819.


Sample Petitions for Liturgy

•For men and women who sit on death row awaiting the end of their life.

•For the victims of violence and hatred, that they may be freed from pain and fear.

•For the loved ones of those who have suffered death at the hands of another person, may their hearts experience the healing and reconciling power of the Spirit.

•For the families of those condemned to die, that the hope of the resurrection and the truth of the Gospel of life might strengthen them in their time of need.

•May the witness of the Church to the sacredness of all life, even of those who have done evil acts, serve to call our nation to a new awakening in responding to crime and determining punishment.


REGISTER TODAY for the Be Not Afraid Conference (BNA) Charlotte, NC on October 20th and 21st


Join service providers and interested others as Dr. John Bruchalski  (prolife speaker, OB and founder of the Tepeyac Center in Fairfax, Va) shares insights regarding perinatal hospice as a non-medical service, and Dr. Marcella Colbert (Director of the National Gabriel Project Office) provides information concerning the healing value of supportive community in times of crisis. 

Other speakers will offer sessions on prenatal diagnosis and disability advocacy, the importance of birth plan writing for parents carrying to term, memory-making for parents experiencing loss, and much more! Come and learn what efforts can be made in your community to encourage parents to carry to term following a prenatal diagnosis. 

REGISTER TODAY emailing:  or visit:


Stewards of the Earth

Pope Benedict’s Vacation Advice

Vatican spokesman, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, highlighted Pope Benedict’s suggestions for vacation as the Pontiff enjoys Castel Gandolfo.  His Holiness invites us to contemplate nature and the beauty of creation, which is a gift we must respect, protect and care for, in the name of God, humanity and future generations.


New Resources from Caritas Australia

Caritas Australia has published new resources as part of A Just Climate, an initiative that seeks to promote ecological sustainability among Catholics as a means to minimize the impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable communities. The resource is intended to help Catholics organize A Just Climate Event, engage in conversations with local politicians, and take personal actions to reduce ecological footprints. Resources include:

Sweet Water- A short film which explores the impacts of climate change on communities living in the coastal region of Bangladesh.

Action Guide to organizing A Just Climate Event around Sweet Water

Promotional Poster

Liturgy and prayer suggestions 

With these resources, you can help deliver the core message of both A Just Climate and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change: We want a just climate future for the world’s poor.  Learn more here.


Archdiocese of Cincinnati Fulfilling the St. Francis Pledge

As part of its commitment to implement and promote the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor, the Climate Change Task Force of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Catholic Social Action Office shares the following items:

-The Task Force organized a tour of the solar canopy that extends over the Cincinnati Zoo’s expansive parking lot.  The 1.56 megawatt generator is largest publicly accessible, urban solar array.

-St. Monica-St. George parish recently sponsored a Green Living Program that helps individuals lower their environmental impact by reading and following the suggestions in David Gershon’s book Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds.

-St. Mary Church has joined the Oxford Interfaith Climate Change Working Group which is putting together a brochure titled Meeting the Energy Challenge: Oxford Area Innovations Reduce Carbon Footprint.

Learn more about how the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is fulfilling the St. Francis Pledge and get ideas for how your own diocese, parish or school can take and live the Pledge.


Climate Change Survey from NCRLC

The National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) has developed a short survey on energy issues and climate change in order to inform and guide NCRLC’s work in educating and developing leaders in rural communities. This survey examines the level of Catholic awareness of the Church’s involvement in economic and environmental justice issues.

In appreciation for your responses to this 15 minute survey, NCRLC will send you its new Food Security & Economic Justice Study Guide (a $6.00 value) for each completed survey. You must complete the survey in its entirety to receive the study guide.  To take the survey here.


Mercy Ridge Retirement Community Receives LEED Silver Certification

Mercy Ridge Retirement Community, a partnership venture between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and Mercy Health Services, has earned the distinction of becoming the only existing and first retirement community in the USA to get LEED Silver certification.  Located over a 32 acre campus outside of Baltimore, the Community’s pursuit of LEED certification is an intentional effort to steward the gifts of Creation which God has invited us to “cultivate and care for” (Gn 2:15).  Read the story about Mercy Ridge Retirement Community and LEED certification.


Program Teaches Children About Climate Change

Church and state-run schools in the Indonesian Diocese of Larantuka, are addressing climate change with an initiative entitled Building Resilience. Since the 2009 launch, more than 2,000 children have helped to plant thousands of mahogany and jackfruit trees, as well as bamboo and many other plants, all with the goal of greening the eastern tip of Flores Island and reducing the impact of climate change.  The program also shows students videos on environmental issues and takes the children on awareness-raising field trips.

Building Resilience project manager Anselmus Atasoge says of the program, After watching the videos and going on the field trip, the children are asked to share what they have heard and seen. It is hoped that they carry home the message to their parents.

Markus Malaka Witi, a teacher at Lewatobi Catholic Elementary School, says motivating children to plant trees is a great strategy for addressing climate change and environmental harm:  The children should know about the conditions of our environment and what causes its degradation. Understanding what endangers nature will help them develop their love for it.  Learn more here.


Life Issues Forum
This issue of Life Issues Forum can be found in English, with Spanish soon becoming available. Back issues of Life Issues Forum can be found at


Aging Resources


Life Expectancy Across the U.S.: This interactive map from The Washington Post breaks down life expectancy by geographical regions, race, and sex. American women live an average of 2.5 years longer than men. Life expectancies vary across the country and are noticeably lower in the South and Southeast (more than a decade difference in some cases).


Census 2010 – State and national aging population statistics are now available at


Florida Silver Alert – Silver Alert is a plan to help law enforcement officers rescue persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, or a related disorder, who are driving a car and become lost. Visit for info.


Florida Senior Safety Resource Center  – (FSSRC) has a database for seniors, or persons with disabilities needing affordable alternative transportation options within their local communities. For info, visit


Student Design Contest – The Aging Means Business Student Design Contest invites undergraduate and graduate students to propose an original product for adults age 50+.  For info, visit