Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates


Pregnancy Center Luncheon: Elements of Effective Counseling

Join us on September 7, 2011 for our 2nd Pregnancy Center Luncheon from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. at the Diocese of Orlando Chancery in downtown Orlando. Our topic will be “Elements of Effective Counseling” and will include:

  • Client Centered Approach
  • Asking Open Ended Questions
  • Ways to be an Active Listener
  • Responding Non?Judgmentally
  • Checklist for Effective Communication
  • Working with Resistant or Angry Clients

Please RSVP to or call 407-246-4819 to receive directions and a parking pass.


Good News from Café Reconcile

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) was established in 1969 by the U. S. Catholic Bishops as a way to help carry out the mission of Jesus Christ “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free” (Luke 4:18). One way it does this is by supporting community organizations working to address the causes of poverty in their communities. 

Founded in 2000 by local priest, Rev. Harry Thompson, S.J., Café Reconcile is a restaurant and catering business located in Central City, a severely distressed neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Café Reconcile provides life skills development and culinary training for at-risk youths ages 16 to 22. With CCHD support, Café Reconcile has trained more than 500 youths and placed them in living wage jobs in the hospitality and food service industry. Café Reconcile and CCHD are restoring hope, rebuilding lives, and transforming communities. On August 16th at 10:00 p.m. EST, Café Reconcile will feature its top-selling side dish — baked macaroni and cheese — on the Cooking Channel. Learn more about Café Reconcile.


Stewards of the Earth

Sunseed Eco-Education Ministries of the School Sisters of Notre Dame 

“SUNSEED Eco-Education Ministries are committed to transformative change through holistic education empowering humans to live on Earth in a mutually enhancing way.” This is the simple mission statement for the SUNSEED program of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND).  The education program is rooted in the land, and encourages all to recognize that all has come from God, that all is sacred, that all is one. SUNSEED offers opportunities for and with people of all ages, religions and backgrounds to visit SSND campuses, benefit from their program offerings, workshops, retreats, days of reflection, and prayer experiences.  Learn more about this ministry here.


Going Green: How to Find America’s Most Environmentally Responsible Hospitals 

Health Care Communication News recently featured an article on how to find the most environmentally sustainable health care facilities and highlighted the best of the best.  Their highest honors went to St. Francis Hospital-Eastside and St. Francis Hospital-Downtown, in Greenville, SC.  Both hospitals are part of the Bon Secours St. Francis Health System and members of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, a Coalition partner. 

The article observes that these two hospitals received the highest honors from Practice Greenhealth in 2011 [t]hrough a strategy focused on four fronts: reduce, recycle, replenish and reuse. For example, St. Francis documented energy savings of $784,000 over the past two years and reduced water use by 8.3 million gallons. Other examples include preventing more than 2.3 tons of waste in single-use device processing, for a savings of $134,000, and using a “worm garden” to convert food waste into compost.  

Read more about their efforts here, and watch the music video they produced in support of their sustainability efforts: 

To learn more about how The Catholic Health Association of the United States taking environmental sustainability work seriously, click here.


Environmental Club at St. Paul‘s Honored

The Environmental Club at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Spartanburg, SC has been awarded the Outstanding School Environmental Club Award.  Founded in 2006, the Club meets twice per month and is open to fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at St. Paul’s.  

Throughout the year, Club members work with faculty, parents and parish members to reduce waste, educate themselves through guest speakers and raise funds through aluminum can collection.  Students in the Club also ADVOCATE among their peers and encourage them to bring refillable water bottles to school. 

Last year, the Club instituted a Waste Free Lunch campaign in which classes competed to minimize the amount of waste generated a lunch and hosted an essay-writing contest on environmental sustainability.  The Environmental Club also spent time researching recyclable container options to replace Styrofoam, hosting an eco-scavenger hunt, and tending a garden.   

Learn more about the work of the Environmental Club at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School – and get ideas for your own school – here

You can also find resources from the Coalition to use at your school here

Environmental Progress in Developing Nations?

In a very thoughtful article for Catholic Sentinel, official publication of the Archdiocese of Portland, OR, Liz Quirin discusses the challenges of fostering environmental sustainability in developing countries where the immediate challenges of meeting basic needs can leave little time for future considerations about the environment. 

Despite these challenges, she observes that many governments, NGOs and parishes are working to create ecological policies and educate communities about the need to protect the environment.  Ms. Quirin also offers suggestions about how people in wealthy countries can contribute to a stronger ethic of environmental responsibility worldwide: 

Instead of condemning people for their unfriendly environmental practices, we as a church and as people living in a developed nation need to make every effort to sensitize and educate about “better practices,” ways of preserving and protecting our fragile environment as those in developing nations go about the business of trying to stay alive in sometimes hostile and difficult situations. 

We need to find ways to integrate environmental strategies into their present realities instead of trying to change their lives and make them more like ours. It shouldn’t be “my way or the highway,” but what we can do together to keep ourselves and our planet safe and viable for future generations. 

Read the entire piece here


Advocacy Efforts 

Conscience Rights 

On July 19, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) submitted its recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the mandated “preventive services” for women under the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). 

The report’s mandated services include all FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these among all “women of reproductive capacity.” If HHS accepts these recommendations, insurance plans will be required to cover these controversial practices. The deeply-held moral and religious convictions of many would be violated. 

A defect in PPACA is that it lacks a conscience clause to prevent the Act from being used to suppress the rights of those who may have moral or religious objections to specific procedures. 

It was to correct these problems that Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Dan Boren (D-OK) introduced the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179), a measure to ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” 

So far 24 other Representatives have co-sponsored this measure. At this time it is very important that more Representatives add their names to this bill. Please click on the link below to send an e-mail to your Representative. The message: “Please co-sponsor H.R. 1179, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. This measure ensures that the rights of conscience of all participants in our nation’s health care system. 


Click the link below to log in and send your message: