Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates



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.


Knights of Columbus Holy Family Council 9236 Annual Pro-Life Seminar

On Saturday, September 10 the Knights of Columbus Holy Family Council will host a pro-life seminar at St. Nicholas Catholic Church (5153 Sand Lake Rd., Orlando). The guest speaker will be Fr. Peter West from the Priests for Life along with Loretta Fleming from the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment and Deborah Shearer with the Office of Advocacy and Justice. Conference fee is $20 and includes lunch. Deadline to register is September 5. To sign up; email: or call 407-656-8617.


Guide to Government Services for Faith-Based Organizations

The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, following their gathering last week in Iowa, have launched a helpful “Toolkit” guide for faith-based organizations. 

This guide shows opportunities to form partnerships with Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships across government, as well as helpful information on how to apply for federal grants and access capacity building resources. Faith-based groups can use this Toolkit guide to review the kinds of partnerships that can be formed in the areas that are most important to local congregations and organizations. 

The Toolkit is found on the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships website. (You will see the “download” link of this pdf file shown in the right-hand column.) 

For a news report on the gathering last week in Iowa, visit The Witness diocesan newspaper of the Archdiocese of Dubuque and click on

“Non-profit groups encouraged to partner with  Faith-based Office 8/21/11.”


Work of Human Hands Fair Trade Products

Discover the latest Fair Trade handcrafts and foods from Work of Human Hands ONLINE NOW! More than 80 new items are available, with more arriving every day. Every purchase you make brings vital income to struggling artisans and farmers, and contributes to the CRS Fair Trade Fund. Learn more at


More NEW RESOURCES:  Sessions for Youth on Climate Change

This week, postcards began arriving at parish and school offices as well as Catholic campus and youth ministers throughout the country.  Accompanying the postcard are several new resources to help parishes, schools, youth groups and others celebrate the Feast of St. Francis and beyond.  The newest of these is a 6 session program Friending Planet Earth on climate change and Catholic social teaching (see all 6 sessions here).  Visit our website where you’ll see most of these new resources posted and ready to use. Please do what you can to share these resources with friends, family, parishioners and students!


Environmental Stewardship at World Youth Day

World Youth Day 2011 recently concluded in Madrid, Spain, where more than a million young Catholics gathered for a week of prayer, worship, and celebration of the Catholic faith.  En route to Madrid, Pope Benedict XVI took questions from reporters and responded to a question about the global economic crisis by saying: The economy is not measured by maximum profit but by the good it brings everyone,” so it must create jobs — especially for the young — and must respect the environment to ensure a future for all humanity. Read more here

Once in Madrid, the Holy Father attended what organizers billed as “A WYD in Symphony with the Environment.”  To be able to hand over the land, to future generations, in good condition, is a cause of concern for every Christian, and therefore it is also a worry for WYD, explains Eva Latonda, the person responsible for “100% Natural.” Latonda and other “100% Natural” coordinators say that the goals of this 2011 WYD sustainability initiative were to recycle all the waste generated by WYD and make the gathering a “Zero Emissions” event. Read more about “100% Natural” and the sustainability efforts at WYD 2011.


Catholic Climate Ambassador/NASA Scientist in San Jose

In an article for the Valley Catholic Online, official publication of the Diocese of San Jose, Catholic Climate Ambassador and NASA scientist Anthony W. Strawa, Ph.D., offers both scientific and theological considerations on global climate change and its impacts. 

From the standpoint of science, Dr. Strawa says that thousands of scientists who study Earth’s climate, its changes and impacts on humanity . . . are unanimous in the assertion that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal…”; and that “there is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.” (IPCC). 

From a theological perspective, Dr. Strawa says that the U.S. Catholic Bishops have defined global climate change as being about protecting “the human environment” and “the natural environment.” In other words, the effects of climate change harm both the environment as well as human life and dignity- especially the poor who contribute least to the problem.  Strawa notes that while the Franciscan theologian Bonaventure describes Creation as the limitless and dynamic love between Father and Son through Holy Spirit, over the past 50 years it has become increasingly obvious that we have not been caring for the sacramental universe as we should. Read the entire article here.


Catholics Can Turn to Church Teaching as They Recycle

Parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha have begun to recognize that they can tie environmental efforts directly to their faith:

Many Catholic schools in the archdiocese – urban and rural – involve students and staff in recycling, and teachers talk about the importance of stewardship. The children are very aware that stewardship includes taking care of our planet and each other says Peggy Grennan, principal at St. Margaret Mary School in Omaha.

At Creighton Preparatory School, the Green Jays club supports and initiates recycling efforts at the high school and has started a community garden to emphasizing environmental awareness and highlight church teaching. Club members wear T-shirts with “Gang Green” on the front and Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 World Day of Peace Message, “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation,” on the back.

Jeff Palzer, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Omaha, says the church could provide a service by talking more about environmental and conservation issues: Then we don’t view it as a ‘conservative thing’ or a ‘liberal thing’ but as stewards taking care of time and talent and treasurer. Read the entire article here.


Congregations go for `creation care,’ one rain barrel at a time

More and more congregations across the country are adding rain barrels as part of their Christian vocation to “cultivate and care for” God’s good gift of Creation.  The barrels, which reduce both municipal water consumption and erosion by collecting rain water for local irrigation, typically have more than one religious dimension:

Water plays a significant role in our biblical and sacramental life says Jamal Kadri of Holy Name Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.  Rain barrels are also a recognition that God has made us stewards of creation and its limited supplies says Cathy Colton, First Presbyterian parishioner in Washington D.C.  In addition to ecological stewardship, rain barrels can help parishes exercise financial stewardship by lowering a community’s water bill.  Read more in this Christian Century article.