Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates




CCHD Grant Applications Now Available

Pre-applications are now available at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) website CCHD Grants. The CCHD offers grants to community groups which focus on community organizing or economic development projects that alleviate poverty. NCRLC is providing free consulting services to rural leaders by reviewing project ideas, clarifying eligibility, and supporting them through the application process. You can start the process by visiting our website.


CCHD Youth Arts Contest Honorable Mention

For the second year in a row students from the Diocese of Orlando have been nationally recognized for their entries in the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Youth Arts Contest. This year, students from St. Margaret Mary received an Honorable Mention for their entry, “Community Working Together, Growing Together – Adult Education”. Congratulations! To learn more about the CCHD Youth Arts Contest and how your class can participate, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice: 407-246-4819;  


Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession

The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church (861 Maitland Ave., Altamonte Springs) on Saturday, October 1, 2011 beginning with Mass at 8:00 a,m. Following Mass we will process to the nearby abortion clinic on Maitland Avenue while prayer the rosary. Please join us on this Respect Life weekend in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819;


Statewide Respect Life Conference, October 14-15

The 25th annual Florida Statewide Respect Life Conference, “With God All Things Are Possible” will be held October 14-15 in Sarasota Florida. They Keynote Speaker will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City. Other guest speakers include:

– Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood Director, Bryan, TX, Author of unPLANNED

– Dale Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain to Florida’s Death Row

– Sheila Hopkins, Florida Catholic Conference, Associate Director for Social Concerns/Respect Life

The conference will be held at Bishop Nevins Academy/St. Martha School, Sarasota, FL. The registration fee: $75 per person, $65 for students and $140 for married couples. Click here for hotel options with reasonable rates. The conference is sponsored by the Florida Catholic Conference and hosted by the Diocese of Venice. Contact (941) 441-1101 or for more information. Click here to Register Online.


Adoption: A Triad of Love- Catholic Charities of Central Florida Third Annual Fundraising Dinner

Has your life been touched by adoption? Celebrate with Catholic Charities of Central Florida Adoption Program’s Third Annual Fundraising Dinner on October 28, 2011 from 5:30pm – 9:00pm at the Eaglebrooke Country Club in Lakeland. The dinner will include a silent auction, entertainment, and testimonials to support the work of Catholic Charities. For more information call 863-686-7153 x 3015 or visit their website: Click on events and then Triad of Love. If you can’t attend, consider making a donation. Donations can be sent to: Catholic Charities of Central Fl; Attn: Leesa Elliott; 1801 E. Memorial Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33801


National Catholic Partnership on Disability: “Threats to the Lives of People with Disability, Part II: Physician-Assisted Suicide.” 

This NCPD webinar provides tools for ministry in parishes and dioceses on physician-assisted suicide with a legislative update, a theological perspective and personal experience including:

  • Examination of legislative and medical issues
  • Ideas for making an impact
  • To Live Each Day with Dignity and other Catholic Church teaching
  • Personal perspective
  • Live Q & A
  • Real-time captioning
  • Recommended for those in the following ministries and professions: Parish and Diocesan Ministries, Pro-life Ministry, Mental Health, Seminary and Medical Studies, Health Care, Family Life, Disability Ministry, Social Concerns, Chaplaincy, and State Catholic Conferences.

To participate in the webinar, go to the NCPD homepage at, where you can click the link to register for the webinar.  Because we are co-sponsors, you can participate for free (simply choose “I am a constituent of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities”).  Once you register, you will receive an email with all the instructions for logging in. View the flier for more information and presenters.


Cool Congregation Contest for Energy Efficient Projects

The Cool Congregations Challenge is a fall contest with prizes that recognize congregations that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models. All faiths are welcome to participate. Projects of any size completed in the last year from October 20, 2010, through October 20, 2011, qualify. Top cash prizes of $1,000 plus additional prizes will go to winning contestants in four categories: energy efficiency, renewable energy, grounds and water conservation, and helping congregants lower household energy use.   Cool Congregations Challenge is sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light.


Who Will Grow Food for Future Generations?

A new generation of farmers and ranchers are essential to create a sustainable U.S. farm and food system, but there are tremendous obstacles for new farmers and ranchers to enter the field. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition will join along with members of Congress and other farm groups to introduce a new Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act. This is an extraordinary opportunity to break down barriers to entry and give real support to aspiring farmers across this nation. Watch this new NSAC video to learn more and get involved.



Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration

As Catholic colleges and universities across the country begin a new school year, eight national Catholic organizations have published and are promoting an exciting new resource, Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration.  This new resource will help schools strengthen ongoing commitments to live out Catholic mission and “cultivate and care for” (Genesis 2:15) God’s good gift of Creation through mission-based sustainability.

The Toolkit is being co-sponsored by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, the Lasallian Association of College and University Presidents, Catholic Relief Services College, the Catholic Campus Ministry Association and the National Catholic Student Coalition.  

These organizations hope that Catholic colleges and universities will use the Toolkit to become a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner similar to St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

View the Toolkit Press Release here. View the Toolkit here.


Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis

The Feast of St. Francis is only one month away! As a reminder, resources are ready for use as you work with others in your community (parish, school, office) to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis by promoting the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.  We recently posted: The Parish and School Planning Guide to Take the St. Francis Pledge offers detailed suggestions for ensuring that the entire parish or school is involved in taking the St. Francis Pledge.

Friending Planet Earth: Helping Youth Understand Solidarity & Sustainability in Light of Climate Change: six lesson plans on climate change for Catholic youth in school and parish settings. The sessions are grounded in Scripture and Catholic social teaching, and use multi-media, prayer, hands-on activities, simulations, games, quizzes, art and music.


Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Helps Schools Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis

To help Catholic schools celebrate the Feast of St. Francis on October 4, Caritas Aotearoa, New Zealand has provided online resources to help teachers and students remember our connection with the Earth and all that it sustains.

The idea was sparked by Nicky Chapman who is also encouraging New Zealanders to take the St Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.

We want people to connect with God’s creation, and from there be better placed – grounded – to make a fuller commitment to better care for the Earth and all that it provides – for ourselves and future generations,’ says Caritas Education Coordinator Catherine Gibbs. ‘We seek to encourage a sense of awe and deep reflection. Read more, and find out about Feast of St. Francis resources from Caritas Aotearoa, New Zealand here.


Survey on Climate Change Attitudes: Last Call!

Over the past month, you have been encouraged to take a few minutes to complete a survey being conducted by a Duke University PhD candidate for the benefit of the National Religious Partnership on the Environment (NRPE), the Coalition’s primary financial sponsor. The survey is designed to engage attitudes about the environment and climate change by people of faith.  The survey will end next week so we urge you to please take some time (about 15 minutes) to help us out and take the survey here if you’ve not already done so. The data collected will be enormously helpful to each of the four members of NRPE who seek to communicate more effectively the imperative to care for both creation and those most vulnerable to environmental impacts.


Catholic Values Lead to Bottled Water Ban

This fall, the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota is joining a national movement to ban bottled water from campus cafeterias and admissions offices.  St. Ben’s recently became the first school in the state — and the ninth in the nation — to ban the sale and purchase of plain bottled water on campus. For the College of St. Benedict, the decision was based as much on Catholic Benedictine values as environmental concerns.  Most people jump right to the environment said Judy Purman, director of sustainability. More importantly, though, I think it’s the view that access to water is a basic human right. The institution doesn’t feel it’s right to profit from the sale of something that’s a basic human right.

In order to encourage students to use refillable water bottles instead, the College of St. Benedict has installed 31 “hydration stations” on its St. Joseph campus, with at least one in each building. Read more about this initiative here.  To learn more about the sustainability work at the College of St. Benedict, read more here.


The Challenge of Hydrofracking: Webinar Sept. 21

The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) invites you to participate in a webinar on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Prof. Robert Jackson, PhD of Duke University will explain the distinct challenges of this form of extraction. He will present the findings of research on the impact of hydrofracking on drinking water, share policy recommendations, and place hydrofracking in the broader energy context. FAN Action Commission Sr. Caryn Crook, OSF will apply St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Creatures” to hydrofracking.

The webinar will be Wed., Sept. 21, 3-4pm EDT.  Register online here.

If you wish, you can consult Duke University’s Center for Global Change website for resources related to this presentation. You can also read a FAN blog post from intern Ben Feuerherd on hydro-fracking.


St. John the Baptist, NJ Fulfilling the St. Francis Pledge to LEARN

Edna Lord, a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Parish in Hillsdale, New Jersey, recently reflected on her parish’s experience with the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor:

Last September our parish took the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.  A few months later we hosted a forum entitled “Care for God’s Creation.” As part of fulfilling the LEARN part of the Pledge, we invited the Chair of the town’s Green Team to share its activities and ways to make specific environmental changes in our lives.

As a person who has always recycled, I was surprised to learn how much more the town will accept. I learned that commingled recyclables include a lot more than cans and bottles and soon found myself washing out containers that previously had been put in the garbage.  Now I save one garbage can outside for the commingled, recycled items and am amazed at how it fills up – which also shows how much is packaged in plastic.

The lesson I learned? Take advantage of opportunities offered to learn more about Caring for God’s Creation.  Every person doing his/her part can make a difference.  Find out more about St. John the Baptist Parish here.


Back to School Niagara with Green Energy

The new school year will be an environmentally friendly one for the Niagara Catholic District School District in Ontario, Canada.  This summer Our Lady of Fatima School in Grimsby was outfitted with more than 500 roof-top solar panels that will save the school board more than $180,000 in hydro (electric) costs because the school will feed power back to Ontario Hydro. In many schools throughout the region, the board also upgraded windows and installed energy-efficient lights and motion sensors to ensure lights turn off when students and faculty aren’t using them.

We’re still the only board that’s 100% eco-certified. A very major priority is green energy and what we’re doing in our environmental technology plan focuses on a lot of those priorities to set the course for an exciting year says Joe Crocco, the board’s education director.

Learn more about the environmental responsibility work of the Niagara Catholic District School District here.


Advocacy Efforts

Congress Returns to Capitol Hill; Choices and Action Await

In the face of historic deficits, the nation faces unavoidable choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. These choices are economic, political-and moral. As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up-how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. Join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.