On Sunday, November 6, 2011 Ascension Catholic Church will host a Fair Trade Sale in the parish hall. Specialty items such as organic coffee, tea, and chocolates will be available to purchase. Each item is an opportunity to spread hope, education, and justice. Ascension is located at 2950 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32935.
On November 15, Oba Chandler, is scheduled to be executed at Florida State Prison, in Starke, Florida. You and members of your parish are encouraged to pray for Mr. Chandler, 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. Please contact Governor Scott to ask for his clemency. Please refer to the petitions and bulletin insert below. There will be a prayer service outside the prison in Starke, FL during the execution for those who may be able to attend. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-246-4819.
Sample Bulletin Announcement
SCHEDULED EXECUTION IN FLORIDA – ALL HUMAN LIFE IS SACRED:
Florida death row inmate, Oba Chandler, is scheduled for execution on November 15 at Florida State Prison. The U. S. Catholic Bishops have called all Catholics to participate in a campaign to achieve the abolishment of the death penalty, see: http://catholicsmobilizing.org/
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
The USCCB Justice for Immigrants Campaign will host a national conference on immigration entitled “A 50-State Issue: A Focus on State and Local Immigration Initiatives.” The conference will look at state and local immigration issues across the country and discuss methods for opposing enforcement initiatives and supporting comprehensive immigration reform. An update on progress on immigration reform on the federal level will be included.
It will be held from January 11-13, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Topics that will be addressed include: Secure Communities enforcement program; 287 (g) enforcement program, Employer Verification bills; Arizona copy-cat legislation; building a local coalition and network; parish organizing; and laws which impact the Church’s mission. To register for the conference, visit: http://www.cvent.com/d/wcqmsm.
Church leaders want world leaders to come up with a binding agreement in dealing with the problem of climate change. Religious leaders launched a campaign called “We have faith – Act now for climate justice.” The campaign aims to put pressure on the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which takes place in Durban, South Africa, beginning November 28.
Church leaders want parties to negotiate in good faith and not prioritize their economic interest at the expense of human kind. Their global campaign will see a petition signed by millions of people from around the world delivered to world leaders attending the conference in Durban later this month.
On the first Friday of each month between now and April 6, 2012, “fast” by eating meals that cost only as much as is allotted for a family of your size by the USDA Modified Thrifty Food Plan (which is used as the basis for food stamps, or SNAP). The “cutting back” that will likely be required in order to stay “in budget” can be considered a form of fasting.
As we prepare for the holiday season, our thoughts and prayers turn to our global brothers and sisters who are struggling with hunger and poverty. Join Catholic Relief Services and respond to our Gospel call to bring comfort to those in need. You can make a difference! Be one in a million and join us to confront global poverty.
World AIDS Day Resources
December 1 is World AIDS Day. Catholic Relief Services has resources to pray for and learn about our brothers and sisters who fall victim to HIV and AIDS throughout the world.
Fast to End Famine!
East Africa is facing its worst drought in 60 years and millions of people are facing severe hunger. Catholic Relief Services is calling on youth groups across the United States to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in East Africa
Hold a Food Fast this year and raise money to support CRS’ work. Participating youth will receive a fair trade stone pendant made by artisans in Kenya.
Catholics Confront Global Poverty, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, invites Catholics to join together to make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world. Use these resources to introduce Catholics Confront Global Poverty and to help youth become advocates for change.
- Open Enrollment for Medicare/Medicaid is NOW – For help understanding your prescription drug plan and health plan choices, you can call the Elder Helpline by dialing “2-1-1” or 407-839-HELP and ask for a Shine Counselor. Or visit www.medicare.gov/open-enrollment. Open enrollment ends Dec 7.
- FL Dept of Children & Families SSI Guidelines – To get a summary of DCF’s financial eligibility guidelines for SSI related programs, visit www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/docs/ssi_fin_elig_chart.pdf.
- Communicating w/ People w/ Dementia – Naomi Feil, the founder of “validation therapy”, is visiting Central Florida on November 5 at the Winter Park Towers. $25 fee. 8:30 am (for professionals) or 12:30 pm (for caregivers). Visit www.ADRCcares.org or call 407-843-1910.
- – You’re invited to an “Aging with Grace” conference at St. Luke’s Methodist Church, 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd, Orlando on November 5, from 9 am – 2 pm. Free. Light lunch provided. For info or to RSVP, contact Carol Crowley @ 407-876-4991 ext 262.
- Candlelight Memorial Service – This annual candle lighting ceremony to remember loved ones who have passed away is scheduled for November 6 from 4 – 5 pm at The Maitland Civic Center, 641 S. Maitland Ave. For info, please contact Jean Balderson at 407-691-4548.
- Aging changes in bones, muscles & joints – a 5-minute interview with Dr. John Fleming on keeping our bones, muscles and joints healthy. Click on http://www.orangetvfl.net/active-lifestyles/aging-changes-in-bones-muscles-joints-video_9632cab62.html.
- VA presumptive benefits – a 5-minute interview with Mike Dixon from the Orange County Veterans Services Office on illnesses that have a higher rate within the military. Click on http://www.orangetvfl.net/active-lifestyles/va-presumptive-benefits-video_1dba60946.html.
- Your parents’ finances – a 5-minute interview with Cindy Price on what you need to know about your parents’ finances. Click on http://www.orangetvfl.net/active-lifestyles/your-parents-finances-video_825b3e13d.html.
- Aging in place in the home – a 60-minute forum on how to modify your home to meet the needs of an elder. Click on http://www.orangetvfl.net/vital-living-forum/aging-in-place-in-the-home-video_40b92534f.html.
Join our Action Network, and we’ll send you updates on how you can speak out on important issues that impact human life and dignity.
As most of our country prepares to turn back the clock to signal an end to Daylight Savings Time, Congress is considering proposals that would drastically turn back the clock on fighting hunger, disease, and poverty. Join advocates from around the country this week and urge your Senators to maintain the levels of life-saving poverty-focused international assistance for FY 2012 as passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and to oppose any amendments that would cut poverty-focused international assistance. Send your message to your Senators now!
What’s the issue? Your Catholic faith calls on you to care for your brothers and sisters who are hungry, thirsty, seeking refuge from war and famine. Life-saving poverty-focused international assistance that fights hunger, disease and poverty makes up less than 1% of the U.S. federal budget. However, the Senate will consider appropriations bills this week regarding these funding levels, and amendments to drastically cut assistance to people in dire need are expected. Join the urgent call to protect poor and vulnerable communities around the world. Right now, 12 million people in East Africa who are facing malnutrition and starvation are relying on your voice and our nation’s leadership to save their lives.
Why now? The Senate is expected to consider a range of appropriations bills this week that could include funding levels for international assistance. Now, more than ever, we must tell our Senators that we care about our nation’s efforts to support poor and marginalized communities around the world. Urge them to maintain the Senate Appropriations Committee-proposed funding levels for international humanitarian and development assistance. Your action is particularly important because the funding levels for FY 2012 will set the stage for funding levels over the next decade. Poverty-focused international assistance doesn’t have a large, vocal constituency unless you speak up now. Cutting less than 1% of the federal budget will not balance the budget or solve the deficit but it will cost lives.
Will my one action make a difference? Yes! More and more congressional offices are hearing from constituents that poverty-focused international assistance is important to them and they’re paying attention. Your voice made a difference earlier this year when we limited cuts to these life-saving accounts. Take Action Today!
On October 29, The House Judiciary Committee passed by a voice vote a bill that would eliminate country-based caps on the number of employment visas issued annually. In addition, the bipartisan bill would raise the limit on family-based visas. Current law limits employment-based visas for legal permanent residents at 140,000 and limits any given country to 7 percent of total U.S. immigrant admissions. However, the bill would not increase the total numbers of visa admissions.
Passages of this legislation would alleviate backlogs of immigrants waiting to obtain work visas. According to supporters of the bill, the lifting of the country-based percentage cap would allow U.S. businesses to hire more highly skilled immigrants. The bill will now go to the House leadership for consideration.
Tell Congress – Protect SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits for Our Fellow Citizens
Take Action! As Congress considers actions to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion by November 23rd, anti-hunger advocates are deeply concerned that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) might be targeted for massive funding cuts or structural changes that could result in enrollment being capped and many struggling with hunger being kicked off the program. These changes would hurt the families still feeling the effects of the recession and the nearly 49 million Americans who lived in households struggling with hunger in 2010. The collective voice of the faith community, through Fighting Poverty with Faith, needs to speak out in defense of this incredibly successful safety net program. Please contact your Members of Congress today.
For a sample letter to send to Congress, please see below, or use the following text:
Dear Member of Congress,
I am writing to you as a constituent and as a participant in “Fighting Poverty with Faith,” a national interfaith, anti-poverty mobilization focused this year on ending hunger in America.
I strongly urge you to oppose any deficit reduction measures that result in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Cuts to SNAP could weaken the structure of the program and result in cuts in participation or reductions in benefits at a time when millions of Americans continue to be at risk of hunger. SNAP is an incredibly successful program that reduces hunger and food insecurity by providing very low-income people critically needed, targeted assistance to purchase food. In a September 2011 report the U.S. Census Bureau stated that 3.9 million people (including 1.7 million children) were prevented from falling into poverty by SNAP. The SNAP program is important to addressing the national response to hunger and makes a difference in the lives of those who struggle daily with food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal will come from. While today’s hunger statistics are staggering, we must remember that they represent children, single parents, seniors, and families living in communities across the country and that they deserve our best thinking about how to dramatically reduce or eliminate hunger in America.
As Proverbs 31:8-9 states, “Open your mouth in behalf of the mute, and for the rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, judge justly, defend the needy and the poor!”