Catholic Relief Services, in partnership with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, announces the 2012 Called to Witness trip to El Salvador, scheduled for May 7-17, 2012. Through Called to Witness, CRS provides parish, diocesan and national youth ministers with a global experience to help them call and empower young people to an active commitment to working for solidarity, peace and justice. The Called to Witness experience does not aim to be a direct service program, but rather an opportunity for meeting people, developing relationships, and learning about the work of the Church around the world with the hope of enhancing faith formation and youth ministries.
Applications can be downloaded by visiting CRS Education (http://education.crs.org) or the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (www.nfcym.org). Applications are due no later than Monday, January 9, 2012.
The Sacraments celebrated by the Church help us to recognize Christ’s Presence in the community of the body of Christ. This recognition should lead to a stronger awareness of being sent on mission to engage in love-inspired action in the world. In order to help Catholics reflect on this topic, a series of handouts on the Sacraments and social mission is available. This month’s handout is on Confirmation, the sacrament through which the Holy Spirit strengthens our bond with the Church and equips us to carry out the Church’s mission of love and service. Please share this series with your colleagues in religious education, catechumenate program, clergy formation, and others who work in the area of sacramental preparation. Get past handouts here.
On November 14, 2011, more than 70 bishops gathered at their semi-annual meeting to celebrate the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and to honor Rosibel Mancillas Lopez, this year’s young adult winner who lives out CCHD’s mission to fight poverty through her work for justice for immigrants. Read the press release or consider nominating a young adult you know for the 2012 award!
The annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development will be held on Sunday November 20 in the Diocese of Orlando. The collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s grant and outreach programs.
January is Poverty Awareness Month! Use Poverty Awareness Month as an opportunity to inform your diocese about poverty by writing an article for your diocesan paper, hosting an event, and sharing resources with parishes and schools. New resources are coming — Stay tuned!
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, most of them teens, visit Washington, D.C each January for events that commemorate the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The National Prayer Vigil for Life is an all-night pro-life prayer vigil held on the eve of the March for Life on January 22-23, 2012. It is co-sponsored by the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. Over 20,000 pilgrims from across the nation will gather at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington to pray through the night for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. Hundreds of thousands of people, will gather on the Mall the next day for the March for Life Rally. Bishops representing the USCCB will open the Rally in prayer. The Rally is followed by a March to the Supreme Court building and visits to elected representatives. Get information on Washington area events here!
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will host a national Justice for Immigrants conference on immigration entitled “Immigration: A 50-State Issue.” 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. The conference will be held on January 11-13, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Register here.
Mark your calendars for the 2012 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, which will take place on February 12-15, 2012 in Washington, DC. Connect in person with Catholic social ministry leaders from across the United States. Exciting plenary presentations, briefings, workshops, and strategy sessions will focus on Faithful Citizenship and other important topics, and will better prepare you and your colleagues for the challenges and opportunities of the election year. Early registration will open in the next several weeks and will continue through December 23, 2011.
Later this month, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, will have the opportunity to make a commitment to action and take a prudent course in response to climate change. Scientific reports continue to raise the urgency for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our use of fossil fuels if we want to avoid the worse of climate change impacts. These include more intense storms and severe long-lasting droughts, depending where you live in the world.
The meeting in Durban is a critical moment to set forth a truly moral response to climate change. You can join other people of faith and bring a religious voice to bear on these negotiations. Ask our leaders to protect vulnerable populations around the globe. Click here to see how you can send a message to the U.S. Administration.
As we approach the month of December, we enter a very special time for the faith of people from Latin America. The month begins with feasts of Mary, the Mother of God in the feast of Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The month continues with Posadas, preparing the way for the Birth of Jesus and then the celebration of Christ’s birth. As weather limits the amount of time farm workers may work in the fields, December is a time to celebrate faith deeply imbedded in cultural celebrations of these events.
Read more of this latest Campesino Ministry commentary by Fr. Mike McAndrew by visiting the NCRLC website.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles newspaper, The Tidings, reports: In an effort to support parishes and schools with their finances and contributions to their community’s environment, the archdiocesan Creation Sustainability Committee [CSC] has assembled a tool kit containing a practical checklist and a book authored by energy and environmental design expert David A. Troesh, with more than 70 recommendations on how to save money and energy.
The publication of this parish resource is the committee’s way to celebrate its first anniversary, together with the launch of its Web site and [the committee announced] a youth photo essay contest depicting the St. Francis Pledge, in collaboration with local artist and activist John August Swanson.
The article also reports that [s]everal parishes have collaborated with the CSC in promoting environmental awareness and energy conservation. Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Patricia Krommer, a CSC member, says many other parishes are working to more fully care for God’s gift of creation because ecological stewardship is a moral issue based on the Christian vocation to stewardship and the reality that environmental degradation compromises human life and dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable.
Read the entire article and access the CSC’s parish resources here.
Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration goes global! The Toolkit was recently promoted by the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) in the November issue of its newsletter The First.
The article highlights the collaborative nature of the Toolkit and designed to help Catholic colleges and universities more fully ground their sustainability work in Catholic mission through the framework of the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. Co-sponsoring organizations concurrently hope that schools will implement this Toolkit to articulate how sustainability work is an inexorable dimension of their Catholic mission, and to publicly affirm this commitment to mission-based sustainability by becoming a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner. For more information about CTEWC, click here.
The Coalition is pleased to announce that in two and a half years since the launch of the Catholic Climate Covenant/St. Francis Pledge over 7,400 St. Francis Pledge commitments have been registered online here.
But even more striking is that nearly 10% of these (over 700) pledges have been registered since this year’s celebration of the Feast of St. Francis (October 4). In comparison to the same period last year, registered pledges have increased 88%!
The member organizations of the Coalition are extremely grateful for your support and urge you to continue sharing the Pledge with friends, family, colleagues and parishioners.
The Franciscan School of Theology (FST), a member school of the Graduate Theological Union in California is offering a residential summer school at Mission Santa Barbara, CA from July 30-August 10, 2012. The description for the course, “Creation, Humanity and Science in the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition,” says:
The retrieval of the Franciscan intellectual tradition opens up new horizons for reimagining the human relationship to nature. St. Francis is the premier example of Christian love for creation, but the Franciscan tradition has many more resources for helping us care for our environment today. Our intellectual tradition draws from a rich theology of creation, a vision for a just society, philosophy of science, and environmental ethics. Join…leading Franciscan scholars to learn how to draw from this intellectual tradition to enliven your ministry or organization, and personal religious journey. To download the brochure, click here.
The congressional Super Committee is tasked with proposing at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions by November 23. Programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and life-giving global health and nutrition programs are at risk of massive cuts.
You can help prevent cuts to these programs by sending a personal email to your member of Congress. Click here to send a message; be sure to include your personal thoughts. Research shows that sharing our personal stories and experiences are the most powerful way to sway members of Congress.
Last Thursday, just before going on recess to celebrate the Veterans’ Day holiday, the Senate passed a bill providing tax incentives for hiring unemployed military veterans. The legislation would also provide new funding for retraining older unemployed veterans. Businesses would be given a tax credit of up to $9,000 if they hired a disabled veteran who had been out of work for more than six months.
The bill, which passed 95-0, was one of the components of President Obama’s jobs proposal. The Senate has taken up portions of the bill individually after the comprehensive package failed to pick up enough support.
The Senate also approved legislation that would ease burdens faced by military spouses seeking U.S. citizenship while their partners are deployed overseas. The legislations would amend U.S. immigration law to streamline the required interview process and reduce the bureaucratic problems that deployed service members and their spouses can face when applying for permanent residency.