In the Pastoral Plan for ProLife Activities the US Bishops write, “Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life” The USCCB provides a resource with Intercessions and Bulletin Briefs for every Sunday Mass during the year. You may find items for January and February (English/Spanish): http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/resources-for-the-eucharist/word-of-life/. Please forward this information to your parish liturgy coordinator as well as the person designated to create the bulletin.
Catholic Social Teaching on Poverty, Option for the Poor, and the Common Good
The recently released poverty statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau highlight the increasing need to protect poor and vulnerable people in policy advocacy. This primer on Poverty, an Option for the Poor, and the Common Good can help Catholics understand why Catholic teaching calls us to protect those in poverty in public policy.
Poverty Awareness Month is coming soon! We are happy to announce that PovertyUSA.org will be updated, and a Poverty USA Facebook page will also be created in the near future. In the meantime, consider using these Poverty Education resources.
On December 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Hispanic/Latino Bishops sent a letter to immigrants in the United States. They began, “We the undersigned Hispanic/Latino Bishops of the United States wish to let those of you who lack proper authorization to live and work in our country know that you are not alone, or forgotten.”
The proclamation that the Church walks in solidarity with people of migration is the aspiration of the Church. Read a commentary by Fr. Mike McAndrew, Director of Campesino Ministry, Diocese of Fresno.
Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession
The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Augustine Catholic Church (375 N. Sunset Drive, Casselberry) on Saturday, January 7, 2012 beginning with Mass at 9:00 a.m. Following Mass we will recite the rosary at the nearby abortion facility on Maitland Ave. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. Following the rosary you are invited to lunch at the Life Choices Women’s Center where Fr. Ybain Ramirez will bless the new facility. The center is located at 600 E. Altamonte Drive, Unite 1200 in Altamonte Springs. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819; email@example.com
2012 St. Augustine March for Life
Join the Diocese of Orlando on Saturday, January 14 as we travel to St. Augustine Florida to mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade legalizing abortion in the United States. The March begins at the Mission Nombre de Dios—The Great Cross— and concludes in the public plaza with talks by nationally recognized Pro-Life Speakers. The Diocese of Orlando will have buses leaving from Brevard, Orange, and Volusia Counties. The cost for the bus is $25 per person; children under 12 are free. Call the office of Advocacy and Justice at 407-246-4819 for more information or to register. To read more about the March, visit: www.marchforlifestaugustine.com
Join Central Florida Religious Leaders in praying for peace in our world on January 19, 2012 at the Congregation of Reform Judaism (928 Malone Drive, Orlando). The prayer service will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. Contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, 407-246-4819.
Most Reverend John Noonan cordially invites you to a Prayer Service for Christian Unity. The 2012 theme is “We Will All Be Changed by the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. 1 Cor 15: 581-58). The prayer service will take place Tuesday, January 24, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Orlando (123 E. Livingston St.). To RSVP contact Elizabeth Clayton, 407-246-4819, email@example.com
Join us for this FREE family event on January 28, 2012 to learn about your faith and celebrate life! Celebrate Life Day will take place at Holy Family Catholic Church, 5125 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando. Come any time between 10 a.m.?6 p.m. and enjoy: Workshops (Spanish Track and Youth Track), Keynote Speakers, Information Fair, Blood Drive/Health Vendors, Food Vendors, Entertainment, Mass (at 5pm) and a Catholic Relief Services Banquet (including dinner, concert, and a speaker). For more information contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice: 407-246-4819; firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic Days at the Capitol, February 7-9, 2012
Join Catholics from around the State of Florida in Tallahassee for the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol under the direction of the Florida Catholic Conference, the Florida Bishops public policy agency. We will present our legislative concerns to our local senators and representatives. We will also have the opportunity to attend the Legislative Luncheon with our bishops as well as the 37th annual Red Mass to pray for our politicians and lawmakers. Buses are available. This is a great opportunity to live out our calling to be faithful citizens. Deadline to register: January 25, 2012. Click here to download the registration form. Please call 407-246-4819 or email: email@example.com for information.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference that ended on Sunday, December 11, offered both hope for future international efforts to combat climate change and challenges in the years ahead. The negotiators reached agreement on the “Durban Platform,” a package of commitments which extend the Kyoto Protocol, launches the Green Climate Fund (a $100 billion/year fund—by 2020—helping to offset climate impacts on the poorest nations), charts a pathway to a future legally binding agreement on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and begins the implementation of the agreements reached last year in Cancun.
Future challenges—especially for the Catholic community and other people of faith—include whether or not the cuts in emissions are deep enough or fast enough to stop the worst impacts of climate change (Care for Creation), and whether the developed nations’ pledges to the Green Climate Fund will be realized (Care for Poor People). First-hand observers from Caritas Internationalis (a team led by Cardinal Rodriguez of Honduras) do not believe the cuts are deep enough or fast enough. Read more on CI’s blog here.
A new University of Maryland poll of 1,500 Catholics and Evangelicals suggests that nearly 8 in 10 believe that the U.S. should support a global agreement to reduce emissions and nearly 60% believe it would be morally wrong to violate any such treaty. The messages that the Coalition partners have been insisting are at the heart of a Catholic approach on climate change poll very well, namely, that we are motivated to care for God’s creation and that our obligation to the poor, who are already suffering the consequences of climate change, demands action.
In the same poll, confusion among Catholics and evangelicals about the science corresponds with the public at large where around 40% of US citizens believe that most scientists are in agreement that humans are causing climate change while the same number believe there is a wide gulf among scientists. Last year the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a report saying that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans are the primary drivers of climate change. To see other findings in the poll, click here.
The student newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix, reports that bottled water will be banned from the campus. The enormous environmental footprint of bottled water was one of the arguments upon which both supporters and opponents of the ban could agree. Supporters and opponents also weighed other moral questions including restricting products in keeping with university values versus stifling choice. Please read the article here.
Passionist Earth & Spirit Center announces their Lenten program resources Lent 4.5: Christian Simplicity. The materials help in our Lenten journey by encouraging participants to pray and learn about ways to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice, and nurture their own spirituality. We invite you to check out their website and see the video explaining the seven-week program.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is on life support, surviving only because it is included in a continuing resolution that expires on December 16, 2011. Unless the U.S. Senate passes HR 2867 or S 1875 (same as HR 2867 but keeps unchanged the number of Commissioners), USCIRF and its important work to support religious freedom will die.
The mission of USCIRF – to monitor the status of religious freedom and to provide essential information concerning persecution and violations of this vital human right throughout the world-is more important than ever. USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan commission that has played a major role in raising the profile of religious freedom around the world. Tell the Senate how important the Commission is to you.
USCCB Position/Church Teaching
The Catholic Church has long advocated for religious freedom, defending members of all religions. Our Conference of Bishops was involved in the legislation that created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. We ask that you tell your Senators to support passage of HR 2867 or S 1875 before December 16, 2011 to keep USCIRF alive and fighting for religious freedom.
For a copy of Bishop Howard Hubbard’s letter to the Senate, please click here http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/2011-10-Letter-to-Senate-on-USCIRF.pdf
Unless Congress extends emergency unemployment programs, at the end of the year many unemployed workers throughout the country and their families will lose the basic income security that is provided to them through their unemployment benefits.
USCCB Position/Church Teaching
Church teaching is clear: during times of economic pain and high unemployment, there is a moral obligation to ensure unemployed workers and their families have a basic level of security. Earlier this week, Bishop Stephen Blaire, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to Members of Congress to urge them to extend unemployment benefits. The full text of the letter can be found here.
Now Available – A Bold New Module from JustFaith Ministries
In the Spirit of St. Francis and the Sultan: Muslims and Christians Working Together for the Common Good is a unique 8-week module that supports respectful dialog and cooperation during this troubling period of polarization in our society. A unique feature of the module is that it brings Christians and Muslims together to work for the common good. Participating groups report that this experience is a hopeful and much needed sign of good will and cooperation.
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 our mission in the world. In order to help Catholics reflect on this topic, the USCCB is offering a series of handouts on the Sacraments and social mission. This month’s handout is on Marriage and can be used to help couples reflect on the call to loving service toward one another and in the world. Share this resource with diocesan and parish staff responsible for marriage preparation and renewal! Get past handouts here.
The toolkit has now been updated with the newest poverty statistics. EPIC is an interactive, interdisciplinary curriculum designed for youth ministry programs and high school classrooms. The lessons will introduce participants to the epidemic of poverty in the United States and to the steps they can take to work with the poor in eliminating the root causes of poverty today. The program comprises six lessons with classroom-ready handouts, warm-up exercises and reflection activities that reinforce student learning and inspire a faith response.