Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

 

Ignite the Spark Within Us! 24th Annual Florida Respect Life Conference; October 29-30 The greater the struggle the more magnificent the glory! The 24th annual Florida Respect Life Conference sponsored by the Florida Bishops aims to show us the glory that comes from working in Respect Life and Social Justice ministries and to ignite again the spark within each of us. Workshops include:

Living in the Fullness of Truth: Understanding God’s Plan for Love and Life” by Barbara Groeber

“Abortion in the Context of Catholic Social Teaching” by Rev. Richard Mullen, OSA
“Ethical Stem Cell Research: the Advancements Continue” by Claire Thuning-Roberson, Ph.D.

“Come Back to God Who is Love and Mercy” by Rev. Carmello Romanello

“Final Hour or Final Exit” by Joseph Mauceri, MD

“Let Punishment Achieve Remediation, Not Retribution: What Does Our Church Say About the Death Penalty?” by D. Michael McCarron, Ph.D.

“Hope Amidst Adversity” by Fr. Alfred Cioffi, STD, Ph.D.

 The 2010 Conference will take place October 29-30 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For additional details and registration information visit the Florida Catholic Conference

 Vatican Head of Justice and Peace Asks Ghana to Align Development Goals with Environmental Protection

Cardinal Appiah Turkson was in Accra, Ghana on October 1 urging its leaders to be consistent in implementing the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with environmental stewardship.  Citing the mining industry, Cardinal Turkson observed that the nature of mining activities in the country tend to degrade the environment, describing the situation as “disheartening”.

He said to the extent of allowing mining operation in forest reserves and river beds indicated the enormity of the problem, pointing out that the manner in which mining activities destroyed the forest and the environment was an affront to the attainment of the MDGs. Read more here. 

“Immigration in a New Congress” Justice for Immigrants National Convening November 3-5
The Justice for Immigrants National Convening will take place November 3-5 at the Four Points Sheraton in Schiller Park, IL

Topics Include:
• Answering the tough questions on immigration
• Responses & strategies to local immigration initiatives
• Analysis of election results
• Best practices for organizing
• Immigration 101 – Immigration policy basics
• Catholic Social Teaching and Migration
• Opportunities to network
• Messaging, communications and media
• Developing a long term strategy for immigration reform

For more information, please contact Jaci Braga by phone at (202) 541-3344 or via email, at jbraga@usccb.org

Introducing Orlando Catholic Seniors

Orlando Catholic Seniors is an organization of Catholics aged 55+ who wish to Learn and grow Spiritually and Socially. Consider joining them at one of their upcoming events:

November 26: Potluck dinner at St. Mary Magdalen beginning at 7pm.

December 5: Noon mass at St. Mary Magdalen followed by brunch at a nearby restaurant

December 11: Christmas Party; Time and Place To Be Decided.

For more information and to join Orlando Catholic Seniors please contact Terry Brown at 407-442-8075 or email ocsleader@yahoo.com.

March for Life, Washington D.C. January 23
Life is Very Good: A Prayerful Evening to Prepare Young People for the March for Life

Join groups from all over the country for an evening to celebrate the culture of life! This prayerful and exciting evening is geared towards high school students but is open to all. Evening begins at 6:00 pm and includes Mass, a Matt Maher Concert, Keynote Speaker, and Eucharistic Adoration. Cost is $10 per participant. Event is being held at the beautiful Hylton Memorial Chapel, 4640 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192 Directions can be found on their website: www.hyltonchapel.org.  For More information contact: Jaclyn at 703-841-2559 or email j.weber@arlingtondiocese.org.

 March for Life and Rally January 24

The March for Life and Rally will take place at noon on the Mall in Washington on Monday, January 24, 2011. Check http://www.marchforlife.org  for more information on the March for Life and to register your buses.

 Youth Rally and Mass for Life

Archdiocese of Washington Youth Rally and Mass for Life – January 24, 7:00 a.m., Washington, D.C. Visit http://www.adw.org/service/jan24.asp  for advance ticket reservations. The site also includes links for bishops, priests and deacons to register online, information on a second location, and special additions and changes to this year’s event.  A youth rally store is also new this year.

More details can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/prayervigil/info.shtml

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Celebration Gifts

CRS is announcing a new way of gift-giving that makes a real difference in the world: CRS’ Celebration Gifts. When considering purchasing a gift to honor a family member receiving the Sacraments or to commemorate traditional giving occasions such as holidays and other milestones, consider making donations in honor of your loved ones.

When you do, each recipient will be e-mailed a beautiful card that combines the joy of their occasion with the joy of helping the poor around the world. You can add a personal message to the cards, which feature stunning photographs of our brothers and sisters who have been helped with food, water, education and other necessities through the generosity of donors like you.

Please visit Celebration Gifts a beautiful website, to review our cards, and keep us in mind the next time you want to honor a loved one. Your gift reaches God’s most vulnerable children in more than 100 countries around the world.

 Advocacy Efforts:

Efforts in the Sudan

President Obama recently participated in a high level meeting on Sudan with other heads of state at the United Nations where he stated: “At this moment, the fate of millions of people hangs in the balance. What happens in Sudan in the days ahead may decide whether a people who have endured too much war move forward towards peace or slip backwards into bloodshed. And what happens in Sudan matters to all of sub-Saharan Africa, and it matters to the world.”  He then laid out the steps that his Administration has been taking to promote a peaceful transition in Sudan and urged: “Progress toward a negotiated and definitive end to the conflict is possible.  And now is the moment for all nations to send a strong signal that there will be no time and no tolerance for spoilers who refuse to engage in peace talks.”

President Obama’s remarks signal that he is listening to advocates for peace in Sudan to redouble his Administration’s efforts for peace and stability in Sudan.  The Congress is listening too.  On September 28, the House of Representatives passed resolution 1588, which signals the United States’ strong commitment to prevent increased violence and promote peace and stability in Sudan. The resolution calls on President Obama to strengthen engagement and on the international community to coordinate their efforts closely. It urges the responsible actors in Sudan to comply with the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, resolve outstanding issues, and avoid escalating tensions. H. Res. 1588 passed with 68 co-sponsors. Check if your Representative was a co-sponsor and thank him/her for their support.

In addition, the House held a special floor discussion on Sudan on September 22 to send a message to the people of Sudan and the international community that the Congress supports a timely and fair referendum, and is committed to continued implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to ending violence in Darfur.  

 Opportunities for Action

  • Act:   Please continue your e-mails and phone calls (dial 702-577-2339 for pre-recorded talking points and direct connection) to the White House for increased engagement on Sudan

Fighting Poverty with Faith Mobilization Kick-off Call

As part of a nationwide effort to cut the U.S. poverty rate by 50 percent over the next ten years, religious, civic and community-service organizations across the country will host public events to raise awareness about the importance of human needs programs and job creation.

Now in its third year, the 2010 “Fighting Poverty with Faith” mobilization is co-chaired by Catholic Charities USA, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), and the National Council of Churches in Christ (NCC). This year’s effort, which involves more than 44 national faith-based organizations, will focus new attention on the causes of poverty, highlight strategies to reduce poverty, and aggressively seek new economic opportunities for the nation’s most vulnerable.

Catholic Charities USA, JCPA, and NCC will launch this year’s mobilization on October 5 with a national teleconference discussing the role of faith-based organizations in fighting poverty.  The conference call will feature Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Martha Coven from the White House Domestic Policy Council.  To join this call, please dial 1-888-690-8774.  More information on this year’s “Fighting Poverty with Faith” mobilization, including a full list of events taking place across the country, can be found at www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com.

 Congress Approves Short-Term Spending Measure

On September 30, the House of Representatives cleared legislation by a vote of 228 to 194 to continue funding of the federal government through December 3 at the current fiscal year 2010 level. The Senate passed the measure earlier by a vote of 69 to 30. Given Congress has not passed any of the 12 spending bills for fiscal year 2011, which started on October 1, it was necessary for Congress to pass and the president sign a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. 

The CR temporarily extended funds for a number of critical programs including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related programs. The extension includes the basic TANF block grant, child care grant, regular contingency fund, and supplemental grants. However, it fails to include an extension of the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, which over 30 states has used to provide subsidized jobs to low-skilled workers.

It also extended programs under the Child Nutrition Act. Programs authorized under act include, the Child and adult Food Care Program, the Summer Food Program, the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). However, the CR did not include any of the additional funds requested by the Obama Administration for improvements in the reauthorization of the programs.

Both chambers are expected to return after the November elections for a lame-duck session to address the annual spending bills and other priority issues.  For more information, see: http://appropriations.house.gov/images/stories/pdf/Full/FY11_CR_Highlights_-_09.29.2010.pdf

House Approves Bill to Address Workforce Training

On September 29, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that would require federal job training programs to focus on skills that are in demand and provide training for jobs that are available.  The measure, “The American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Act” (H.R.4072), passed by a vote of 412-10. It would require training centers under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) system to place priority on training programs that lead to credentials in areas of high job growth.

The bill would establish similar requirements for youth training programs under WIA and require that under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program, priority be given to courses that lead to credentials and skills that are in high demand in local areas. It would also require the Department of Labor to establish standards for which programs would get priority. A companion bill, S.3529, has been introduced in the Senate, but has not come up for a vote.  Workforce advocates argue that these reforms would better support low-skilled workers by properly preparing them for better paying, high demand jobs.  However, they still call for a more comprehensive set of reforms to the entire WIA system.  More information on the legislation is available here.