Office Of Advocacy And Justice Updates


Living Will Seminar

Do you have questions about Advance Directives or Living Wills?  Concerns about end-of-life care and Catholic teaching? Confused about designating a Health Care Surrogate?  These and other questions will be answered at an upcoming living will forum by a panel consisting of a Catholic physician, attorney and clergy. The following are dates and times for upcoming forums around the diocese:

  • St. Anthony Catholic Church, Lakeland, 12:00 p.m., Sunday, November 14, 2010
  • Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Winter Park, 9:00 a.m., Sunday, January 22, 2011

For more information contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, at 407-246-4819


2011 St. Augustine March for Life
Join the Diocese of Orlando on Saturday, January 15 as we travel to St. Augustine Florida to mark the 37th 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 several locations in the diocese. 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 (available in English and Spanish). To read more about the march, visit:


Catholic Relief Services Update: Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia

At least 25 people have died following the overnight eruption of the Merapi volcano, with hot clouds of up to 600 ° C, lava, ash and toxic gas which are bringing the people of Yogyakarta and four other districts Central Java to their knees. Currently rescue teams are concentrating their efforts on the villages of Kinahrejo and Turgo, where 15 dead bodies were found. Sacred for most of the local population, Merapi is 2,968 meters high and is considered one of the most active and explosive volcanoes in the world.

Meanwhile, the death toll of the tsunami that struck yesterday in the Mentawai islands has increased to 154.  Indonesian President Yudhoyono says he will travel later today to Padang, capital of the region, to monitor relief efforts. The Church is also committed to bringing aid to people affected by the eruption and tsunami. Ierene Setiadi of the Catholic Humanitarian Group (Kbkk) said: “We will send our humanitarian aid to victims of disasters.”  To assist relief efforts visit:


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.


Upcoming Fair Trade Events in the Diocese

When shopping this season, consider whose hands touched the items you have carefully selected for family and friends.  Have they been fairly, legally and justly created and sold?  One way to ensure that products are fairly traded is to shop at the Catholic Relief Services website: or attend one of several Fair Trade events around the Orlando Diocese:

Prince of Peace Parish celebrates their 5th annual Fair Trade Cafe with coffee, crafts, chocolate and concert with Steve Angrisano (admission $5) on December 4th from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.  (concert at 7:00 p.m.) – contact Mike Buckler.

St. Mary Magdalen (contact Ann Eichner) and Holy Family (contact Nora Carbone) will celebrate their first fair trade sales on December 4th and 5th after all Masses (chocolate, handcrafts and coffee).  

St. Margaret Mary Parish sells fair trade coffee and cocoa every last Sunday of the month.  (contact Mary Ann Gilbert).

Blessed Trinity in Ocala sells coffee, tea and cocoa every second weekend of the month and – contact Sandy Fuller .

St. Maximilian Kolbe will be selling chocolate, coffee and crafts beginning the weekend of November 20th through the weekend of December 10th. (contact Julia Vorster).

Ascension Catholic Church will host a Fair Trade Sale on Sunday, November 7 from 8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m. Support the work of artisans and farmers of the Third World. Browse an array of finely-crafted goods, fair trade coffees and chocolates. (contact Teresa Romano).


“Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” English Resources Now Available

Saturday, November 27th at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” coinciding with first vespers of the First Sunday of Advent.  All parishes are invited to engage “in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements.” The English and Spanish resources are now available on the USCCB web site at:


Book:  Climate Refugees

In his 2010 World Day of Peace Message, Pope Benedict XVI explicitly addressed the unfortunate reality of persons who are displaced by environmental degradation, and asked:
Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement?”

In a new book, Climate Refugees, Collectif Argos (a group of 10 France-based journalists, writers and photographers) considers this issue and argues that the legal definition of a refugee should be expanded to cover those severely affected by the environmental consequences of climate change.  Some estimates predict that as climate change continues, as many 200 million people will be displaced worldwide by the end of the century. The group has documented the effects of environmental change in photo and essay format.  The authors focus on nine sites around the world, including the United States, Bangladesh, Chad, Nepal and Tuvalu, a small island in the Pacific Ocean.  In each case the authors examine the effect climate change on people living in these various regions.

For a review of the book by Todd Scribner, from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Migration & Refugee Services click here.


Holy Wisdom Monastery is the top LEED-Certified new construction building in the USWatch Inspiring Video

The Benedictine Sisters’ Holy Wisdom Monastery achieved Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in late March 2010 – the highest level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification available.  The monastery earned 63 out of a possible 69 points under LEED-New Construction (NC) version 2.2, making it the highest-rated LEED-NC building in the United States to date!  For the sisters, the Monastery is an extension of their Catholic and Benedictine identity: “For us, sustainability is not a trend,” says Sister Joanne Kollasch, “but a commitment to the earth—a 21st century expression of 1500 years of Benedictine tradition.”

Here are some of the exciting facts:

  • The original building, Benedict House, was responsibly deconstructed and 99.75% of the 60,000-square-foot building was recycled or reused.
  • The new monastery contains spaces for worship, concerts, conferences, lectures, interfaith dialog, dining, reading, and administration.
  • The building was downsized by half from the original to reflect current needs. 
    See a video about it here.


Environmental Park/Sustainable Living

The Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, has collaborated with community organizations to help build CERES Community Environment Park, which provides education for environmental and social sustainability in rich learning environments for all ages.  Programs vary in length from around one hour to whole day packages and yearlong programs.  They are lead by experienced educators who provide immersive and hands-on experiences that empower everyone to take action for sustainability.  Read more here.


 “Who’s Under Your Carbon Footprint?” appears in Caritas newsletter

Kathy Brown, who represents Catholic Charities USA on the Coalition Steering Committee, also serves as representative to Caritas Internationalis.  She wrote an article about the Catholic Climate Covenant and the St. Francis Pledge that is shared on CI’s website.  CI counts 165 Catholic charitable organizational members from around the world.  Kathy says:

St. Francis of Assisi reminds us of God’s creation and recommit ourselves to its care. As an advocate for the poor, he also reminds us to remember the poor.  Through the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services are part of the Coalition) in the United States, work has been done to provide a way for parishes, schools, dioceses or hospitals to commit themselves to care for the creation and for the poor.  As the Coalition states, “The impact of climate change falls heaviest on the poor. Our faith invites us to tread lightly and act boldly.” A year ago, the Coalition launched ‘Who’s Under Your Carbon Footprint?’, a campaign inviting people to take the St. Francis Pledge to care for creation and the poor.


Aging Resources:

  • Open Enrollment – Medicare Part D – Annual enrollment is November 15-December 31 and it is the only time beneficiaries can change their Medicare Advantage Plans.  For more info, call the Elder Helpline by dialing “2-1-1” or 407-839-HELP and ask for a “SHINE” volunteer.
  • Changes in Medicare Suppliers Orlando and South Florida are two of the competitive bidding areas that will see changes in how medical equipment, prosthetics, and supplies are paid by Medicare. These changes will begin January 1, but you can get more info on how this program might impact you by calling 1.800.MEDICARE or visiting
  • Cool Website – The national Eldercare Locator has been redesigned and now has an enhanced toll-free call center.  Visit or call the toll center at 1.800.677.1116. 
  • Parkinson’s Helpline – The National Parkinson’s Foundation has a new national helpline – 1.800.473.4636 (remember 1.800.4PD.INFO).  It is staffed from 9 to 5 EST.  Spanish and English. 
  • Retirement Report – The Urban Institute has released a report that looks at work and retirement patterns over the last 30 years.  Visit
  • Healthcare Reform Timeline – Get it at


Did You Know. . . More than 40 percent of men born 1943 to 1947 did not retire by age 65, compared with only 20 percent of those born 1933 to 1937. Men and women born 1933 to 1937 were much more likely than those born 20 years earlier to move to part-time work at older ages and return to work after retiring instead of following the traditional route of retiring only once directly from full-time employment. (Urban Institute)