Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates






Holy Saturday Helpers’ Prayer Service and Rosary Procession with Bishop Noonan

On Holy Saturday, March 30th, Bishop Noonan will lead us in Morning Prayer followed by a Rosary Procession to the nearby abortion site on Lucerne Terrace. Morning Prayer will be held at St. James Cathedral (215 N. Orange Ave., Orlando) beginning at 8 a.m. The rosary will be prayed in both English and Spanish: See flyer here!

Conversion in the Year of Faith at St. Andrew Catholic Church – April 21

To witness to the “New Evangelization” of the Catholic faith requires an examination of how the teachings of the Church form our understanding of the value and dignity of each person in an increasingly secular world view. The goal of this day is to provide a forum for examining the profound respect each person is owed in justice and how we may express that Truth through our personal and collective conversion. Come join us at St. Andrew (801 N. Hastings St. Orlando) on Sunday, April 21, 2013 beginning with the 11:30 a.m. Liturgy and concluding at 3:30 p.m.  One of our guest speakers, Dale Recinella, is a chaplain on Death Row in Florida’s prison. He is an author and authority on the Death Penalty and has experienced his own personal conversion from Wall Street as a financial expert through his journey of faith as a Spiritual Advisor to those on death row. The Church offers a wonderful opportunity for those in ministry to evangelize the teachings of the Church on the sacredness of human life to those in prison and jails as well as advocate on behalf of the bishops against the death penalty. To RSVP (Cost is $10) and for more details, please contact the Advocacy and Justice Office at 407-246-4819 or email us at

Stay of Execution Granted for Paul Howell

Paul Augustus Howell was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on February 26. A stay of execution has been granted and extended. “A federal appeals court issued a temporary stay of execution Monday in the case of Paul Augustus Howell, who was sentenced to death for killing a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in 1992. The temporary stay, issued by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, put on hold for now the execution of Paul Augustus Howell, who had been scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night at Florida State Prison in Starke.” Read the full story.

Notre Dame conference: Climate Change and the Common Good, April 8-10

A national conference on Climate Change and the Common Good will take place April 8-10 at the University of Notre Dame. This conference is a multidisciplinary exploration of the challenges and opportunities society faces in addressing climate change and resource scarcity. From scientists and ethicists to policy and national security experts, the three-day conference will bring together a diverse array of scholars and leaders to approach the complexities of climate disruption in a meaningful and productive way. Conference organizers believe that the American Catholic community has the potential to make a unique contribution to the conversation surrounding the inherently social issues of energy use and climate change. Visit for the full agenda, travel details, and registration.

A Farewell Tribute: The Making of the Once and Future “Green Pope”

In this powerful and thoughtful article, William L. Patenaude reflects on several key elements of [Pope Benedict’s] life and education that are important to his ecological pedigree. Among them, Patenaude identifies His Holiness’s experience of living through Nazi Germany and the writings of Henri de Lubac, St. Augustine, and St. Bonaventure as particularly influential on the ecological vision of the pope.

Patenaude concludes by reflecting on the environmental legacy of Pope Benedict XVI:  Because Pope Benedict has made it clear that ecology is matter of magisterial importance, no future pope can now ignore the Catholic engagement of ecology [. . .] We can be certain that the next Successor of Peter will continue on the path that Bl. John Paul II and Benedict XVI has taken the Church—a path that leads to an awareness of the ecological crises that now envelope the globe and a path that leads to the answer to these crises—to Christ, who alone can take away the sins of the world.

St. Louis University Professor on Pope’s Environmental Legacy in The New York Times In a recent letter to the editor, Tobias Winright, Ph.D., professor of theological ethics at St. Louis University, added to a New York Times editorial by Father James Martin, S.J., editor at large of America Magazine.  Fr. Martin’s piece, The Change Upon Christ’s Rock highlighted many important aspects of Pope Benedict’s teaching and Dr. Winright’s letter notes:

In addition to the items Father Martin correctly notes about Benedict XVI’s legacy, I would add that he has come to be known as the “Green Pope.”

In his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (“Charity in Truth”), in his 2010 World Day of Peace message (“If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation”) and in numerous other speeches, the pope has called on Catholics and people of good will to care for creation.

Even the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican now has solar panels on its roof. Surely this is a significant thread in Benedict’s teaching and practice that is very timely.

Dr. Winright is the editor of Green Discipleship: Catholic Theological Ethics and the Environment and served as a moderator at the recent Catholic Consultation on Environmental Justice and Climate Change: Assessing Pope Benedict XVI’s Ecological Vision for the Catholic Church in the United States co-sponsored by the Coalition, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The Catholic University of America.


TED-ED Videos on Water

Another contributor to the Catholic Consultation (above), Christiana Z. Peppard, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology at Fordham University, added two new video resources to the popular education website. The first piece, “Where we get our fresh water,” is a clear presentation of where our water comes from, where it goes, and how much of it there is on earth–in short, what you need to know about the hard facts of global fresh water in 3.5 minutes. Find it here!

The second piece, “Fresh water scarcity: An introduction to the problem,” looks at global fresh water scarcity and asks: Are we running out of water? Who bears the burdens?  Do shorter showers help? How should we think about water’s value? Find it here.


A Student’s Ecological Prayer

In an article titled, Prayer for creation begins day at a west London school, the author highlights how St. Benedict’s Junior School in Ealing, England, recently held a competition in order to establish the school’s new Eco Prayer. Becky Machin, the school’s Environmental Coordinator, said: “The pupils’ brief was to write a prayer for the school that was personal to St Benedict’s and kept in mind our value of stewardship – looking after the world around us. The children were told it was going to be used as our morning prayer throughout the school.”

The winning prayer was written by eight-year-old Erin McCarthy (Year 4):

Father in Heaven, as we begin this new day
We offer you all that we think, do and say.
You made the earth for us all to enjoy,
Young and old, girl or boy.
Help us to keep it safe, clean and bright
As we look after each other until the night.
We will recycle and help to keep the environment new,
Walk to school, pick up litter to name just a few.
Keep us in your loving arms as we go on our way.
Thank you for the world as we begin this new day.

The article also notes that Stewardship of Creation is one of the ten defining features of a Benedictine school and environmental issues are an important part of the curriculum at St Benedict’s. The Junior School is now working towards its Silver Eco Award.


Connecting Ecology, Economics, Food, and Justice

In an article titled Caring for the Good News of Creation and its Fruits: Food, Justice, and Economic Cooperation (page 41), University of Notre Dame theology professor Margaret Pfeil addresses the connections between ecology, economics, food and justice. Dr. Pfeil notes that [w]e are now facing a triple convergence of crisis, each of which threatens our survival: climate, energy, and food. She particularly addresses the impact of large-scale agribusiness on both the environment and economic justice. In response to many of the challenges posed by factory-farming, Dr. Pfeil identifies local food cooperatives a more sustainable and just alternative to modern food production practices. In particular, Dr. Pfeil reflects on how a class that she taught at Notre Dame, Synergoi: The Theological Ethics of Food Cooperatives, founded the Monroe Park Grocery Food Cooperative in South Bend, Indiana.


SUN COME UP Screenings Continue: Resources for Earth Day

Based on the success of the Sun Come Up film screening project that the Coalition sponsored in October 2012 for the Feast of St. Francis, each of the three study guides has been revised in preparation for Earth Day on April 22. These revisions have streamlined the entire event to 90 minutes, and you can find the revised College, Parish, and Youth editions of the Eductation Kit on the Sun Come Up Resource page.

Aging Resources

Alzheimer’s from the Frontlines: Challenges a National Alzheimer’s Plan Must Address” 

This publication is a collective effort by thousands of Americans who share the real struggles they face in dealing with the disease. The full report by the Alzheimer’s Association can be viewed by clicking here.

Ready, Set, Retire. Or Not

Thinking about retiring or are you one of the 69% of workers who will continue working as a result of tapping into your retirement account? Use the retirement calculator to see when you should retire. To access, click here.

Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2012

This report answers the most frequently asked questions about the programs administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration. To download the entire 44-page publication, click here. 

Florida Partners For Promise

What happens when businesses engage in community? Families Prosper!  A new website has been launched by the Department of Children and Families which encourages businesses to become involved in key community topics – including the promise to “support our seniors”. To learn more, click here.

Advocacy Efforts

Join Catholic leaders: Call on Congress to do the right thing

In this Year of Faith, Catholic leaders are calling on members of Congress to protect human life and dignity. As part of Catholics Confront Global Poverty, the main issues to raise with lawmakers are protecting poverty-focused international assistance and maintaining funding for assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the U.S.

They will also urge support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in our country, a focus on reuniting families, improved temporary worker programs and addressing the root causes of why people are compelled to leave their home countries. You can add your support to these issues electronically. Click here to contact your members of Congress today and let them know that you support the Church’s message to protect human life and dignity.