Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates




January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Since 2008, January 11th has been observed as the “National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness”. This year, President Obama has also issued a proclamation declaring January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In observation of these events, a coalition of religious anti-trafficking advocates has organized a Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery and Trafficking to be held January 11-13. The coalition has organized several events that are open to nationwide participation and is making a number of prayer resources available, including a Prayer for Human Trafficking Awareness Day put together by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

U.S. Bishops Call for ‘Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage’ Surrounding 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities urges Catholics nationwide to participate in Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage, January 19-27, marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The intentions for these nine days will be for healing and conversion, for elected officials who support abortion and for all people whose lives have been forever changed by an abortion. Read more.

Florida Bishops Release their 40th Anniversary Roe v. Wade Statement:  Read the full statement


Join the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA) Postcard Campaign!

As we approach another anniversary of Roe V. Wade NCHLA is calling on the pro-life community to join in their postcard campaign to ask that our legislators respect life and religious freedom. Read more here. The Office of Advocacy and Justice will be organizing this effort with help from our parish pro-life coordinators across our nine-county diocese. Order forms and more information will be going to parishes within the next week.  For more information, call the Office of Advocacy and Justice at 407-246-4819 or email:


Calendar of Events

Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession
The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church (5125 S. Apopka Vineland Rd.) on Saturday, February 2 beginning with Mass at 8:30am. After Mass we will drive to Planned Parenthood (726 S. Tampa Ave, Orlando) and pray the rosary peacefully outside. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819; advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.orgSee flyer!

A Journey of Faith and Justice Retreat

The Office of Advocacy and Justice is hosting a free one day retreat, A Journey of Faith and Justice, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Saturday, February 16 from 9:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. It ends with liturgy. This retreat is an opportunity to reflect on Scripture’s call to justice and action. We will reflect, pray, and learn what it means to put our faith into action to help bring about a more just world. Lunch will be provided. Please call 407-246-4819 for more information or email


Linking Climate Change and Moral Judgments

In the online resource, EcoJesuit, Stephen Rooney highlights the work of two University of Oregon professors highlighting why climate change poses significant challenges to our moral judgment system.  In “Linking Climate Change and Moral Judgments” Rooney notes that there are six challenges:
1. Abstractness and cognitive complexity
2. The blamelessness of unintentional action
3. Guilty bias
4. Uncertainty breeds wishful thinking
5. Moral tribalism
6. Long time-horizons and far-away places

In response, the article proposes six strategies for overcoming the obstacles to recognizing and responding to climate change as a moral issue.  As the Church is primarily concerned about a moral society, these are instructive for our common efforts:
1. Use existing moral values
2. Burdens versus benefits
3. Emotional carrots, not sticks
4. Be wary of extrinsic motivators
5. Expand group identity
6. Highlight positive social norms


Twelfth-century Cistercian “Grateful Cooperation”

William L. Patenaude, blogger and author of the “Catholic Ecology” column for the Rhode Island Catholic, reflects on a 2002 paper by Jame Schaefer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology at Marquette University, who places into dialogue with the modern world a twelfth-century text that describes the surroundings of the Clairvaux abbey and the activities of the Cistercian monks that inhabited it. In Twelfth-century Cistercian “grateful cooperation” , Patenaude shares Dr. Schaefer’s contention that ecological awareness was a concern for the twelfth-century Cistercian monks of Clairvaux and offers a helpful framework that can guide contemporary efforts to maintain the integrity of God’s creation.  Patenaude concludes by saying, “Let us give our thanks to Dr. Schaefer, to those Cistercian monks of the Clairvaux abbey, and to the unknown author who has left for us a record of what it meant to be a Catholic ecologist in the twelfth century—a record that offers us much today.”


Advocacy Efforts

113th Congress Sworn In
The 112th Congress adjourned for the last time on Wednesday, making way for the swearing in of the 113th Congress of the United States. Eighty-four freshmen joined their returning colleagues for a swearing-in ceremony on Thursday. Impending legislation is expected to include gun control legislation and immigration reform, as well as an ongoing debate over entitlement reform, spending, and the debt ceiling. Key leadership in the House and Senate will remain the same.  For a legislative schedule for the 2013 calendar year, please visit the House and Senate websites, respectively.

2013 Farm Bill: Will Congress act this year?

Congress failed to authorize a new farm bill last year. So 2013 begins with a nine-month extension to the 2008 Farm Bill — which means that the newly-sworn 113th Congress will have to deal with a new farm bill this year. The fiscal-cliff settlement, which has extended the old farm bill until September 30, was frustrating to farm groups and others, including faith groups, who spent 2012 pushing new programs.

Hurricane Sandy Emergency Spending Vote Postponed in House

On December 28, the Senate passed a bill to provide $60.4 billion in emergency spending to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. The legislation included an additional $9.7 billion in borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program, $13 billion for mitigation projects, $11.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund and $10.8 billion to the Federal Transit Administration to rebuild public transit systems. It would also provide $17 billion for the Community Development Fund, with $500 million designated for regions that suffered major disasters or for “small, economically distressed areas.”

Justice for Immigrants Campaign

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ campaign for immigration reform, has launched a postcard campaign that calls on Congress to enact a fair and comprehensive solution to our nation’s broken immigration system. You can easily participate in the campaign by sending free, electronic postcards to your U.S. Senators and Representative asking that they pass legislation that provides a legal path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and for low-skilled laborers to work in the U.S., keeps immigrant families together, restores just enforcement policies, and addresses the root causes of migration. Please click here to visit the Justice for Immigrants website and send your postcards.  Do not delay, now is the time for Congress to act on this important issue.

Resources for Lent
Resources for Lenten Study, Reflection, and Action

With Lent just around the corner, the Coalition encourages you to consider some key resources that may help your Lenten season be more transformational:


CRS Rice Bowl

Coalition member, Catholic Relief Services, continues the Rice Bowl tradition with its faith formation program for use in parishes, schools, religious education programs and by families and individuals in the home. Participants pray together; give things up, or fast, in solidarity with those who hunger; learn about our global community and the challenges of hunger and poverty around the world; and give sacrificial donations to those in need.  Each year there is a focus on climate impacts as well as other international justice and poverty issues.


Lent 4.5

From the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center, Lent 4.5 Christian Simplicity is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.

Sr. Helen Prejean Featured at Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry

Sr. Helen Prejean will be featured at the 32nd National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry, “Building Bridges…..Not Walls,” May 19-21, 2013 in Orlando.  This event is hosted by the Diocesan Council of the St. Vincent de Paul.  For registration and information, see:


Understanding the Nexus of Food-Water-Energy

As part of our educational efforts around farm policy, NCRLC is beginning to explore the connective web – or nexus – of how we grow food, use water and produce energy. Members and readers of our Catholic Rural Life magazine will know what we have covered these topics in past issues; now we seek to better understand the connections and intricate relationships among these essential ecological and economic sectors.

Our network may be interested to read a new paper released by GRACE titled, “Food, Water and Energy: Know the Nexus.” The paper, which can be downloaded from their website, explains how tension among these three interwoven systems has consequences on our public health, economy and environment. They also share steps you can take – personally or professionally – to help.