Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates





Advent Resources from Catholic Relief Services

Prayer Booklet:

CRS has a new online resource booklet that can be printed out, along with a power point of the images in the booklet that can be displayed while praying the rosary.

If you are interested in additional information on the CRS iNeighbor program, please contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, or call: 407-246-4819.


Scheduled Execution Prayer and Action Alert

Manuel Pardo is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, December 11 at 6 p.m. Please pray for Mr. Pardo, his family, the victim’s family and friends, that they will continue to receive healing through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; for all the public officials involved in this scheduled execution; for Governor Scott, that he will discern God’s will and apply the teachings of our Catholic faith on the death penalty. Please refer to the petitions and bulletin insert below. There is a bus that will transport those who wish to participate in the prayer service held outside the prison just before the execution, leaving from Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Daytona Beach at 2:30 p.m.   If you would like to schedule a prayer service for your parish or want more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, or 407-246-4819.

Sample Bulletin Announcement


The U. S. Catholic Bishops have called all Catholics to participate in a campaign to achieve the abolishment of the death penalty, see:

Our bishops have stated that, “At a time when the sanctity of life is threatened in many ways, taking life is not really a solution but may instead effectively undermine respect for life.” This pending execution gives Florida Catholics the opportunity to be a part of the campaign in a very personal way. Our hearts and lives must have special space for the victims and their loved ones as well. But let it be known that “standing with families of victims does not compel us to support the use of the death penalty” (U.S. Bishops). For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, 407-246-4819.

Sample Petitions for Liturgy

  • For men and women who sit on death row awaiting the end of their life.
  • For the victims of violence and hatred, that they may be freed from pain and fear.
  • For the loved ones of those who have suffered death at the hands of another person, may their hearts experience the healing and reconciling power of the Spirit.
  • For the families of those condemned to die, that the hope of the resurrection and the truth of the Gospel of life might strengthen them in their time of need.
  • May the witness of the Church to the sacredness of all life, even of those who have done evil acts, serve to call our nation to a new awakening in responding to crime and determining punishment.


Interfaith Prayer for Peace: January 17th, 7pm, St. Margaret Mary, Winter Park

Bishop John Noonan invites the Catholic community to join in prayer with members of other faith communities asking God to lead us to justice and peace. A reception will immediately follow the prayer service. For more information please call us at 407-246-4819 or email


Prayer Service for Christian Unity

Our Lord has called us to be one. Join Bishop John Noonan as he prays for Christian Unity with leaders from other Christian communities in Central Florida. The service will be hosted by Bishop Gregory Brewer and will be hosted by the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Luke in Downtown Orlando on January 25th from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. with a reception immediately following. For more information please call us at 407-246-4819 or email


World Day of Peace: January 1 – “Blessed Are the Peacemakers”

In his 2013 Message for the World Day of Peace (January 1), Pope Benedict XVI reminds us at that we all have a role to play in building peace in our communities and world. His 2013 Message focuses on human dignity, rights and responsibilities, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris. Share this two-page handout with Catholics in your diocese well in advance so they plan an opportunity for reflection on how they are called to be peacemakers. Get the handout.


Involve Youth in CCHD through Multi-Media Youth Contest – Now Bilingual!

CCHD has exciting news regarding the annual Multi-Media Youth Contest. The Catholic publisher RCL Benziger is now helping to sponsor the contest. In addition to the current monetary prizes of $500, $375, $250, and $50 with matching grants to CCHD groups, the school or parish of national winners will now also receive gifts certificates for publications from RCL Benziger. RCL is also creating a professional traveling exhibit to take national winner entries to various conferences around the United States throughout the year.

Invite schools and parishes in your diocese to participate in this year’s contest, now through March! The 2013 theme is “Be a Disciple! Put Two Feet of Love in Action“-the contest is a great opportunity to teach about the new two feet model. Educators lead participants through 5 easy steps to learn about U.S. poverty, CCHD’s response, and the Two Feet of Love in Action.

The contest can be facilitated by any diocesan office – for example, the CCHD, Parish Social Ministry, Youth Ministry, Religious Education, Catholic Schools, or Hispanic Ministry office, so this is a great opportunity to partner with and educate your diocesan colleagues about CCHD. Finally, in addition to selecting winners to send on to the national contest, you can also feel free to hold a more extensive contest locally in which you celebrate as many local winners as you like. Visit the contest materials now in English and Spanish. We hope you will participate. Deadline is March 1 and winners will be honored at the Diocese of Orlando Annual Light of Faith Awards in April.


Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession
The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Augustine Catholic Church (375 North Sunset Dr., Casselberry) on Saturday, January 5, 2012 beginning with Mass at 9am. After Mass we will drive to St. Mary Magdalen (861 Maitland Ave. Altamonte Springs) and start our rosary procession from there. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819;


Conversion in the Year of Faith

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 and relativist 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 Saturday February 23, 2013 from 12pm-4:15pm. Keynote speaker will be Rev. Ben Berinti, C.Pp.S. To RSVP and for more details please contact the Advocacy and Justice Office at 407-246-4819 or email us at


March for Life-St. Augustine 2013

You are invited to register for the March for Life in St. Augustine on January 19th, 2013. Every year hundreds of people from all over our state get together to celebrate and defend life and we want you to join us for this great public witness. The keynote speaker will be Mark Houck from The King’s Men, a Catholic men’s ministry dedicated to “building men in the mold of Leader, Protector, and Provider”. Buses are available and youth groups are welcome.  Please see the flyer for more information and to register. Check out the video from last year:


Catholic Days at the Capitol (Tallahassee)

Join us as we meet and build relationships with our legislative representatives and Catholic bishops from all across Florida in our state’s capital, Tallahassee. It is a great opportunity to advocate on social issues and church teachings. We will be in Tallahassee from March 19th to the 21st. Register here!


 Thank you to the Thousands of Volunteers Who Made the November 18, Catholic Relief Services Million Meals Campaign a Success!

The Million Meal Challenge was an incredibly successful event on Sunday, November 18th.  Over 3,000 volunteers came to share in and learn about issues of poverty both locally and internationally.  Catholic Charities was on hand to discuss the many different programs that make great change in Central Florida.  Volunteers worked from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. to package 500,688 meals, a tremendous success!  The meals were inspected by customs and on their way to leave the port of Jacksonville just 30 minutes after the packaging finished.  Thank you to the many parishes and schools in the Diocese who participated both in the event and in the pre-education.  For more information on the meals as they make their way across the ocean see 



Celebrate Poverty Awareness Month in January

January is Poverty Awareness Month! This simple calendar offers suggestions for learning and action on U.S. poverty for each day during the Month. In January, join others around the country in prayer, reflection, learning and action to address the root causes of poverty in the U.S. Send this new resource to parishes in your diocese now so that they can plan to use it during the month of January. Diocesan staff can also utilize the Twitter-length suggestions for each day of the month to get out the word about poverty via social media during January. Download the 1-page calendar.




Christmas Gifts that Support Economic Development in Poor Communities

This Christmas, help Catholics make gift choices that support economic development projects in low-income communities in the U.S. and around the world! The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic bishops, provides grants to groups that help low-income people start small businesses. Learn about–and support–some of these featured businesses. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) works with fair trade programs and projects overseas to help communities overcome poverty globally. Learn about-and support-CRS fair trade. 



Catholics Confront Global Poverty Website Feature: The Witness of the Church

The new Catholics Confront Global Poverty (CCGP) website, at, seeks to draw Catholics into solidarity with the real faces and stories of our brothers and sisters in poverty around the world, and to propel us to action. The Witness of the Church page in the “Our Faith & Global Poverty” section, features stories from the U.S. and around the world about what communities, parishes, universities, religious communities, and others are doing to confront global poverty. Do you have a story to feature? You can Tell Us Your Story for possible feature on the website.


 Alternative Gift Giving

Three opportunities to support Catholic organizations.

Are you looking for a great gift for Christmas that not only reduces your carbon footprint, but also serves the poor and vulnerable?  A gift given in honor of a friend or loved one to any or all of the following organizations saves you postage, wrapping paper, and avoids the materialism and consumption promoted at this time of year.

Gifts given:

  • To the  Catholic Coalition on Climate Change support the educational projects like Sun Come Up, ongoing outreach to youth and colleges, and development of new resources to reach more Catholics about the need for faithful response to the urgency of climate change. 
  • To the Catholic Charities USA (a member of the Coalition) support the relief efforts to those people sorely impacted by hurricane Sandy, which most scientists agree was more severe due to climate change.
  • To the Catholic Relief Services (a member of the Coalition) support the many relief and development projects serving poor and vulnerable people around the world through the Gift of Hope Catalog. Reward everyone on your list with a gift from CRS Fair Trade! Not only do we know where your gift was made, but we know the artisan group that made it. The new  VillageWorks Collection is a gorgeous collaboration between volunteer designer Frank Millero and artisans in Cambodia. Join our chain of mutual support this season and shop the bags, scarves, and ties in our new VillageWorks Collection. Watch their beautiful video, Cambodia: People Support People.

SHOP NOW: This Christmas, give gifts that give back twice! Shop the Eco Friendly Collection to find handmade gifts that are good for the earth, and people too.  Every item in this collection contains recycled materials like paper, metal or rubber, and each purchase celebrates the hope and promise of the Christmas season by providing opportunities to hard working families around the world. When you shop CRS Fair Trade, you’re not only acting as a good steward of God’s creation, you’re also contributing to the CRS Fair Trade Fund and filling the world with peace and joy.


Coalition of Immokalee Farmworkers

During the holidays, as we enjoy the bounty of the harvest made possible by farmworkers, many of us will gather with friends and family, take pause, and give thanks for our blessings.  As such, the CIW has released a short Thanksgiving-themed video that reflects on something for which farmworker and consumer families alike are grateful this year: the Fair Food Program. The powerful video is accompanied by a petition asking Publix Supermarkets to come to the table for dialogue and to “demonstrate that it values the hard work of farmworkers who make possible the food we share this holiday.” Please sign and share widely!


Canadian Catholics, Others Critical

Starting November 26 and continuing through this Friday, the United Nations is holding the Eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) climate change negotiations.  In preparation for this meeting, a recent article notes that several Catholic institutions in Canada have called on the Environment Minister Peter Kent to do more to prevent a warmer, less livable planet.

The Canadian Council of Churches sent a letter, signed by the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference, to Minister Kent that calls for Kent and his government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, provide more leadership for international adaptation funding and develop a comprehensive national energy plan.

Additionally, CIDSE spokesperson Roland Scholtalbers, said Canada’s announcement of withdrawal (from the Kyoto Protocol) and to decide to retract your commitment to emission reductions, that is a bad sign. CIDSE, represents 15 European Catholic development agencies plus the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Moreover, Simon Appolloni, who teaches religion and environmental ethics at the University of Toronto and Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, said, There was a time when Canada was concerned about more than itself.  This present government seems overly concerned with money and maintaining business at all costs, with a myopic vision of being some great oil-producing powerhouse nation in the future.


Do the Right Thing at Doha Climate Talks

A recent article notes: The Caritas confederation of Catholic aid agencies (Caritas Internationalis), under the authority of the Pope, believes in climate justice. This means that those most affected by climate change impacts have access to the finances, knowledge and technology resources required for adaptation and mitigation.

Caritas declares: the issues at stake at COP18 are, above all, ethical in nature: our duty as stewards of Creation requires us all, and decision-makers especially, to act responsibly, in solidarity with one another, putting aside individual interests for the sake of the common good. We advocate climate justice to ensure that the most affected by climate change impacts (and who have contributed the least to it) have open access to the financial, knowledge and technology resources required for climate adaptation and mitigation.

Towards that end, Caritas has published a full statement with recommendations.


National Conference of Catholic Women Issue Two St. Francis Care for Creation Awards

The National Council of Catholic Women, a member of the Coalition, reports that,Two award presentations were held this month for the St. Francis Care for Creation Award.  St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic School in Two Rivers, WI, received their award during the morning mass on November 8. The award was presented by Jeanette Knauf-Masanz, NCCW Province Director of Milwaukee.  On November 9, Judy Powers presented the award to St. Juliana Catholic School in West Palm Beach, FL.  Both recipient schools participated in year-long activities and lesson plans dedicated to understanding the effects of climate change and caring for the environment based on the principles of the Church’s social teachings.

Designed in conjunction with the Coalition, NCCW says that, To receive the St. Francis Care for Creation Award, Catholic schools demonstrated specific actions as they related to the five tenets of the St. Francis Pledge: Pray, Learn, Assess, Act, and Advocate.  Three other schools will receive awards later this year.  Learn more about how your school can apply for a St. Francis Care for Creation Award.


National Catholic Rural Life Conference Highlights Climate Report

Citing a World Bank study, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, a Coalition member, sent the following correspondence to its members: A new report suggests time may be running out to temper the rising risks of climate change. Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4ºC Warmer World Must Be Avoided warns we’re on track for a warmer world marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.  Moreover, adverse effects of a warming climate are “tilted against many of the world’s poorest regions” and likely to undermine development efforts and global development goals, says the study. The report urges “further mitigation action as the best insurance against an uncertain future.” Take a look at NCRLC’s Faith-Based Study Guide on Climate Change that can be read or downloaded from


Advocacy Efforts

Farm Bill Reauthorization: 1-Year Extension Most Likely Outcome

 Among the items of unfinished business that could still come up in the 112th Congress lame-duck session is a vote on the 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization. The House Republican leadership, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), indicated that there could be potential movement on this crucial piece of legislation.

During the lame-duck session, which began November 13th and will end on December 31, 2012, the House leadership has three options. First, they could move the House Agriculture Committee’s bill (HR 6083) to the House floor; second, they could fold the House bill or the Senate version (S. 3240) into a deficit reduction package to take advantage of the bill’s savings (HR 6083 proposes to save $35 billion over 10 years while S. 3240 would save $23 billion); or third, they could pass a one-year extension of the current farm law and let the next Congress pass a five-year reauthorization.

Senior leadership staff reports that the very tight legislative schedule makes it more likely that the one-year extension will prevail. There simply will not be enough time on the legislative schedule with the legislation related to the “Fiscal Cliff” being the number one priority for the lame-duck session.

A petition with more than 20,000 signatures was delivered to Congress demanding an equitable, sustainable 2012 Farm Bill. This was supplemented by calls and emails to the offices of many Representatives.

Thank you to those who signed the petition and sent messages to Congress.  If House leaders decide to delay a new farm bill by extending the old one, then we still need to make sure important modifications and reforms are included.  Visit  Farm Bill page at the NCRLC website


Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Funding

There is a strong likelihood that a supplemental appropriations bill could be passed during the lame-duck session to deal with the overwhelming needs left in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Appropriations Subcommittee is likely to propose that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may need an additional $5 billion on top of its current fiscal $7.1 billion budget. The current continuing resolution funding the government until March 2013 will not be enough to meet the massive need as a result of Hurricane Sandy.


Aging Resources

Fraud Protection Resource Guide

Learn how to protect yourself from scams, fraud and deceptive practices – before they happen. This guide also contains information on local, state and national resources available to help consumers who suspect fraud has occurred. Click here to download a copy or send an email to Mimi to request a hard copy. 


Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7

Remember, you have until December 7 to make sure your health and drug coverage still meets your needs. If you’re happy with your current coverage, you don’t need to do anything. But make sure you understand any changes to your plan’s costs or benefits for 2013. For more information, click here, or call the Elder Helpline by dialing “2-1-1” to talk with a Shine counselor.


Free Workshop: “How To Communicate When Logic Doesn’t Work” 

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center will present an overview on dementia, with an emphasis on communication and behavioral issues.  This free workshop will be held on Saturday, December 15 from 10 a.m. to Noon, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m.  Golden Pond Assisted Living Community in Winter Garden will host this event.  RSVP by December 10 to Cindi at 407-843-1910, ext 301.