Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates


Bread for the World’s Study Guide on 2012 Hunger Report 

Climate Impacts Hitting Africans Hard
Free Webinar on Air Pollution and Heart Disease
Free Webinar: Loyola University New Orleans on Sustainability and Catholic Mission

New Partner: College of St. Benedict
New Resource: Preach-In on Climate Change
Papal Prayer Intentions Include Creation
Peace in the Holy Land Webinar

Understanding and Overcoming Poverty in America 


Peace in the Holy Land Webinar
Please join Catholic Relief Services and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for an online Catholics Confront Global Poverty discussion on:
A New Year and a New Hope for Peace in the Holy Land: Pursuing Peace following the Arab Spring on January 25, 2012 from 1:00-2:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time RSVP now

Background: A new year brings with it promise for a renewed commitment to bring about peace for our brothers and sisters living in the Holy Land. This all takes place in the backdrop of last year’s Arab Spring, which brought about the toppling of regimes throughout the region. 

Join us for:

  • An update on how the Church is working to support our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land on the ground and through advocacy in the wake of the Arab Spring;
  • A discussion of USCCB and CRS’ policy recommendations for how the U.S. can make a difference based on Catholic social teaching and our experience; and
  • Suggestions for how Catholics in the U.S., through the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative, can support peace in the Holy Land.

For more information:


Papal Prayer Intentions Include Creation
According to the Catholic News Agency, The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions for the year 2013.  Among the intentions, the Holy Father will emphasize global respect for human life and the environment.  This is particularly true of the Holy Father’s general prayer intention for March 2013: That respect for nature will grow, with the awareness that all creation is the work of God entrusted to human responsibility. This month, Pope Benedict XVI continues to pray [t]hat the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives.


Climate Impacts Hitting Africans Hard

As scientists have been saying, Africa will be particularly hard-hit by climate change.  Their sober predictions are today being felt in the Horn of Africa.  U.S. Catholic reports that dramatically changing and unpredictable weather patterns create food stresses and climate change-induced drought is forcing farmers to abandon centuries-long practices defined by distinct agricultural seasons.  In light of these food challenges,  [t}he Ethiopian Catholic Church has convened regional meetings on climate change and has worked with its partners such as [Coalition member] Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Church’s Caritas network to initiate humanitarian projects focused on food security.

A recent Catholic News Service story helps personalize the struggles of many in Africa:  African women struggle more than others in food crisis.  When there are regional or national traumas like drought, men in rural areas leave to find work and leave behind women and children . . . But when men do not return, women are forced to look for work that causes them to migrate to the nearest town. Dr. Dehab Belay, an HIV/AIDS specialist with CRS’s Ethiopia program, points out that [w]omen don’t have ownership of land, so women are already economically disadvantaged, and even at the level of household economy, women and girls are the last to eat. 
Read more here


New Partner: College of St. Benedict

The College of St. Benedict (CSB) in Collegeville, Minnesota, has become the fourth Catholic college to become a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner and have formally endorsed the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.  CSB joins the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), Saint Michael’s College (Vermont) and Salve Regina University (Rhode Island).

In the official press release, President MaryAnn Baenninger said, As a Benedictine institution, we are committed to the values of stewardship and respect for persons.  The St. Francis Pledge is consistent with the sustainable practices we already enact and value at College of Saint Benedict, and consonant with our Benedictine mission and heritage.  The release also notes that CSB’s Sustainability Council endorsed the signing of the Pledge and it will be incorporated into CSB’s sustainability master plan.  Judy Purman, CSB sustainability director, says that Catholic Climate Covenant Partnership will help us further integrate our sustainability efforts into our Catholic mission. 

The College of Saint Benedict was a key partner in the development of Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration this past year.  To learn more about CSB’s sustainability efforts, click here. 


Free Webinar: Loyola University New Orleans on Sustainability and Catholic Mission

On Wednesday, February 8, the Coalition will partner with Loyola University New Orleans and offer free and to the public: Catholics and the Climate: Fostering Mission-Based Sustainability, a one-hour webinar beginning at 8:00 pm CST.

Most Reverend William S. Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of Spokane, Honorary Chairperson of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change and Past President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will address the centrality of creation for Catholics, the importance of environmental sustainability and the link between sustainability and mission for Catholic institutions.  Dan DiLeo, Project Manger with the Coalition, will share the Coalition’s new resource Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration.

Participants will then join a Q & A period co-moderated by Thomas Ryan, Ph.D., Director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry at Loyola University New Orleans and Kathleen O’Gorman, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Loyola.  For information about the webinar and the Loyola Institute for Ministry, click here.


Free Webinar on Air Pollution and Heart Disease
Next Tuesday, January 24, the Catholic Health Association of the United States will offer a free webinar. Green Heart: Air Pollution and the Heart Disease, A Webinar for Healthcare Professionals.  It will discuss the importance of awareness about air pollution and its potential health impacts on the heart.  Speakers include Dr. Wayne Cascio, MD, from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development; Sara Dubowsky Adar, Sc.D., from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health; and Susan Stone, EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.  The webinar will be broadcast from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm EST.  Please register here by January 23rd. 


New Resource:  Preach-In on Climate Change
Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) invite clergy of all religions, lay leaders, and green team members from across the country to participate in the National Preach-In on Climate Change over Valentine’s Day weekend, February 10-12.

IPL has a variety of free, downloadable resources including:

  • Denomination-specific liturgical and thematic notes (Dan Misleh of the Coalition developed the Catholic community version) to help in the preparation of sermons, reflections, devotionals, Bible studies, and youth activities.
  • Ready-to-go sample sermons on climate change.
  • Climate change fact sheet and bulletin inserts.
  • Valentine’s Day postcards for policy makers.
  • Clean Air Promise Sign-up Sheet.
    To download these resources visit the IPL website.


Understanding and Overcoming Poverty in America 

The causes of poverty are complex. Yet there is much we can do to address the root causes. The first step to solving any problem is understanding it: educating ourselves and others about the true state of American poverty, its enormity, conditions and effects. To help in this effort, the U.S. Bishops have designated January as Poverty in America Awareness Month. Visit this website to learn how to reach out to students, teachers, families and others. Together we can raise consciousness and encourage action to help the 37 million Americans who struggle daily in the grip of poverty.


Alabama’s Immigration After-Shock: Loss to Agriculture
Ever since Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed the nation’s strictest immigration measure into law, he’s faced criticism from religious leaders and immigrant advocates. Now Bentley himself admits that the HB 56 needs to be retooled. Migrant workers have fled the state; farmers have been unable to attract American workers. According to columnist Raul Reyes, “HB 56 has been a disaster for agriculture, Alabama’s No. 1 industry.”

Read more online at


Would you like to learn more about immigrant issues? Would you like to DO more? Visit Justice for Immigrants and join their action network as we here at NCRLC have done.


Bread for the World’s Study Guide on 2012 Hunger Report 

Bread for the World has created a study guide to help Christian groups explore their 2012 Hunger Report. The study guide for Updating U.S. Food and Farm Policies features six small-group sessions designed to facilitate discussion and action. Each session includes a Biblical reflection, discussion questions, activities, and an invitation to act.

Be sure to check out NCRLC Food & Justice Study Guide. You can either download the study guide from our website, or order a print copy. Small group sessions are encouraged and a Leader’s Guide is available to help with that.