Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates





A Journey of Faith and Justice

This all day free retreat will challenge you to put your faith into action while providing times for prayer, reflection, and dialogue. Join us on August 4, 2012 at St. Peter Catholic Church (359 New York Ave., Deland) from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Fr. Tom Connery, Pastor of St. Peter’s Parish and Fr. Chris Hoffmann, Pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish are featured presenters. For more information or to register to attend contact: Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819;

Catholic Relief Service – Million Meals Challenge

This November 18, Catholic Relief Services will sponsor “The Million Meals Challenge Orlando,” the first of its kind volunteer driven meal packing event  at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel on International Drive. Catholics in Central Florida and the community at large together will package ONE MILLION meals for a small impoverished country in Africa, Burkina Faso.  Individuals and families, youth groups and organizations are invited to join in solidarity to see, touch and package a meal that will be here in Orlando one day and the next day feeding someone who hasn’t had a meal for weeks in Africa.  Registration is available at: for more information call the Office of Advocacy and Justice at 407-246-4822 or email:

Faithful Citizenship Presentation

On September 24, 7 – 9 p.m. at Annunciation Catholic Church, Bishop John Noonan, Diocese of Orlando, Kathy Saile, Director of Domestic Policy at the USCCB, and Michael Sheedy, Associate Director for Health at the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops will present on important election issues and Church teaching. Topics include:

  • How to inform you conscience
  • What are the threats to our religious freedom
  • Why the Church supports Amendment 6 and 8
  • What is the Catholic’s role in political participation

Register to attend by emailing: or call: 407-246-4819.

Bishops Welcome Inclusion of Conscience Provisions in House Appropriate Bill

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor/HHS “took a first, urgently needed step toward upholding rights of conscience and religious freedom in our health care system,” by including two key provisions in its appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013, according to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo welcomed the inclusion of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA, HR 361) and the policy of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR 1179) in the appropriations bill, July 18, saying it will “strengthen federal protections for health care providers who decline to take part in abortions, and will ensure that the Affordable Care Act allows Americans to purchase health coverage without being forced to abandon their deeply held religious and moral convictions on matters such as abortion and sterilization.”   The full text of Cardinal DiNardo’’s letter is available online: click here.

Fracking Conversation Follow-up

Two weeks ago, you may have read the story of the panel discussion about the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that enables the release oil and natural gas deposits in Ohio.  It was hosted by the Dioceses of Cleveland and Youngstown.  The National Catholic Reporter has described the event in greater detail in this article.

This week, Dr. Jame Schaefer’s (associate professor of theology at Marquette University) remarks as they provide an ethical framework to help judge this extraction technique through the lens of Catholic social teaching.  Among her comments she said:

A theological context of the goodness of creation to address hydraulic fracturing of the shale beds in this area of the Appalachian Basin yields an understanding that the gas, shale, land, water, air, and various types of biological life are valuable both intrinsically–in themselves and instrumentally–for human use now and into the future. Our valuing them intrinsically and instrumentally can be demonstrated by being prudent, just, moderate, and steadfast in response to pressure to lease land and allow water to be used for fracking the shale for gas until requisite data are available to make informed decisions and sufficient safeguards are in place to assure the common good of the Basin’s sustainability.

Dr. Schaefer has graciously made the full text of her talk available.

House Committee on Agriculture Advances Farm Bill

Thank you for your continued advocacy for a Farm Bill that protects hungry people, preserves creation, supports family farmers, and helps rural communities thrive. On Thursday, July 12, the House Committee on Agriculture passed by a vote of 35-11, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM), the Committee’s version of the Farm Bill. In these past weeks, we have worked together to remind Congress that the moral measure of our nation’s agriculture policies is how they serve “the least of these.” Read the full update here.

Deferred Action for Immigrant Youth

On June 15, the White House announced that DREAM Act-eligible youth will be granted deferred action.  The criteria which would meet Department of Homeland Security approval include: young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. To read the full government press release, click here..” To read the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services summary of the announcement, in response to the announcement from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, see the Justice for Immigrants website homepage. 

Special Note:

Since the final regulations have not been published, no one knows for certain what the financial costs to obtain this “deferred action” will be.  Potential applicants are urged to contact either an accredited nonprofit immigration program or a licensed attorney.  Please stay away from “notaries” or other entities that are not authorized to practice immigration law.  If you know of anyone who needs more information or updates on this new program, please contact Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services at (407) 658-0110.    


Walking with the Two Feet of Love in Action Webinar

The Two Feet of Love in Action model describes two distinct, but complementary, ways that we can put love in action: Social Justice and Charitable Works. Tune into the webinar to learn how the model has been revised in the light of Pope Benedict XVI’s teachings on justice as foundational to social action; the common good; the integral importance of community and relationship; and the virtue of charity which enlivens and motivates our work.  Explore also how the Holy Father’s call for a New Evangelization sets a helpful framework for introducing this new model to your audiences.  RSVP for the webinar here.

Homily and Catholic Social Teaching Materials on the Dignity of Work

Share these homily helps and supplemental materials with clergy and parish leaders to raise awareness of the Catholic perspective on labor and employment concerns. Between July 29 and August 26, help spotlight the Church’s extensive teaching on the dignity of work and the rights of workers. Encourage faith-based responses to unemployment and under-employment in your area. Created in collaboration with Fr. Michael Seavey of the Diocese of Portland ME, this material can supplement the USCCB Labor Day statement, coming soon.

New Faithful Citizenship Videos and Audio Announcements Now Online!

Franciscan Media, with support from the USCCB Catholic Communications Campaign, has created a series of videos and public service announcements about Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship! Video topics include:


Faithful Citizenship Webinar for Family Life Ministers

How does Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship relate to everyday family life? In partnership with the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM), JPHD will offer a webinar on Families and Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship on August 16, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. If there is a family life ministry contact in your diocese, please share this invitation with them. They can RSVP for the webinar here.

News from Justfaith Ministries

Sanctity of All Life Module Now Available. As Catholics we believe that every human life is a gift from God, which is sacred from conception to natural death. Participants will explore the Church’s teaching on the consistent ethic of life, addressing the issues of abortion, in vitro fertilization, euthanasia and the death penalty in six sessions, plus a recommended field trip.   JustFaith Ministries is soliciting stories and photos about personal experiences of JFM programs to help local communities organize themselves to advance the Church’s social mission. To share stories of engagement in social justice activities, contact