Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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Respect Life Sunday, October 7 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Respect Life Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday in October, as designated by the U.S. Bishops. This year’s theme is: “Faith Opens Our Eyes to Human Life In All Its Grandeur and Beauty”.  Every parish will receive a USCCB packet with liturgical ideas and educational resources on timely social issues, including: Religious Liberty, Conscience Protection in Healthcare, assisted suicide, Marriage, Pornography, Contraceptives. This year’s liturgy guide offers Intercessions for Life, suggested preaching reflections for Respect Life Sunday and January 22, a Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life as well as a Prayer Service for Forgiveness and Healing.

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program brings Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, service and advocacy.  Respect Life Sunday is observed in virtually all of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. All resources will be available in English and Spanish and may be ordered or downloaded. If your parish needs resources or assistance in planning an event or educational opportunity to celebrate the sacredness of human life during October, call the Office of Advocacy and Justice, 407-246-4819.

Florida Bishops Sponsored Respect Life Conference – October 12-13

The Annual Respect Life Conference is a statewide event sponsored by the Florida Catholic Conference and Florida’s Diocesan Respect Life Directors. With an outstanding lineup of Pro-Life speakers, this year’s conference is sure to invigorate the Respect Life movement, motivate and inspire new leaders and prepare the faithful for challenges that lie ahead.  There is alsois also a separate FREE Youth Track for high-school students from 2 – 5 PM, October 13, 2012.  For more details and to register, please click here. The deadline for registration is October 1, 2012.

Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Retreat:  Nov 2-4, 2012 at San Pedro Center in Winter Park

If you have been affected by abortion and need healing, community and the love of God, this retreat is for you.  This confidential retreat offers a safe, non-judgmental environment where women and men find healing and reconciliation for their painful experience of abortion.  For more information or to register, please contact Karen at 321.662.5097 or karenreilly57@gmail.com.  For additional information about Rachel’s Vineyard, please visit www.rachelsvineyard.org or contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice 407-246-4820.  

CRS Million Meal Challenge Orlando – November 18

Do you have a heart for mission and service but aren’t quite sure what to do?  Do you have limited time and resources and want to go somewhere to help?  On November 18th at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel during the hours of 9-12, 12-3, and 3-6 we are BRINGING THE MISSION TO YOU!  The Orlando Million Meal Challenge. Sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, Stop Hunger Now in collaboration with educational partner the Diocese of Orlando and Catholic Charities will be both:  highlighting issues of local poverty and packaging ONE MILLION MEALS for the third poorest country in the world, Burkina Faso.  This all age, family friendly day will fulfill your desire to answer our baptismal call to take care of the poor.  Please sign up online at www.MMOrlando.org – sign up as parish teams, families or individuals.  The event is free.  Pre-educational talks/workshops are available to all groups and are presented by the Diocese/Catholic Charities.  Please email Stephanie Bosse at rlointern@orlandodiocese.org or call 407-246-4822 for more information.

European Churches Call for a Green Economy

Several news outlets report that changes to tackle climate change were discussed by over 90 participants from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches from 22 countries at the 9th Assembly of the European Churches Environment Network (ECEN) this week.

Held at Elspeet in the Netherlands, the theme of ‘Eco-Justice, Growth and Hope’ concentrated on the tensions between the desire for conventional economic growth and the increasing ecological threats to Planet Earth . . . Delegates spoke of difficulties and struggles in all their countries; a combination of the effects of climate change, environmental destruction with loss of biodiversity and resources such as water, and the ongoing global economic crisis is challenging people and communities across our whole society. And churches are encouraged to be stronger advocates for creative change in the face of these growing concerns.

The article notes that [s]peakers referred to the need to move away from the current inequitable and unstable economic situation, towards a more just and sustainable economy.  The report also notes that ECEN is supported by the Conference of European Churches and the European Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and its work is supported by the World Council of Churches and other partners.

Advocacy Efforts

Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Waiting on Congress

As Congress returns from the August recess, the future of federal food and farm policy is still uncertain. If Congress does not pass a farm bill before September 30, many critical programs that support farms and rural communities and work to fight hunger in our country and around the world will expire.

We need a farm bill that will strengthen federal nutrition programs, help our struggling rural communities, support new and socially disadvantaged farmers, and encourage farming and ranching practices that protect God’s creation.

Reach out to your Representative’s office this week: ask him or her to work to pass a farm bill before the end of September.

Visit our NCRLC website to see what changes need to be made in the final farm bill to ensure a secure and healthy food production system.

Options for Congress on the Farm Bill

We continue to call for immediate action on authorizing a new farm bill, but the political reality is that House leadership will seek an extension. This could be a short-term extension going into the lame duck session later this year, or a one-year extension to allow a new Congress next year to reauthorize the farm bill.

Regardless of how long the extension might be, it is crucial that the right kind of programs and the right levels of funding are in place.

For more details about the current status of the farm bill, click here to read the latest blog from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Preparing for Food Days in October

Harvest time is a good time to think about food: how it is grown, who cultivates it, and why do some people still go hungry despite surpluses of food? This World Food Day, October 16, is a good opportunity to do so. But other “food days” are also planned during the month of October.

These include Bread for the World Sunday and a growing national event simply called Food Day. There’s also an initiative by Oxfam America called the GROW Campaign. Here at NCRLC, we believe all these “food days” fit well with our own Ethics of Eating campaign. We also offer a faith-based study guide called Food Security and Economic Justice that can be downloaded from our website.

Click here to learn more about October Food Days.