Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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Annual Diocesan Youth for Life Rally
Parish Youth Ministry groups are invited to this event at Holy Family Parish on October 6 (Respect Life Weekend) from 3pm – 9pm.  The theme, “Mythbusters,” is based on 1 Timothy 4:7, dispelling the myths of popular culture. Workshop topics include:  images of girls and guys, death penalty and technology, among others. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Noonan. Cost is Free.  Space is limited so please register early.  For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice at advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org or see:  www.advocacyjustice.org.

Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession
The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church (526 North Park Ave., Winter Park) on Saturday, October 6, 2012 beginning with Mass at 8am. Following Mass we will drive to St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, Altamonte Springs, and process to the nearby abortion clinic on Maitland Ave. Please join us on this Respect Life weekend in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819; advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org

Living Will Forum
Do you have any questions about Advanced Directives and Living Wills or other end of life issues?  What is the difference between a Living Will and a Catholic Living Will?  When do ordinary means become extraordinary?  What is an Advance Directive?  Do you have a Health Care Surrogate who knows and understands your wishes regarding end of life issues?  If you have any questions and want to know what the Church teaching is on end-of-life issues, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, at 407-246-4819 to schedule a seminar for your parish.

Word of Life Intercessions and Bulletin Briefs
This USCCB resource contains Intercessions and Bulletin Briefs for every Sunday Mass during the year. You may find items for September and October in English and Spanish at:  www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/resources-for-the-eucharist/word-of-life/. Please forward this information to your parish liturgy coordinator as well as the person designated to create the bulletin.

Presentations Available from the Office of Advocacy and Justice
As schools and parish groups are planning their events this year, consider bringing in a speaker from the Office of Advocacy and Justice. We offer presentations on a variety of topics including:

  • Catholic Social Teaching
  • Faithful Citizenship
  • Stem Cell Research
  • Immigration
  • Death Penalty
  • Living Wills
  • Aging
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Post-Abortion
  • Social Justice
  • Fair Trade
  • and more!

To schedule a workshop or for more information; contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice: 407-246-4819, advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org.

Scheduled Execution in Florida: All Human Life is Sacred 
John Ferguson is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, October 16 at 6pm.  Please pray for Mr. Ferguson, 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 2:30pm.   If you would like to schedule a prayer service for your parish or want more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org or 407-246-4819.

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

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). 

Petitions

  • 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.

Renewing a Culture of Life Resource
Renewing a Culture of Life: The Death Penalty, Restorative Justice & Catholic Social Teaching is a publication of Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), produced in collaboration with the United States  Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Peace, Justice & Human Development. Its purposes are to continue to call attention to the bishops’ important 2005 statement A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, to increase awareness of more recent papal statements on the issue of the death penalty, and to record the gains that have been made toward the goal of ending the use of capital punishment in the United States. The booklet reflects the consistent commitment to the sanctity of human life that is central to Catholic teaching.  Order the booklet in English or Spanish. 

Feast of St. Francis Resources from the Catholic Health Association of the United States
The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), a proud member of the Coalition, has shared a number of innovative resources to help celebrate the Feast of St. Francis (October 4) at meetings, events, and, hopefully, throughout the year.  These include:
•    Feast of St. Francis Reflection Video (download here)
•    St. Francis’ The Canticle of the Sun
•    St. Francis Canticle of the Creatures Video Reflection

CHA is also taking this opportunity to remind people of its existing creation care resources, including:
•    Climate Change and Health: Is There A Role For The Health Care Sector?
•    Environmental Sustainability Getting Started Guide
•    Climate Change and Catholic Health Care Brochure
•    On-Demand PowerPoints for Use in Associate Education

Access all of CHA’s environmental resources, timely news and more on this important part of our Catholic mission.

Following the Lead of St. Francis
The Catholic Leader, official publication of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia, has published an article titled Following the Lead of St. Francis. The article describes that Franciscan Father Joe Rozansky wants more action and less talk.  Fr. Rozansky serves the Franciscan General Curia in Rome as director of the Secretariat for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) that . . . deals with environmental justice, which is the relationship between the environment and justice for people.

Fr. Rozansky says that As a Franciscan, it’s not just a matter a protecting nature, but it’s a question of environmental justice where we are concerned about nature because it’s part of a bigger relationship that we have with one another, the world, with God.  We need to take all of those relationships into question as we reflect on what’s going on in our world today.  In the article, Fr. Rozansky considers the challenges to the Church’s environmental justice ministry: I would say we need to continue to convince people that JPIC is who we are and need to help people to make it part of whatever they are doing.  Too often we talk about things and nothing happens.  Even if it’s something little we need to do something.  I think that as you take action, you begin to build on it.  You see that things are possible and you begin to think bigger and you look for allies. 

Upcoming Presentation at Marylhurst University
A press release from Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university 10 miles south of Portland, OR, describes that the University will co-sponsor and host a daylong forum that explores global climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective on Saturday, October 6.  Keynote speaker is Anthony Strawa, a microphysicist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and a member of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change. He’ll open the conference shortly after 10 a.m. with a presentation entitled “Science, Spirituality and the Work Ahead,” and also speak in the afternoon session about the Catholic position on climate change.

Dr. Strawa is one of 21 Catholic Climate Ambassadors trained by the Coalition who are available to offer presentations on the moral implications of climate change consistent with Catholic teaching as outlined by our Holy Father in his World Day of Peace Message of 2010, If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation, and in the U.S. Catholic bishops’ statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good

Leader of Church in Fiji Hits Hard on Greed, Consumption and Environmental Degradation
A recent story reports that the head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Petero Mataca, has pointed out the reality that consumption patterns driven by greed have led to the abuse of nature.

We have not learned the lesson that the problems confronting the world are a result of our lack of good stewardship, placing, instead, our economic and financial considerations above environment issues, Archbishop Mataca said.  We are destroying the basis of our lives for a pittance and not taking counsel from the Biblical statement, he said.

Archbishop Mataca said the “misplaced priorities” had been worsened by the fact that politicians had been voted to power not on the basis of how they would protect our already fragile environment, but by their development programs in pursuit of economic growth, irrespective of whether those so-called development programs would worsen environmental destruction.

Resources

PovertyUSA.org Monthly Feature: Poverty Map
Have you visited the new, interactive PovertyUSA.org website yet? If you haven’t already, check out the Poverty Map. On the map, you can explore statistics on poverty by state or county. In the county-level view, you can also see markers on the map of where CCHD-funded groups are working to confront poverty in their communities.

New Youth Session Guide, Spanish Materials on Two Feet of Love in Action
The Two Feet model helps disciples on mission to put the Gospel in action in two distinct, but complementary, ways: social justice and charitable works. Several new materials are available to educate about this foundational model:

  • Session for Teens – Includes interactive, creative activities and materials to help high school age participants learn about the Two Feet.
  • The Brochure, Handout, and Facilitator’s Guide are now also available in Spanish. Access these on the English and Spanish Two Feet pages.
  • You can now order the brochures in packs of 50 from USCCB Publishing in English or Spanish.

Multi-Media Youth Contest Materials Available on the Two Feet
Calling all parishes and schools! Materials are now available for the 2013 contest. This year’s theme is “Be a Disciple! Put Two Feet of Love in Action.” Educators lead participants through 5 easy steps to learn about U.S. poverty and CCHD’s response; learn about the Two Feet of Love in Action; create multi-media work (of any type, e.g. painting, video, poetry, dance, etc.); educate others; and submit work to the contest. The contest is a great way to partner with diocesan colleagues in Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Catholic Schools, and Hispanic Ministry offices. See contest materials in English and Spanish.

Faithful Citizenship Monthly Feature: Diocesan Promotional Materials
The Diocesan and Community Leaders section of www.faithfulcitizenship.org contains a variety of resources for you to promote Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, including downloadable graphics, a suggested editorial calendar, diocesan planning suggestions, and political participation guidelines.

Faithful Citizenship Reminders
Don’t forget that September 30 is one of the four Sundays on which the bishops are encouraging parishes to focus on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The theme for September 30 is on “civil dialogue.” Resources include: homily suggestions (also in Spanish), bulletin insert (also in Spanish), a video by Cardinal Wuerl, and a Guide to Faithful Citizenship video. The final Sunday is November 4. If you missed the previous Sundays, you can still use the materials to educate on a different Sunday between now and the elections.

The Parish Guide to Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship includes a timeline for parishes to implement a parish-wide program between now and the elections. Purchase the guide from USCCB Publishing.

International Religious Freedom: An Imperative for Peace and the Common Good
International religious freedom and the terrible humanitarian consequences of failures to respect religious liberty are of great concern to the Catholic Church. For this reason, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Catholic University of America, and Catholic Relief Services sponsored a conference on “International Religious Freedom: An Imperative for Peace and the Common Good” on September 12, 2012, at Catholic University in Washington. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the Conference of Bishops, gave the opening address. Bishops, public officials, academics, policy analysts and others gathered to raise the profile of international religious freedom in public discourse, especially for vulnerable Christian communities, and to strengthen our capacity to address this critical issue. Videos and texts from the Conference are available here.

Defending International Religious Freedom
Within the last two weeks, Bishop Richard Pates, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, has written letters to the State Department, Pakistan’s Ambassador and the House Foreign Affairs Committee in support of persecuted religious minorities in Pakistan, Iran and the Arab world. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, USCCB President, and Bishop Pates sent a letter of solidarity to Latin Patriarch Twal in Jerusalem following anti-Christian arson and vandalism of a Trappist monastery. For more information and copies of these letters, visit our International Religious Freedom webpage.

Addressing Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued long-awaited regulations that require companies to provide details about minerals extracted from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Militias have used the proceeds from illicit mines to fuel violence. Since 1998, millions of people have died and countless others have been brutalized or raped. Although these new regulations allow companies to delay complete compliance for up to four years, they nevertheless advance eventual control of the illicit funding of this conflict. Bishop Pates shared a statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CENCO) with Secretary of State Clinton and asked the U.S. “to strengthen its work with relevant parties to protect lives and promote peace.” CENCO has called particular attention to the role of Rwanda in the conflict. Bishop Pates also wrote Bishop Nicolas Djomo, CENCO President, to express solidarity.

The SEC also issued regulations that require greater transparency in reporting payments made by natural resource extractive companies to host country governments. These provisions will help citizens of affected countries hold their officials accountable for using the proceeds for the common good. 

Hispanic Resources on Social Mission
Did you know about these Spanish-language resources available that can help you reach Hispanics in your diocese?

  • Ciudadanos Fieles/Faithful Citizenship: The majority of resources on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship are also in Spanish. See especially the Parishes and Schools section. The url www.ciudadanosfieles.org redirects to the site!
  • Dos Pies del Amor en Acción/Two Feet of Love in Action: This recently updated, foundational teaching model, is also in Spanish, on its own Spanish webpage.
  • Los Sacramentos y la Misión Social/Sacraments and Social Mission: This series, which focuses on deepening Catholics’ understanding of sacramental practice and social mission, was done bilingually and has its own Spanish webpage.
  • El Concurso Juvenil de Artes Multimedia/Multi-Media Contest: The contest is being offered in Spanish this year for the first time ever. Work with your Hispanic ministry office to invite participation and facilitate the contest. See the Spanish webpage for the contest.
  • Don’t forget that we also have all of these items in Spanish: a Catholic Social Teaching resource page, including the translated seven themes and In the Footsteps of Jesus, and CCHD community development and economic development brochures.
  • Social Media: USCCB has a Facebook page and Twitter feed in Spanish.
  • PobrezaUSA: Our new PovertyUsa.org website will have mirror site in Spanish within the next couple of months.

Consider sharing these resources with your Hispanic Ministry contacts as well!