Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates


Anniversary of Supreme Court Roe v Wade Decision on Abortion: January 22, Bishop’s Call for A Day of Prayer and Penance for Life

In all dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. 

(*note: The Mass for “Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs,” General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no 373)  should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day. Homily items and intercessions may be found at: a Novena for Life, see:  page 13. 

Event on the 38th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade
January 22 marks the 38th memorial date of the infamous Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which stripped away legal protection for the unborn.  55 million lives have been lost since 1973. Please join us on January 22, 2011 for a Memorial Prayer Vigil at Planned Parenthood (726 S. Tampa Avenue, Orlando) from  8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. for an end to the violence of abortion in our society. 

Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession
The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church (861 Maitland Ave., Altamonte Springs) on Saturday, February 5, 2011 beginning with Mass at 8 a.m. Following Mass attendees will process to the nearby abortion clinic on Maitland Ave. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819;  

Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Retreat
will be held May 20-22 at San Pedro Center, Winter Park.  If you have experienced abortion and need healing, community and the love of God, this retreat is for you.  For more information or to register for this confidential weekend, please contact Karen Reilly at 321-662-5097 or email: or contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, 407-246-4819.

Resource Extraction, Genetically Modified Seeds Are Devastating Africa
“All it would take is a little bit more solidarity and much less egoism,” and there would be enough food to nourish even twice the current world population, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  In an interview with L’Osservatre Romano, Cardinal Turkson held nothing back in his analysis of the agriculture and resource extraction industries which exact a very heavy toll on African farmers in need of access to land free from pollution and armed conflict.  He called the promotion of genetically modified seed, “the usual game of economic dependence,” which in turn, “stands out like a new form of slavery.”  The search for and extraction of petroleum, gold or other precious resources corporations can cause enormous environmental damage which, in turn, devastates fields and forests.  Read more here

Franciscan “Creativity for Creation” Webcast, January 26
In the absence of comprehensive federal legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, people of faith and other concerned citizens face the challenge of finding other creative ways to move towards ecological sustainability. Along with caring for creation, recognizing how the poor and vulnerable are impacted and advocating on their behalf are primary values for Catholics and people of faith.  The Franciscan Action Network (FAN) will explore these challenges and how we can better care for creation and lessen the impacts on the poor and vulnerable during a webcast on Wednesday, January 26.   To sign up for the webcast, for more information and for the list of featured panelists, please check the FAN website.  

CHA’s “Faithfully Healing the Earth Campaign”
CHA has been at the forefront of encouraging Catholic health care providers and facilities to lessen their carbon and environmental footprint.  They have partnered with Practice Greenhealth to promote a new electronic resource—the Environmental Sustainability Getting Started Guide.  The booklet shares practices and resources from across Catholic health ministry and other leaders in environmental stewardship to help the health care ministry better care for creation and improve the environment in which we all live.  See more about CHA’s commitment to environmental responsibility here

West Borneo: Capuchin Friars Campaign for Environment
Fr. Matheus Yuli, a priest of the Diocese of Ketapang (in West Borneo), works closely with the Dayaks, a native people of Borneo.  He denounces the devastation caused by speculators and tycoons, first with an indiscriminate deforestation and then the creation of a palm tree plantation for oil production. The damage caused to the area has endangered the survival of the Dayaks.  “It is almost impossible to think about Dayak cultural identity and civilization, without the presence of their forest,” he said.  In western Borneo, Capuchin friars have launched a reforestation project to reverse a number of problems including deforestation, the gradual drying up of crops, an exponential increase in the contamination of rivers and lakes. Indonesia’s economic growth in recent years has gone hand in hand with pollution.  In 2010 alone, experts have added 65 new rivers and five lakes to the list of places contaminated “because of human activity.”  Read more here

Sermons on Climate Change
An ecumenical partner, Interfaith Power & Light, invites faith leaders to offer sermons and reflections on climate change during the weekend of February 11-13. A variety of resources, including sample sermons, reflections, devotionals, and discussion activity ideas for diverse faith traditions are available to those who register at their website. Visit their Clergy Corner for a collection of past sermons on climate change and other worship service planning aids.  

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
Many families and individuals in the United States are struggling to hang on. They must make hard choices between hunger, housing and health care for their families. It’s time to end poverty in America. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) invests in community-based solutions and support self-determination projects that break the cycle of poverty for good. January is Poverty in America Awareness Month. We invite our network to find out more about CCHD and the programs that are changing people’s lives. Visit the CCHD website to learn about ways to get involved. By the way, NCRLC is working with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to increase the number of fundable CCHD grant applications from rural communities. NCRLC is providing a technical assistance role for groups in rural communities who want to apply for CCHD funds. Our focus is especially in dioceses with high rates of poverty and unemployment. Learn more.


Xavier Society for the Blind
The Xavier Society for the Blind, founded in New York City in 1900, continues to provide Catholic religious and spiritual resources free of charge to individuals who are blind or have low vision in Braille and other alternative formats, including large print, audio CD, and most recently, digital formats.  They also serve clients with other disabilities that impede an ability to read traditional print or hold written materials, such as dyslexia or spinal injuries.  The Xavier Society offers a large lending library that can be searched on their new interactive website at  Among their offerings are religion textbooks, Mass Propers, and devotional materials.

Xavier Society’s Executive Director, Kathleen Lynch, is pleased to announce that the revised translation of the New American Bible, soon to be released by the U.S. Catholic bishops, will be available in electronic, Braille, large print, or audio CD formats.  The entire Bible, with or without commentary, can be requested by e-mailing or calling toll-free 800-637-9193.  She also encourages visitors to check out the new website often to learn about upcoming special events and new initiatives, such as their special outreach program to veterans with vision loss.  The goal of this program is to make veterans aware of the services available to them free of charge through the Xavier Society. 

Large Print Sacramentary and Lectionary
Through an agreement with the USCCB, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability is able to offer large print Sacramentaries and Lectionaries to priests and deacons with visual impairment. These large print materials are available in three sizes: font size 24, 34 and 44. Click here for more information. 

Arizona Shooting
As we attempt to deal with the tragic shooting that occurred in Arizona this past weekend, parishes may want to make these resources available on mental illness to the community so we may gain some understanding.

Prayer to end violence, Psalm 7:9 
O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. Amen.
Visit prayer resources on the National Catholic Rural Life Center website. Note the Seasonal Prayers as a menu item. 

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 January and February in English and Spanish at: Please forward this information to your parish liturgy coordinator as well as the person designated to create the bulletin.