Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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Execution Re-scheduled for October 23rd

John Ferguson is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, October 23rd.  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. If you would like to schedule a prayer service for your parish, attend a prayer service outside of the prison (bus available at Our Lady of Lourdes, Daytona) 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.

Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession

The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. James Cathedral (215 N. Orange Ave. Orlando) on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 beginning with Mass at 8am. Following Mass we will process to the nearby abortion clinic on Lucerne Terr. while praying the rosary together. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819; advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org

Million Meal Challenge

There is still time to register and join us for the Million Meal Challenge. We will pack a million meals to send to the impoverished country of Burkina Faso in Africa. This is a combined effort with Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities of Central Florida. The packing day is November 18. Be sure to register!

Celebrating The Church in the Modern World

On October 11, 2012, we observed the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council—an event in Church and world history that is unprecedented in many ways. One special document—called in Latin Gaudium et Spes and in English The Church in the Modern World—is heralded as most emblematic of the Council’s work.  It was approved on the last day of the council, December 7, 1965, by a vote of 2,309 to 75. This was more than three years after the council opened; this was the longest document by a Church council in 2,000 years; and the document was not planned for… read more »

Catholic Youths Advocate for Creation in Washington, D.C.

Catholic News Service reports that a group of youth from a Catholic parish in Denver met with Colorado’s U.S. senators on Capitol Hill for an environmental cause: urging federal protection for Browns Canyon in Colorado . . . Over a three-day visit in Washington in mid-September, the youths’ schedule included a meeting with Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Colorado Democrats, to express their concern for Browns Canyon and to promote scholarships for Hispanic students. The article further describes that, The canyon, southwest of the Denver metro area, is a popular place for hiking, camping, viewing wildlife, fishing and white-water rafting. Udall has proposed that Congress designate it as national monument or wildlife preserve. It’s a place the youths and many others have grown to love, they said.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

In preparation of the 2012 election, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reaffirmed their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.  The statement and accompanying educational tools are intended to help Catholics to form their consciences in the light of their Catholic faith and to bring our moral principles to the debate and decisions about candidates and issues. The document highlights a variety of moral concerns that Catholics should consider including care for creation.  In paragraph 54 they say:  54. We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of God’s creation. Care for the earth is a duty of our faith and a sign of our concern for all people. We should strive to live simply to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We have a moral obligation to protect the planet on which we live—to respect God’s creation and to ensure a safe and hospitable environment for human beings, especially children at their most vulnerable stages of development. As stewards called by God to share the responsibility for the future of the earth, we should work for a world in which people respect and protect all of creation and seek to live simply in harmony with it for the sake of future generations.  As the November 6 election draws near, you are encouraged to reflect on this important document and pray for a good election process.

Catholic Social Teaching as the Framework for Faithful Citizenship  

The 2012 presidential election is raising fundamental questions about the role of government in a modern democracy where most of the major issues at stake are intertwined with global realities.  If the question of the size of government is posed as it often is by campaigns and the media—should it be big or small—this is an overly simplistic way of framing the moral and policy issues facing the nation.  Roman Catholic social teaching offers a far more robust and dynamic framework for thinking about the social, economic, environmental, and moral issues at stake for our nation and… read more »

Advocacy Efforts
2012 Farm Bill: 

Programs to Support Even though members of the House left Capitol Hill before acting on the 2012 farm bill, there are still actions underway to protect and preserve important farm programs. One of these is the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which helps train new farmers to replace the 500,000 farmers expected to retire in the next 20 years.   The National Young Farmers Coalition invites you to sign onto their petition and help them send a strong message to Congress to continue funding this important farm program.  

We also invite you to keep urging your Representative to support the  Value-Added Producer Grants program, which helps farmers to plan and start-up new or expand existing businesses and local and regional supply chains. Click here to learn more about the program and see how farmers are able to increase their farm income, create jobs, boost the economy, and increase consumer food choices. 

Deferred Action

Update on President Obama’s Executive Action On August 15th the Department of Homeland Security began taking applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an initiative of the Obama Administration that provides a two year grant of reprieve from deportation, as well as work authorization, for unauthorized immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. DACA applicants must demonstrate they meet five key criteria.  Analysis of U.S. Census and Department of Homeland security data found that approximately 1.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. are currently or future potential beneficiaries of… read more »

Resources

CRS Work of Human Hands: New Autumn/Winter Collection Online Our Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection is online!  Shop gorgeous new items in Home Decor, Kitchen, Accessories, Specialty, and Holiday.  Your purchase, whether it be a gift or something for yourself, is also a gift for the artisan or farmer who crafted your product. You have the opportunity to change their lives for the better by choosing products from Work of Human Hands. Plus, every purchase contributes to the CRS Fair Trade Fund.  We’re also pleased to announce SERRV has a new partner in India, Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark has a strong commitment to improving the lives of the 500 artisans they employ. Read more!  Shop today!  To Order  Online: www.serrv.org