Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates




Faithful Citizenship Presentation

A Faithful Citizenship Presentation will be held at Annunciation Catholic Church on  September 24, 2012 from 7pm-9pm.  Presenters will include:  Bishop John Noonan of the Diocese of Orlando who will speak on Forming Your Consciences in an election year;  Kathy Saile, Director of Domestic Policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who will speak on Political Responsibility & Protecting Human Life; Michael Sheedy, Associate Director for Health at the Florida Catholic Conference will speak on State Voter Education and Amendment 6 and 8.  This election year all Catholics have an opportunity to be Faithful Citizens by informing your conscience and understanding our rights and responsibilities.  Register to attend by emailing: or call: 407-246-4819.


Catholic Relief Services’ Food Fast

Is a 24-hour fasting retreat for youth focusing on global poverty and hunger,

CRS Food Fast allows young people to journey with our brothers and sisters around the world. When youth participate in Food Fast, they learn about people around the world and they spend 24 hours in the shoes of people who go hungry. Just knowing how someone in poverty feels is the first step to bringing change to our world.  Download your planning materials today at!


Behind Creation is the Heart of the Creator

Reflecting on vacations while in the middle of his own, Pope Benedict XVI said on Monday that this time of year, which is a time of rest for many, helps us to see things that normally we do not see, the beauty of creation, the beauty of the Creator, who knows us and loves us; it helps us, then, to be aware that behind all things there is a heart, the heart of the Creator. Let us learn this in these weeks.


St. Francis Care for Creation Award

Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas presented the first St. Francis Care for Creation Award to Lourdes Catholic School in Nogales, AZ.  The National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) in collaboration with the Coalition created the award.  As this article explains, the Award “recognize[s] schools that put their faith into action to reduce their carbon footprint, care for the “least of these,” and raise the Catholic voice on behalf of the environment and the poor.” Bishop Kicanas presented the award at the school’s opening-year liturgy on August 15.

What does it take to win this prestigious award?  In a related article some of the efforts that helped Lourdes win the Award are outlined: Projects the student carried out during the year included improving on a three-year-old organic garden, and creating banners and hands-on projects that depict cycles of water and land. [They] organized a ‘Council of the Creatures,’ for which they conducted research on endangered species and then created masks of those animals. As part of the exercise, they formed a large, moving drum circle for the ‘council.’ Then they came forward one by one out of the circle to tell about the creature whose mask they were wearing and what could be done to help that animal survive. They performed the council for other students, as well as for the public.

Five other Catholic schools will receive the Award later this year.  To learn more about the St. Francis Care for Creation Award and to apply for an Award on behalf of your Catholic grade school, click here.


Franciscan Action Network Challenges Presidential Candidates to Discuss Climate Change

In a recent statement, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN), a member of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, says: One of the most serious challenges our nation faces is global climate change, yet neither presidential candidate has raised this as an issue. Based on this, FAN has called on both President Obama and Governor Romney to acknowledge that climate change is an extremely critical ecological and moral issue and identify actions they would undertake to address this threat to life on Earth.

Patrick Carolan, FAN’s Executive Director states, At this critical juncture in our history, we need to not just comprehend the gravity and urgency of global climate change; we must insist that the dialogue on climate change be civil, respectful and truthful and call for collaborative action to protect creation for future generations. The Franciscan tradition teaches that all of creation has intrinsic value, not because of economic worth but because all creation is a reflection of God. In order to address this crisis in a bipartisan way, I believe that both President Obama and Governor Romney need to have the moral courage to use their voices as leaders and issue statements that acknowledge the reality and critical nature of climate change and provide a plan of action. The American people and all God’s children across this world deserve no less.


Nationwide Film Screening on Climate Refugees; consider hosting an event  

Join hundreds of Catholic colleges and universities, high schools and youth groups, parishes and dioceses, and other Catholic organizations to host a screening of the Academy Award-nominated film Sun Come Up in early October. This documentary depicts some of the world’s first climate refugees, inhabitants of the Carteret Islands just north of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change is providing a step-by-step packet to help spur discussion before and after the film, and action steps colleges, parishioners, youth groups, students and others can take to respond to the unfolding climate crisis from a faith perspective.

The Coalition encourages the screening to take place during early October  (on or before the Feast of St. Francis, October 4). Learn more at


Franciscans Call for Political Leadership on Climate Change  

One of the most serious challenges our nation faces is global climate change, yet neither presidential candidate has raised this as an issue. The Franciscan Action Network (FAN), an organization of Franciscan sisters, friars, secular and lay Franciscans, calls on both President Obama and Governor Romney to acknowledge that climate change is an extremely critical ecological and moral issue and identify actions they would undertake to address this threat to life on Earth. 
Visit the Franciscan Action Network here


World Food Day, October 16: Can we create a better food system?  

When you sit down to eat, do you think about how the meal you’re eating is the product of a complex, and questionable, global food system? Probably not, but maybe this World Food Day, October 16, would be a good time to do so.


October 24: Another opportunity to organize Food Day events  

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. A diverse coalition of food movement leaders and organizations are leading efforts to make Food Day an annual event on October 24. The idea is to focus on issues as varied as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare, and farm worker justice.

The ultimate goal of Food Day is to strengthen and unify the food movement in order to improve our nation’s food policies. You can join this push for a stronger, more united food movement by signing up to organize or attend Food Day events in your community.


Advocacy Efforts

Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Urge Congress to Act Now 

Given the September 30 deadline for reauthorization of the farm bill, time is running out on a new farm bill this year.  Continue to call for lawmakers to pass the 2012 Farm Bill this year. We encourage you to meet with your U.S. Representative during the August recess and ask for the passage of this bill.It is in the hands of House leadership to allow floor debate and move to a vote on the 2012 farm bill. Visit the National Catholic Rural Life Conference website to read more about this legislation and what changes need to be made in the final farm bill to ensure a secure and healthy food production system.



Life Issues Forum:

Is available at the USCCB website in English and Spanish.  Back issues of Life Issues Forum can be found at (June 2011 onward) and (prior to June 2011).