Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates





Poverty Awareness Month

More than 46 million Americans live in Poverty USA. With continuing unemployment and increasing costs of living, more and more families have to choose between necessities like health care, child care, and even food. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month.

Web-based resources are available to help us learn more about ( for Spanish version). Click here to learn about the presence of poverty in our country. Click here for Stories of Hope and Policies that Help. Click here to Get Involved



Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl:  Lent 2013

Catholic Relief Services  invites us to do something more during Lent — by offering simple but powerful ways to help us return to a right relationship with God and bring our Catholic faith to life. Through their Operation Rice Bowl, you can pray, fast and give alms for the poor around the world who are served by CRS. You can also sign up to receive their Weekly Reflections. We also encourage our members and network to stay informed and engaged with Catholics Confront Global Poverty. 


CRS Rice Bowl Webinar: January 17

Catholic Relief Services will host a webinar on the Lenten Rice Bowl program on Thursday, January 17 from 2-3:30 EST.  The webinar is designed to provide information on integrating Rice Bowl activities into a parish youth ministry program.  Parish directors of religious education, youth ministers, youth ministry teams, catechists and other parish staff and volunteers are encouraged to join in the webinar. 

Each year, Rice Bowl raises funds and educates Catholic youth on international relieve and development work.  Part of the education includes an examination of climate impacts on the work of CRS around the globe. 

To join the webinar on the 17th, click here.  Call-in: (866) 386-4210 , Conference Code: 7379899828.  To learn more about CRS Rice Bowl, go here:  Please pass this along to others who might be interested.


CRS Fair Trade Winter Sale

Find fabulous new deals at our Winter Sale! Over 160 items are up to 30% off. Shop Christmas decor, jewelry, home decor and much more!* Plus, delicious Divine White Chocolate & Strawberry Hearts are now on sale for $2.99 – they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Our artisan partners have already been paid in full at fair prices, so you can shop guilt free.

Shop today and stand in solidarity with artisans around the world in 2013.


Church Agencies Bring Relief during Year’s Storms, Drought, Typhoon

The Archdiocese of Boston’s newspaper carried a Catholic News Service article that says, [a]mid this year’s hotter-than-average temperatures and extreme weather-related events including floods, droughts, storms, wildfires and a recent typhoon, church agencies in the U.S. and around the world mobilized to provide short and long-term relief. 

The article highlights the relief work of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA (both Coalition members), and quotes Dan Misleh, Executive Director of the Coalition: What has been clear is that the scientists for many, many years now have said that the extremes — droughts, floods, more severe weather — are going to become more common not only in the U.S. but around the world.  Regardless of the costs, we have a responsibility for alleviating the immediate suffering [of victims of weather-related incidents and Catholic organizations are] in a pretty good position to help out.


International Jesuit Ecology Project Now Online

Recently, EcoJesuit published an article describing that “[f]ollowing through from the Chicago workshop last October 2012, the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) is now online, and activities are being lined up in the development of the Living Text, titled Healing Earth.”

The article explains that [t]he IJEP is a three-year collaborative project between Loyola University Chicago faculty and scholars from Jesuit institutions around the world to create an online Living Textbook that addresses select environmental science challenges from an integrated scientific, moral, and spiritual perspective.  This Living Textbook will be a curricular resource in environmental science for teachers and students in Jesuit institutions of higher education and secondary schools worldwide. 

The article continues: The IJEP emerged as a response of the Higher Education Secretariat to the challenge of Father General Adolfo Nicolás to the Society of Jesus to redouble its commitment to environmental stewardship in gratitude to God for the gift of the natural world, contained in his 16 September 2011 letter to Jesuits around the world and where he referred to the document Healing a Broken World (HBW).


Catholic Climate Coalition’s Honorary Chairperson to Speak in Portland

The Archdiocese of Portland has announced that Most Reverend William S. Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of Spokane, Honorary Chairperson of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, and Past President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be the keynote speaker at the Fourth Annual Earth Care Summit on Monday, January 28, 2013. 

A promotional flyer for the event describes that [w]ith the theme “Living Waters,” the Summit will explore big picture water issues we are facing on global, regional and local levels, and provide practical ideas on how to address the issues at home and in your congregation…Roundtables and presentations will explore water theologically and ecologically from a broad perspective and provide practical ideas on what you can do at the home, congregation and community levels.


Advocacy Efforts 

Help Promote a Just Peace in the Holy Land

You are invited to join thirty-six Christian leaders of denominations and organizations including Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, in calling upon President Obama to urgently redouble his efforts for peace. As this is a time of new beginnings, will you add your voice to theirs and magnify the call for peace?

At the start of his second term President Obama has a fresh opportunity to make sincere and meaningful progress in the realization of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  This is also our new beginning, our opportunity to act upon our conviction that God can “…make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  (Isaiah 43:10)  

Working together, Christians, Jews, and Muslims; Americans, Palestinians, and Israelis can find a way to take steps that lead to a just, durable, and comprehensive end to the conflict. As followers of Jesus we can take action in hope that peace is possible, God can make a way, and we must do our part through prayer and action. Take action here.  View letter with signatories here.

Urge Congress to Pass Compassionate Immigration Reform Legislation
Send this electronic postcard to your U.S. Senators and Representatives asking that they pass just and compassionate immigration reform legislation in the 113th Congress. Take action here.

Fiscal Cliff
Congress and the President reached agreement on a plan to avoid the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ Thanks in part to our advocacy, the final package protected the charitable deduction as well as the powerful antipoverty low-income tax credits. Millions of working poor families and their children will be kept out of poverty as a result. Read Bishop Blaire and Bishop Pates’ letter to Congress on the ‘fiscal cliff’ here. We must remain vigilant because the deep spending cuts in sequestration were only postponed for 60 days. So be on the lookout for future alerts and take action!


Calendar of Events