Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates




Respect Life Sunday, October 7 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Respect Life Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday in October, as designated by the U.S. Bishops. This year’s theme is: “Faith Opens Our Eyes to Human Life In All Its Grandeur and Beauty”.  Every parish will receive a USCCB packet with liturgical ideas and educational resources on timely social issues, including: Religious Liberty, Conscience Protection in Healthcare, Assisted Suicide, Marriage, Pornography, Contraceptives. This year’s liturgy guide offers Intercessions for Life, suggested preaching reflections for Respect Life Sunday and January 22, a Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life as well as a Prayer Service for Forgiveness and Healing.

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program brings Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, service and advocacy.  Respect Life Sunday is observed in virtually all of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. All resources will be available in English and Spanish and may be ordered or downloaded from:  . If your parish needs resources or assistance in planning an event or educational opportunity to celebrate the sacredness of human life during October, call the Office of Advocacy and Justice, 407-246-4819.

Florida Bishops Sponsored Respect Life Conference – October 12-13

The Annual Respect Life Conference is a statewide event sponsored by the Florida Catholic Conference and Florida’s Diocesan Respect Life Directors. With an outstanding lineup of Pro-Life speakers, this year’s conference is sure to invigorate the Respect Life movement, motivate and inspire new leaders and prepare the faithful for challenges that lie ahead.  There is alsois also a separate FREE Youth Track for high-school students from 2 – 5 PM, October 13, 2012.  For more details and to register, please click here. The deadline for registration is October 1, 2012

Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Retreat:  Nov 2-4 at San Pedro Center in Winter Park.  If you have been affected by abortion and need healing, community and the love of God, this retreat is for you.  This confidential retreat offers a safe, non-judgmental environment where women and men find healing and reconciliation for their painful experience of abortion.  For more information or to register, please contact Karen at 321.662.5097 or  For additional information about Rachel’s Vineyard, please visit or contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice 407-246-4820.

CRS Million Meal Challenge Orlando – November 18

Do you have a heart for mission and service but aren’t quite sure what to do?  Do you have limited time and resources and want to go somewhere to help?  On November 18th at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel during the hours of 9-12, 12-3, and 3-6 we are BRINGING THE MISSION TO YOU!  The Orlando Million Meal Challenge. Sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, Stop Hunger Now in collaboration with educational partner the Diocese of Orlando and Catholic Charities will be both:  highlighting issues of local poverty and packaging ONE MILLION MEALS for the third poorest country in the world, Burkina Faso.  This all age, family friendly day will fulfill your desire to answer our baptismal call to take care of the poor.  Please sign up online at – sign up as parish teams, families or individuals.  The event is free.  Pre-educational talks/workshops are available to all groups and are presented by the Diocese/Catholic Charities.  Please email Stephanie Bosse at or call 407-246-4822 for more information.

Catholic Relief Services Efforts in Haiti after Hurricane Isaac

Thank you for your concern for the people of Haiti following the powerful storm that struck the country this past weekend. Prayers and intercessions for use at parish and diocesan gatherings may be found at:

More information on efforts in Haiti by CRS may be found:

Please keep the people of Haiti, and other affected communities, in your prayers at this difficult time.  We appreciate all that you do for our brothers and sisters around the world.

Catholic Relief Services Efforts in the Philippines after Recent Flooding

Pope Benedict XVI on Humanity and the Infinite

On August 10, Pope Benedict XVI sent a message to the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, sponsored by the Catholic Communion and Liberation Movement in Rimini, Italy.  The theme of this year’s meeting is The nature of man is a relationship with the infinite, and the Holy Father offered insights into this relationship.

Pope Benedict XVI pointed out that To speak of man and of his yearning for the infinite means, first and foremost, to recognize his constitutive relationship with the Creator.  He affirmed that humanity is called into life in order to enter into relationship with Life itself, with God, and that every person is created so that he may enter into dialogue with the Infinite.  The pontiff recognized that humans often run the risk of being absolutised and thus become idols that replace the Creator, and that to live up to his being, man must turn and recognize that he is a creature, who is dependent on God. Pope Benedict XVI also reflected on the mystery of the Incarnation, noting that through this mystery God reaffirmed the sanctity of all creation: Nothing, then, is banal or insignificant along the path of life and of the world. Man is made for an infinite God who became flesh, who assumed our humanity in order to draw us to the heights of his divine being.

Patriarch Bartholomew Urges Repentance for Day of Prayer for Environment

The Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople has again spoken about the responsibility of Christians to care for God’s gift of Creation.  In a Catholic News Service article he notes that as the September 1 Annual Day of Prayer for the Environment approaches we should seek God’s forgiveness for the small or serious ways we contribute to pollution.  Pope Benedict XVI has adopted the Day of Prayer, as have other Christians. 

In his message released in observance of the Day of Prayer, the patriarch says We are ultimately imploring God to change the mindset of the powerful in the world, enlightening them not to destroy the planet’s ecosystem for reasons of financial profit.  However each of us must also seek God’s forgiveness because we all generate small ecological damage in our individual capacity and ignorance. Therefore, in praying for the natural environment, we are praying for personal repentance for our contribution — smaller or greater — to the disfigurement and destruction of creation.

To see more about Patriarch Bartholomew’s important, consistent and prophetic voice on behalf of Creation, see the website dedicated to his teachings about the environment.

Catholic Mission-Based Sustainability at Australian Catholic University

One year ago, the Coalition partnered with seven national Catholic higher education organizations to publish Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration.  The Coalition and its partners published this resource to assist Catholic colleges and universities engaged in exciting sustainability efforts and urge them to communicate how and why such work is inspired and animated by the institution’s Catholic mission.  A key step in fostering Catholic mission-based sustainability is for colleges and universities to become Catholic Climate Covenant Partners by institutionally endorsing the St. Francis Pledge.

One example of how schools can clearly and consistently communicate a commitment to Catholic mission-based sustainability comes from Australian Catholic University (ACU).  On its Sustainability Website, ACU has included a page that describes Sustainability and the ACU Mission. This statement includes recognition of the key elements for Catholic sustainability including the principles of the common good and social justice, strong Catholic teaching on the environment from the Vatican to the individual Catholic, and the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI on this issue. 

2012 Cool Congregations Challenge

From our ecumenical partners at Interfaith Power and Light:

The Cool Congregations Challenge is a national contest to recognize faith communities that are responding to climate change and becoming good stewards of Creation. Cool Congregations are role models for energy efficiency and conservation in their communities. All qualifying entrants will receive a beautiful certificate suitable for framing. In addition, cash prizes of $1,000 will go to winning contestants in each category:
• Energy Efficiency and Conservation
• Renewable Energy
• Grounds and Water Conservation
• Engaging Congregants and Communities

You may enter any time, starting today, right up to midnight on October 18, 2012.

If you or your parish would like to be involved in the local Cool Congregations IPL Project, see: is Now Live!

 Catholics can learn about the state of poverty in the United States and concrete ways they can make a difference at a new website from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The site,, was launched August 15 and offers tools and resources to spread the word about poverty in America. Resources include an interactive poverty map with state and county level poverty statistics, a Poverty Tour video which gives viewers a sense of what it is like to live at the federal poverty line, videos and links to PovertyUSA’s social media sites, including 



New Campus Social Justice Webpage

 The USCCB Campus Ministry web page now includes a menu on the right side bar with all of the content from the “Our Faith in Action” campus website that was on our old website. The “Tools for Action” section includes ideas for justice education for small and large groups, tips for moving service to justice, and more. The “Videos” section features videos on young leaders in justice, including college students. Please help us get the word out to campus ministers in your area. Visit now! 


CRS Fair Trade New Arrivals

Get a sneak peek at SERRV’s brand new jewelry and accessories! These gorgeous new items from our Autumn/Winter Collection just arrived, so be among the first to check them out.  

We’re also pleased to introduce Conserve, one of our new artisan partners this year. Conserve works with artisans in Delhi, India, who show great care for God’s creation by crafting amazing products using recycled denim and rubber. Learn more!

When you make a fabulous fair trade purchase from CRS Work of Human Hands, you are helping artisans and their families like the ones at Conserve. Plus, every purchase contributes to the CRS Fair Trade Fund.   Shop today!


Legislative Victory to Extend Trade Preferences to African Countries

 Good news! A law was enacted earlier in August to extend the preferential tariff provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). As a result of this legislative victory in the United States Congress, small-scale African producers of shirts and other items of apparel will be entitled to preferential tariff treatment upon the importation of these products into the United States. This initiative is a great example of “trade” not “aid” as a way of providing assistance to developing societies in Africa, and will benefit both impoverished African clothing manufacturers as well as consumers located in the United States. 


Walking with the Two Feet of Love in Action Webinar (September 20, 2012)

The Two Feet of Love in Action model describes two distinct, but complementary, ways that we can put love in action: Social Justice and Charitable Works. Tune into the webinar on Sept. 20 at 2:00 p.m. EDT to learn how the model has been revised in the light of Pope Benedict XVI’s teachings on justice as foundational to social action; the common good; the integral importance of community and relationship; and the virtue of charity which enlivens and motivates our work.  Explore also how the Holy Father’s call for a New Evangelization sets a helpful framework for introducing this new model to your audiences.  RSVP here. 


Aging Resources

 National Grandparents Day – September 9, 2012

The first Grandparent’s Day was in 1978. For grandparent resources, entertaining ideas and interesting information, click here

Active Aging Week – September 23 – 29, 2012

This week focuses on promoting an active and healthy lifestyle and encouraging an increase in physical movement. For more information, click here.