National Migration Week 2015 To Be Celebrated January 4-10

WASHINGTON—National Migration Week 2015 will take place January 4–10 with the theme, “We are One Family under God.â€� The celebration of National Migration Week provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the hardships faced by migrants, including children, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

“Migrants –including children, immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking– are our spiritual brothers and sisters,� said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “They often find themselves isolated, alone and separated from family, their ability to live out their lives in fullness severely restricted. Often family members are separated from one another because of deportation, detention, or related immigration laws that inhibit family reunification.�

As part of the 2015 National Migration Week celebration, the USCCB established a small grant program that will provide Catholic parishes, schools and other organizations funding to help them better integrate the Church’s teaching on migration into new or existing programs, materials, events and other activities. Grant recipients will be announced during National Migration Week.

“We are all created equal in God’s image,� said Bishop Elizondo. “There is no such thing as an illegal human being. During National Migration Week we should not only pray for our brothers and sisters who are marginalized but also advocate that protections are provided to them, for they need them most.�

The observance of National Migration Week began over 25 years ago by the U.S. bishops to give Catholics an opportunity to take stock of the wide diversity of peoples in the Church and the ministries serving them. The week serves as both a time for prayer and action to try and ease the struggles of immigrants, migrants and vulnerable populations coming to America and a time for reflection on the Church’s call to “welcome the stranger.� The 2015 National Migration Week marks 50 years of service by USCCB Migration and Refugee Services.

Dioceses across the country have planned events for National Migration Week. Masses will be celebrated in Los Angeles; Palm Beach, Florida; San Bernardino, California; Chicago and Miami among others. Forums, vigils, and other special events will take place in Minneapolis; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chicago and Washington.

Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.usccb.org/nationalmigrationweek. Posters, prayer cards, and booklets can be ordered through the USCCB publishing service at www.usccbpublishing.org or by calling 800-235-8722.

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2149

Tribune: Funding sometimes lags for sex-trafficking victims

North Dakota must address human trafficking. The North Dakota Catholic Conference supported funding for victim services when the state passed its first set of anti-human trafficking laws, but they were not enacted. Perhaps now is the time.

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/funding-sometimes-lags-for-sex-trafficking-victims/article_24456f7e-8fab-11e4-8527-9bd23db62324.html

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2147

Our World Shimmers With Divinity

Sign Up for the Advocacy Network Today.

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/our-world-shimmers-with-divinity/

Pre-filed Bills Posted

State agencies and interim committees have pre-filed 244 bills and resolutions for the legislative session that starts in January.  Remember: Every bill will get a hearing and floor vote.

Check out the bills at: http://www.legis.nd.gov/news/prefiled-bills-and-resolutions-bill-tracking

 

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2144

Bishop Cantú Welcomes Release of Alan Gross, Change to U.S. Policy Toward Cuba


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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2142

USCCB Chairman Decries Opening of Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, Proposes More Humane Alternatives to Detention for Vulnerable Families

WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, decried the opening of a 2,400-bed detention center in Dilley, Texas, constructed to house, among others, families fleeing persecution in Central America.

The detention center, operated by a private, for-profit group, was inaugurated December 15.

“It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities, as if they are criminals,� said Bishop Elizondo December 16. “Already traumatized from their journey, these families are very vulnerable and need care and support, not further emotional and psychological harm.� Studies have shown that detention has a harmful psychological impact on children.

Bishop Elizondo added that the Obama administration’s pursuit of a deterrence policy– including detention and interdiction– against children and families fleeing violence undermines basic human rights.

“Many of these families are fleeing persecution and should be afforded the full benefit of domestic and international law,� Bishop Elizondo said. “As we saw in the case of Artesia, detention denies mothers and children with valid legal claims meaningful access to due process, including legal representation.� A temporary detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, housing families was recently closed down, in part, because of strong opposition to due process violations and conditions there, especially for children. The average age of children detained in Artesia was six and a half years old.

Bishop Elizondo added that humane alternatives to detention exist, particularly community-based alternatives based on a case management model.

“Past community-based programs have shown that vulnerable groups such as families can be placed in a community setting and still appear at their immigration hearings, provided they are given the proper support,� Bishop Elizondo said. “The government should explore this humane alternative and not cause further harm to these families, particularly children.�

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2140

Benefits Multiply in Ministry for the Disabled

KatinaSaturdays at any bowling alley are a cacophony of talking, laughing and slow thunder as bowling balls roll down the lanes.  But on this Saturday there seems to be extra joy in the air as Camp ReCreation sponsors Holy Bowling – one of its most popular activities for its handicapped and developmentally disabled clients.

Camp ReCreation is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by Father Patrick Leslie and Sister Anne Lucey and is open to people ages 10 to 65+.  

Activities like Holy Bowling take place year round but its main event is the program it offers every summer at Camp Ronald McDonald near Eagle Lake in Northern California.  Campers are assigned their own counselor for the week, who accompany them to meals and activities, stay with them in their tent at night and see to their personal needs.

“This relieves a lot of the anxiety and homesickness the campers might otherwise feel, being away from their families,” says Kathi Barber, the program director in Sacramento.  Originally there were two sessions in June, but demand was so great that a third was added.

“We hate to turn anyone away,” says Barber. “We still have a waiting list, but we try our best to accommodate everyone.”

The Diocese of Orange also operates a Camp ReCreation – founded in 1978. Both camps operate in much the same way and are under the auspices of their local diocese.  Each also relies on private donations, various grants and fundraising by the Knights of Columbus.

According to Kristan Schlichte, senior director of membership for Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria, Virginia, both camps are based on a model used by the Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who have been serving the developmentally disabled since 1904.  

“They are viewed as leaders in special religious education,” Schlichte says, and explains that the program has a three-fold focus – respite care, recreation, and religious education.

Father Leslie emphasizes participation in the daily mass, with the campers acting as altar servers and extraordinary Eucharistic ministers.   “Everyone wears a stole,” he says. “This is their Church, too.”

Carol Metz, a special education teacher for San Juan Unified school district, explains that under California state law, special-needs students can remain in the public school system until the age of 22 and then they are transitioned out.

“Camp ReCreation is a strong program, and is recommended by different social service agencies because they know the world gets smaller for many of these people when they transition out of school,” she explains.  

“These programs provide social interaction, peer support, everything they need to live a full life. They like everything we do–music, camping, trips, cultural events.  Everyone has a need to be around others, and to feel like they’re a part of things.”

And the benefits aren’t one-way. “People get into this,” she refers to the volunteers, “thinking that they’re doing something good for someone else.  Then they realize they’re getting more out of it than they were giving.  

“It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Camp ReCreation
•    Sacramento – http://camprecreation.org/
•    Orange – http://recreationcampoc.com/

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/index.php/issues2/education/945-benefits-multiply-in-ministry-for-the-disabled

“The Holy Family was once a family of immigrants and refugees”

GuadalupewebArchbishop Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia released this statement on immigration reform:

Mary of Nazareth has always had a special place in the heart of the Church. She is theotokos, the “God-bearer”; Scripture’s greatest human witness of courage, humility and grace. This is why Catholic life has honored her through the centuries in so many different ways: Our Lady of Consolation; Mother of Sorrows; Mother of Mercy; Our Lady of the New Advent; Queen of Heaven; Virgin Most Pure — and in a special way today, December 12, Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of America, one continent north and south.

All of these titles are true and richly deserved. But they can sometimes obscure the human reality of Mary’s life: a young woman of the rough Galilean hills, pregnant, with a seemingly implausible story before her marriage to Joseph, who gave birth to her child in the cold in a stable far from home and then, hunted by Herod, was forced to flee to Egypt. Mary - ourmother; the mother of the Church – had an intimate understanding of suffering, flight, homelessness and uncertainty. At Guadalupe, Mary appeared not to the rich or powerful, or even to the local bishop, but to the poor peasant Juan Diego. Her tenderness to the poor is something we need to remember this Advent, because our Christian faith is more than a set of ideas or beautiful words. It’s meant to be lived. It’s meant to transform our thinking and our actions.

Which brings us to the point: Over the past six years, the current White House has taken actions that a great many faithful Catholics regard as damaging – harmful not just for people of religious faith, but for the nation at large. In deferring the deportation of many undocumented immigrants and their families, however, President Obama has done the right thing. This action prevents the break-up of families with mixed immigration status. It also protects individuals who were brought to the United States as children, and have grown up knowing only American life and nothing of their parents’ native land.

For more than a decade the U.S. Catholic bishops have pressed repeatedly for just and sensible immigration policy reform. Each of our major political parties has faulted the other for inaction, and each – despite its posturing and alibis – bears a generous portion of the blame. Whatever the timing and motives of the current executive action might mean, deferring deportations serves the survival and human dignity of the families involved. And it may, finally, force the White House and Congress to cooperate fruitfully.

On this day that we honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all of us who share this continent, we need to remember that the Holy Family too was once a family of immigrants and refugees. And we need to treat the undocumented among us with the mercy and justice we expect for ourselves.

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/the-holy-family-was-once-a-family-of-immigrants-and-refugees/

Pope Francis Releases World Day of Peace Address


Pope FrancisWORLD DAY OF PEACE 2015

SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS

 

Check out this two-page handout for a summary of the message and prayer and action ideas!

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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2132

Pope, religious leaders pledge to work together to end slavery by 2020

 

Pope Francis

Photo of Pope Francis by Paul Haring of Catholic News Service.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As Pope Francis and leaders of other churches and religions signed a declaration pledging to work together to help end modern slavery in the world by 2020, he urged governments, businesses and all people of good will to join forces against this “crime against humanity.”

Tens of millions of people are “in chains” because of human trafficking and forced labor, and it is leading to their “dehumanization and humiliation,” the pope said at the ceremony Dec. 2, the U.N. Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Every human person is born with the same dignity and freedom, and any form of discrimination that does not respect this truth “is a crime and very often an abhorrent crime,” the pope said.

Inspired by their religious beliefs and a desire “to take practical action,” the pope and 11 leaders representing the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, Anglican, Buddhist and Hindu faiths made a united commitment to help eradicate slavery worldwide.

Read the entire CNS article here. 

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pope-religious-leaders-pledge-to-work-together-to-end-slavery-by-2020/

Keeping the “Catholic” in Catholic Healthcare

Pennsylvania Catholic Health AssociationSr. Clare Christi Schiefer, O.S.F., president of the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA), was recently profiled in Good News Magazine, a publication of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

In the interview, Sr. Clare Christi said, “Simply put, I advocate for and speak out in defense of the sanctity of life and justice in healthcare—in particular for the needs of children, the elderly, the poor, and the underserved…I support Catholic healthcare in living out its unique mission and maintaining the Catholic identity.”

In explaining the work of the PCHA, the article continues, “During Sister Clare’s tenure, PCHA has been involved in numerous healthcare debates and legislative changes. Among those topics, Sister Clare considers legislation to address end-of-life-issues, conscience protections, the effort to retain tax exempt status for charitable institutions, and the channeling of tobacco settlement money to healthcare initiatives as some of the organization’s greatest successes. She also is proud of work on the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Pennsylvania was a forerunner in the adoption of the program that provides healthcare insurance coverage and access to services for children and the Pennsylvania program was used as a model for the federal system.”

The entire article can be read here.

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/keeping-the-catholic-in-catholic-healthcare/

Lazarus in California: Millions in Poverty Merit Discernment, Not Politicking

perscpective-150There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. (Luke 16: 19-20)

U.S. Census data recently showed that 5.6 million people in the Golden State live below the poverty line – nearly one in seven Californians. Sadly, two million of them are children.

At the same time, Pope Francis has challenged the world to recognize the poor, who like Lazarus in the Gospel parable, are sitting at our gate (Luke 16). In fact, earlier this year, the Pope took a lot of heat when he tweeted that “Inequality is the root of social evil.”

Many people reacted to the headline, without examining the entirety of the Pope’s challenge to the world, says Bishop Robert McElroy, auxiliary bishop of San Francisco. The Bishop summarized that challenge in a simple way: how do we recognize and help the Lazarus’ of our day?

The “rich man” wasn’t necessarily a bad person, he just never noticed Lazarus. (Nevertheless, the parable doesn’t end well for him.)

As Bishop McElroy explains in an article and a follow-up podcast in America Magazine, the Pope consistently emphasizes the need to create pathways out of poverty:

The cry of the poor captured in “The Joy of the Gospel” is a challenge to the “individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality” so prevalent in the cultures of the world; it is a call to confront the evil of economic exclusion and begin a process of structural reform that will lead to inclusion rather than marginalization.

Unfortunately, in today’s world of extreme polarization, creating those structural pathways out of poverty is caught up in partisanship and extreme politicking.

Catholic social teaching urges a balance. It stresses the value of caring for the poor and the need to provide for ourselves and our families and a balance between dependence and independence.

With the Census showing that California’s poverty rate is now at 14.9 percent in 2013 – higher than the 12.2 percent, pre-Great Recession– it is incumbent upon Californians to examine and strengthen effective pathways out of poverty.

Catholic principals for that discernment are clear, but not rigid:

The lay faithful are called to identify steps that can be taken in concrete political situations in order to put into practice the principles and values proper to life in society. This calls for a method of discernment, at both the personal and community levels, structured around certain key elements: knowledge of the situations, analyzed with the help of the social sciences and other appropriate tools; systematic reflection on these realities in the light of the unchanging message of the Gospel and the Church’s social teaching; identification of choices aimed at assuring that the situation will evolve positively. [Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , 568]

Notice some of the nuances that are sadly lacking from political debate today. The responsibility is both communal and personal. Use the best information available. Times can change; we should constantly re-evaluate. And keep working toward the good.

Just a thought, but by bringing these principals to a public policy discussion instead of “debating” based on bumper stickers, political agendas, rhetorical slams and news headlines might just lead to results that are much more beneficial to all of us.

 

Other posts by Steve Pehanich

 

 

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/index.php/blogs/941-lazarus-in-california-millions-in-poverty-merit-discernment-not-politicking

Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Catholic Social Services Give Children a Christmas to Remember

BCWAC Archbishops Christmas BenefitChristmas is a time for celebration, but it also a time for helping those in need. Since 1955, the Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children has supported programs at Catholic Social Services that directly benefit children in poverty, at-risk youth and children living with special needs in the Philadelphia region.

Today, the annual appeal raises thousands of dollars to fund dozens of programs helping more than 16,000 children from all faiths throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Ernie is one of those children. When he found himself in trouble with the law, Ernie and his family feared that he would face prison. Instead, he was placed at St. Gabriel’s Hall, a residential program for adolescents operated by Catholic Social Services. He is now working toward his diploma and learning social and vocational skills.

In addition to St. Gabriel’s Hall, the Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children helps support after-school programs, programs to strengthen families, pre-school for low-income Hispanic and Latino children, prenatal outreach to expecting mothers, summer job training for high school students and residential housing for people with developmental disabilities.

Every December, the Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children invites 400 children to a Christmas celebration. The children participate in a number of festive activities including a Christmas pageant, holiday treats and wrapped presents delivered by Santa and his elves. For many of the children, the experience of joy and love means more than the presents.

Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia is one of several diocesan Catholic charities in Pennsylvania. Collectively, Catholic charities in the Commonwealth serve over 500,000 Pennsylvanians every year in rural, urban and suburban areas, including youth services, health care, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, residential options, family counseling and adoption and foster care services. No matter one’s religion, race, gender or ability to pay, Catholic charities help those in need at more than 375 locations across the state.

For more information on the Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children visit  www.archbishopschristmasbenefit.org.

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/archdiocese-of-philadelphia-and-catholic-social-services-give-children-a-christmas-to-remember/

Run Forth to Meet Christ

HomelessGrant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ.

Christmas is coming; the race is on – shopping, baking, cleaning, decorating, socializing. Most of us run around a lot this time of year; but toward whom are we running – the Christ child or the cashier in the checkout line?

We meet Christ in our liturgy – his Real Presence is always there at Mass, but when we are not too distracted by our own worries we can also see Him in the least of our brothers and sisters.

Jesus tells us where to find him in Matthew 25: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me … Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

The Church teaches us to recognize and fulfill the obligations of justice and charity in society. We have a responsibility toward building, organizing and creating a functioning society through political, economic and administrative obligations. The Church (meaning all of us) has a secular mission to work toward the common good. Lay people are called to help build the kingdom of God in the world around us.

Common good is defined as the social conditions that allow for the authentic development of the whole person. It is a human right that grows out of the dignity that God assigns to every person.

When we slow down long enough to look for Jesus in the least of our brothers and sisters, we see how societal conditions may be contributing to poverty, illness, oppression, or ignorance.

Members of society contribute to the common good through their generous use of the spiritual, social, or material means they possess for the good of others and to create conditions that allow people to more easily live a humane existence.

Catholic charities agencies meet urgent temporal needs of many people. Charitable giving is necessary and important; but often the relief is only temporary and does not address the underlying conditions that caused the problem.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference advocates for public policies that improve the conditions for people to thrive. Its mission is to formulate positions on issues, officially represent the Church before state government, and to foster a public understanding of the Church’s teaching and concern about morality, health, welfare, human rights, education, and yes, the common good.

The PCC is an authoritative resource for the Catholics and a vehicle for change. Our website, www.pacatholic.org, is a place for citizens to seek the truth about perplexing societal questions and find links to the Catholic Advocacy Network’s tools for urging our elected officials to vote in support of the common good.

The political challenges that face our nation, our state, and our cities and towns demand urgent moral choices on behalf of all citizens. Pray, inform your conscience, speak up for the common good, and be generous with your spiritual, social, or material means. As we run forth to meet our Christ, let’s look for Jesus around us and work toward improving our society for all of God’s children to achieve the happy and healthy existence they deserve.

DECEMBER 2014 Column from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference – the public affairs agency of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. Stay up-to-date with Catholic news and issues at www.pacatholic.org, www.facebook.com/pacatholic, and www.twitter.com/pacatholic.

 

 

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/run-forth-to-meet-christ/

A Life Devoted to Service and Prayer

A Life Devoted to Service and Prayer
California Bishops Honor Those Leading a Consecrated Life

CCC logo(En Español) During 2015, the Year of Consecrated Life, the Bishops of California join with Pope Francis and the worldwide Catholic Church in honoring the women and men who fulfill their baptismal vocation by formally consecrating their lives to service, prayer and care for others.

Download a PDF version of “A Life Devoted to Service and a Prayer”

The sisters, brothers and priests in contemplative communities, apostolic institutes and religious orders are a gift to us all. They are a living example of discipleship by their commitment to Christ, holiness, and compassionate service to others. They daily bring the joyful Gospel message to our world. Their fidelity to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience enriches the life of the Church.

Various religious orders of women and men have long graced California with their unique charisms and courageous missionary zeal. With a heartfelt devotion to the people of California and with a particular concern for the poor and immigrants, they have built schools, hospitals, social services, missions, children’s homes and other institutions to address the needs of our communities. In doing so, they helped build the virtue and vitality of the Golden State.

Franciscans built the Missions beginning with San Diego in 1769. In 1854, the Sisters of the Presentation began ministries to serve settlers flocking to California during the Gold Rush. In 1872 the Sisters of the Holy Family were founded in San Francisco. At the urging of Archbishop Joseph Alemany –himself a Dominican – the Jesuits, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary, the Daughters of Charity and others opened schools and other ministries throughout California. These are only a glimmer of the formidable legacy of religious men and women who came to serve all Californians:

  • Hospitals founded by communities such as the Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St. Joseph’s of Orange, Providence and the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary are still thriving. Catholic health systems and independent hospitals comprise nearly one in five hospitals in California.
  • Great universities across California – sponsored by religious men and women – continue to graduate thousands of men and women who give shape to our society in business, the arts, politics, science and other fields.  
  • Religious orders like the Christian Brothers, Sisters of Providence and Salesians operate outstanding high schools and primary schools serving generations of families.
  • And countless charitable and pastoral ministries were birthed and flourished – meal programs, youth groups, bible studies, migrant ministries, counseling centers, spiritual direction and more. Many of these apostolates are still coordinated by sisters and other religious. They invigorate and animate our parishes.

This noble history continues. California and the Church are still benefitting from many new religious orders founded here and elsewhere in the world. As in the past, religious men and women from all over the globe bring the richness and power of their faith to this State.

At the heart of all that is done are the lives of women and men who have given themselves to Lord Jesus. They have chosen to know, love, and serve him in their fellow Californians. These lives aflame with the wisdom and charity of Christ are what bring hope and joy to the work of the Church in this State.

A special note of gratitude goes to the families, the domestic church. They have generously given their children to the saving mission of the Church. Families support and encourage their children to follow Jesus. To this day some have chosen to do so along the path of a consecrated life. As the Universal Church examines how to better evangelize families in the midst of tremendous societal changes, we should celebrate the role of the families in nurturing vocations for the good of the Church as well as society.

Special celebrations and events are planned by the Church around the world and California during 2015. Each diocese is blessed with religious communities of women and men who are an integral part of the life of the local church. This partnership will be savored and celebrated in the coming year. Each of us can also offer our prayers of thanksgiving and ask God’s blessings upon our sisters and brothers living a consecrated life. We can also learn about religious communities near us, visit a monastery or cloistered community, examine the consecrated life through parish activities or visit with elderly sisters, brothers or priests. Even though many religious have retired from active ministry, their faithful prayers and sacrifices still sustain the mission of Jesus.

Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II and the issuance of Perfectae Caritatis (Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life), the Year of the Consecrated Life is also a time for religious communities to look back with gratitude at the charism upon which they were founded as they look toward the future with evangelical hope. We assure them of our prayers during this year as we all strive to listen to God and to live our life in imitation of Christ who came not to be served but to serve. (Mt. 20.28)

We look to Mary who was the first to give herself body and soul to the power of the Most High (Lk. 1.35). The religious men and women give echo to her canticle by allowing their lives to magnify the greatness of the Lord (Lk. 1.46). May her tender intercession continue to inspire those of the consecrated life. Together with them may all the Church go with missionary haste to announce the joy of the Gospel (Lk. 1.39). Holy Mary, temple of the Holy Spirit and ark of the New Covenant, pray for the men and women of the consecrated life. May all your Son’s disciples be living stones making an acceptable offering to God, our Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord (I Pt. 2.5). AMEN

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Note: Additional information on the consecrated life is available at www.cacatholic.org and a prayer in both English and Spanish is available atwww.usccb.org.   A special touring exhibit on the impact of women religious in California is available at http://womenandspiritcaliforniaonline.com/. The website for the special touring exhibit is: http://womenandspiritcalifornia.com/. And more on communities of religious men can be found at the Conference of the Major Superiors of Men – http://www.cmsm.org/.

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/index.php/resources/california-bishops-statements/939-consecrated-life

Michael Ballard Execution Stayed

Mr. Michael Ballard had been scheduled for execution on December 2, but a judge has granted him a stay.

While Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano declared Michael Ballard competent to make the decision to stop appealing his death sentence, Judge Giordano also granted Mr. Ballard’s request to stay his execution.

Mr. Ballard’s apparent contradictory requests to not appeal his death sentence and his request for a stay are rooted in the distinction he makes between on the one hand accepting his death sentence and waiving his post-conviction appeals, and, on the other hand, not wanting to be tortured to death by the state.  Many recent examples of botched executions in other states  reveal the brutality of the death penalty.

Mr. Ballard is now a plaintiff in two separate cases contesting the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s execution procedures.

Send a message to elected officials asking them to uphold a culture of life here.

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/michael-ballard-execution-stayed/

Pass the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act

On August 22, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) ordered all health plans under its jurisdiction, including those provided by churches and other religious institutions to their employees, to provide coverage for all abortions. The order includes abortions at any stage and for any reason, because (says the DMHC) killing unborn children is “a basic health care service.” Other states are considering similar proposals.

California’s action violates federal law. The Weldon Amendment, a part of appropriations law since 2004, provides that governmental bodies receiving federal funding may not discriminate against a health care entity that “does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” But Weldon lacks effective enforcement and has been subject to legal challenges. To strengthen its protection, Congress should pass the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) as part of must-pass funding legislation at the earliest possible opportunity. For a letter to Congress from the U.S. bishops on this matter, see: www.usccb.org/news/2014/14-192.cfm.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TODAY!

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pass-the-abortion-non-discrimination-act/

USCCB Migration Chairman Welcomes Obama Administration Announcement of Relief for Immigrant Families, USCCB President Cites Urgent Pastoral Need for a More Humane View of Immigrants


Action keeps families together and protects children

“We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,� said Bishop Elizondo.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the USCCB said, “There is an urgent pastoral need for a more humane view of immigrants and a legal process that respects each person’s dignity, protects human rights, and upholds the rule of law. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said so eloquently: ‘Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.’�

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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2127

USCCB Welcomes Announcement Of Relief For Immigrant Families

usccb1-150x150From the USCCB—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, welcomed the news today that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.

“We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,” said Bishop Elizondo.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the USCCB said, “There is an urgent pastoral need for a more humane view of immigrants and a legal process that respects each person’s dignity, protects human rights, and upholds the rule of law. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said so eloquently: ‘Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.’”

Bishop Elizondo added, “I strongly urge Congress and the President to work together to enact permanent reforms to the nation’s immigration system for the best interests of the nation and the migrants who seek refuge here. We will continue to work with both parties to enact legislation that welcomes and protects immigrants and promotes a just and fair immigration policy.”

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/usccb-welcomes-obama-administration-announcement-of-relief-for-immigrant-families-usccb-president-cites-urgent-pastoral-need-for-a-more-humane-view-of-immigrants/

USCCB Welcomes Obama Administration Announcement Of Relief For Immigrant Families, USCCB President Cites Urgent Pastoral Need For A More Humane View Of Immigrants

usccb1-150x150From the USCCB—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, welcomed the news today that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.

“We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,” said Bishop Elizondo.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the USCCB said, “There is an urgent pastoral need for a more humane view of immigrants and a legal process that respects each person’s dignity, protects human rights, and upholds the rule of law. As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said so eloquently: ‘Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ! We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected, and loved.’”

Bishop Elizondo added, “I strongly urge Congress and the President to work together to enact permanent reforms to the nation’s immigration system for the best interests of the nation and the migrants who seek refuge here. We will continue to work with both parties to enact legislation that welcomes and protects immigrants and promotes a just and fair immigration policy.”

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/usccb-welcomes-obama-administration-announcement-of-relief-for-immigrant-families-usccb-president-cites-urgent-pastoral-need-for-a-more-humane-view-of-immigrants/

President’s Action on Immigration Will Help Families But Must Not Hamper Comprehensive Immigration Reform

statueoflibertycoin150Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference, issued the following statement with regard to the President’s Executive Action on immigration:

“Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue in the United States. The Bishops of California welcome the President’s action to offer some humanitarian relief for hard-working families who have lived in the shadows for too long.

“As pastors we witness firsthand the needless strain and pain the broken immigration system has inflicted on our communities.   Respect for human life and dignity demands that our national leaders put people before politics. They should reform the immigration system, adhering to the traditional, sound principals of U.S. immigration: family unity, proper protection of our borders, and addressing the root cause of forced migration. An essential part of the solution should include a legalization program with an earned path to citizenship.

“We acknowledge that many will find some hope and peace-of-mind by this action. Parents and children will no longer live in fear of being separated. Growers and other employers will know their valued, productive employees are safe. Law enforcement will be able to work more closely with immigrant families to ensure the safety and tranquility of their communities. As we have done for many years through our Catholic Charities and other partners, we will continue to assist them in obtaining the benefits provided by law.

“We advise caution and patience while the details of the President’s order are carefully evaluated. With time, we will understand how the order will be implemented. Be wary of any unscrupulous attempts to exploit unsuspecting immigrants by offering quick solutions.

“We call on Congress and the President to work together toward a more comprehensive response to the humanitarian crisis of a broken immigration system. We will work with the California Congressional delegation and the President to accomplish that goal.”

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/index.php/issues2/human-dignity/immigration/935-president-s-action-on-immigration-will-help-families-but-must-not-hamper-comprehensive-immigration-reform

Adoption Month: 5 Siblings Adopted Together

adoption

The Roush family on adoption day. Photo courtesy of The Catholic Witness

November is National Adoption Month, and no family is happier to celebrate it than the Roush family.

On November 18, the siblings, ranging in age from 7 to 16, will be adopted by their aunt and uncle in Dauphin County in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The adoption has been facilitated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg.

“We have been blessed by these five children.  The children have brought such joy, not only to us, but to our whole family.  We are so excited to finally be a forever family.  They filled a space in our hearts we always knew was empty,” said Mr. and Mrs. Roush.

The family has partnered with Catholic Charities to make this dream a reality. Catholic Charities Adoption Services of Diocese of Harrisburg serves 15 counties in Central Pennsylvania. Opened in 1938, Catholic Charities Adoption Services has assisted birthparents, adoptive families and children, treating every person with love and acceptance.

“The social workers at Catholic Charities have been working with the Roush family for over 2 years.  Our caseworkers have prepared the children for permanent placement with a family over many sessions. We created their family profile, which certifies the Roush family for adoption, and we completed the children’s profiles, which are required by the Department of Public Welfare. And we are very pleased to be completing the process by finalizing the adoption with Judge Hoover,” said Kelly Bolton, MSW, LSW, the Program Director for Catholic Charities Adoption Services.

After the adoption finalization with Judge Hoover, Bolton said, “This is such a happy moment for these children, and for our community.  Stability, love, and permanence are the best things we can give children, and adoption does that. We are blessed to have been a part of this.”

Not only does this happy moment come during National Adoption Month, this is also the largest group adoption ever completed by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg. For more information about the adoption program at the Diocese of Harrisburg, visit here. For information about adoption in other parts of the state, visit www.adoptionpa.org.

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/adoption-month-5-siblings-adopted-together/

Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori Urge Congress To Include Abortion Non-Discrimination Act in Funding Legislation


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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2125

Archbishop Wenski, Bishop Cantu Urge Congress To Protect Programs That Help the Poor and Vulnerable


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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2123

Pope Francis Will Attend the World Meeting of Families

Pope FrancisThe Vatican confirms the Holy Father’s visit to Philadelphia next year

In remarks offered today in Rome, Pope Francis formally announced his intention to attend the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, set to be held September 22-27, 2015. This visit will mark his first to the United States as pope. He will be only the fourth reigning Pontiff to visit our nation in its history.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and a delegation of World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 organizers were present for the announcement, which the Holy Father made at the opening of the Humanum Colloquium. Also present were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Bishop Jean Lafitte, and Monsignor Carlos Simon Vaszquez of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which is the co-sponsor of the World
Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput said, “I am overjoyed by Pope Francis’ announcement that he will join with us for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year. A hallmark of his papacy has been a keen focus on the many challenges that families face today globally. His charisma, presence and voice will electrify the gathering.”
“As I’ve said many times before, I believe that the presence of the Holy Father will bring all of us – Catholic and non-Catholic alike – together in tremendously powerful, unifying and healing ways.  We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him  joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts.”

Read more here.

Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pope-francis-will-attend-the-world-meeting-of-families/