Secretariat for Justice and Peace
The Office of Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Gaylord exists to provide support and information on social justice issues in our parish communities.
Our faith calls us to work for justice: to serve those in need; to pursue peace; to defend life, dignity and rights of all our sisters and brothers. This is the call of Jesus, the challenge of the prophets, and the living tradition of the Church. (A Century of Social Teaching, NCCB, 1991).
SEE IMMEDIATE ACTION ITEMS AND
UPCOMING EVENTS BELOW!
December 10: Pope Francis Launches Campaign Against Hunger
USCCB Pro-Life Office: HHS Mandate and the Church's Response
Dear Pastors, Parochial Vicars, Administrators and Other Friends:
The letter below comes from the USCCB Pro-Life Activities Office. I am including it here in its entirety because it is comprehensive and very clear about the resource options available to our parishes concerning the HHS Mandate and the Church's response. Please use the available resources to the fullest extent that you can.
Thanks very much!
Father Wayne Dziekan
As you know, since January there has been much attention to our efforts to address the very troubling Health and Human Services (HHS) coercive mandate requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. For the first time in our nation s history, the federal government will force religious institutions to facilitate drugs and procedures contrary to our moral teaching. And it will purport to define which religious institutions are religious enough to merit an exemption.
While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has had to respond quickly to many urgent situations with the Administration, Congress and the media, we certainly want to be responsive to our people in the pews. The Conference has been working to develop a series of bulletin inserts to address a wide range of issues from our concerns over religious liberty to the Church s teaching on sexuality and openness to new human life. Some of these will simply be catechetical, and others will encourage parishioners to take some needed action.
The first insert is now available for parish distribution from the end of April through the end of May. The focus is on Religious Liberty, the Most Cherished of American Freedoms , [Spanish] and it encourages parishioners to send an email message to HHS during the limited comment period announced by the Administration. As the Conference has done with the other nationwide bulletin inserts related to healthcare reform or the HHS mandate, these are being provided electronically to bishops and their diocesan leaders. This model has worked well as many parishes have printed these one-sided inserts directly into their bulletins. All inserts will be provided in both English and Spanish and can be printed in B&W or color.
Over the next months, suggested homily notes, Prayers of the Faithful and additional prayer resources will continue to be posted on the USCCB website www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/resources-on-conscience-protection.cfm#prayers .
On the topic of prayer, we re pleased to report that the nationwide call to prayer has been a great success. Even before the first print run of our nationwide prayer cards, the order had to be increased. Thank you for encouraging your parishes to participate in this prayer campaign. Prayer cards can be ordered on-line in English and Spanish at www.usccbpublishing.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=7-328 .
One final reminder: These and all other resources are found through our main conscience page which has a convenient nickname: www.usccb.org/conscience .
God bless you during this Easter Season and always!
Action Alert - Farm Bill
Here is another IMPORTANT Action Alert that is co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, The National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and Catholic Relief Services. Since our Diocese is rural and is located in a heavily agricultural State, this Action Alert is especially important for our State and its people. Moreover, the Farm Bill has global outreach and is directly connected to agricultural assistance in our SISTER DIOCESE OF MATAGALPA, NICARAGUA! Therefore, RESPONDING TO THIS ACTION ALERT IS AN EXAMPLE OF SOLIDARITY BETWEEN OUR TWO DIOCESES, AS WHATEVER ENDS UP GETTING PASSED IN THIS FARM BILL WILL AFFECT ALL OF US!
In addition even to that connection, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is the Chairperson of the Senate Agriculture Committee and therefore is in a position to have a lot of influence on this important bill's renewal, which takes place every 5 years (The current Farm Bill will expire on September 30, 2012.) The problem here is that at times of renewal, changes are often made or at least attempted. As expected, some of the changes being promoted this time are in conflict with Catholic teaching. Please help Sen. Stabenow to help us and people all across our nation, as well as people around the world including the people of Matagalpa, Nicaragua!
With special reference to our Hermanamiento with Matagalpa, CRS is supporting the following points, which can be found in the attached document (background and talking points) with greater detail:
1. Food for Peace funding that is dedicated to addressing persistent hunger, also known as the safe box, must be preserved
2. The U.S. should do all it can to help hungry people during emergencies, but this shouldnt come at the expense of helping people who suffer persistent hunger
3. Food for Peace development programs should receive reliable and predictable funding in the amount of $450 million annually
4. Food for Peace safe box programs can be improved and made more efficient.
Point #3 is highlighted above because Sen. Stabenow is on record as saying she wants to change the way Food for Peace development programs are funded in a way that would risk major cuts in funding. SUCH CUTS WOULD DIRECTLY AFFECT PROGRAMS IN NICARAGUA SUCH AS ACORDAR.
Below is a very clear brief explanation of the Farm Bill (Background and Talking Points), a very enlightening example of the Farm Bill's connection to Matagalpa through a Farm-Bill-funded program called "Acordar", and a copy of the letter sent to the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture by the USCCB, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, and Catholic Relief Services. All three attachments would be great to use in your parishes to help build awareness about the Farm Bill and about its connection to our Hermanamiento with the Diocese of Matagalpa, Nicaragua.
It would be great if pastors and administrators might consider using these materials for an education program on the Farm Bill especially since most of us EAT and, therefore, are completely dependent on products of Michigan and nation-wide Agriculture!! Please do your best to respond! AS ALWAYS, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WHEN SENDING IN AN EMAIL OR HAND-WRITTEN LETTER, YOU "MAKE THE LETTER YOUR OWN." IF WE ALL SEND IN THE SAME LETTER, COMPUTERS WILL REJECT THEM AS DUPLICATES. YOU MAY EITHER WRITE A LETTER COMPLETELY YOUR OWN, RE-WRITE THE SUGGESTED LETTER BELOW IN YOUR OWN WORDS, OR ADD ANOTHER LINE OR 2 (IN A SEPARATE PARAGRAPH) TO WHAT IS ALREADY THERE, OR MAKE A PHONE CALL TO SEN. STABENOW'S OFFICE, OR TO ANY OR ALL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE. ANY OF THESE OPTIONS SHOULD PROVE VERY EFFECTIVE IN ADDRESSING OUR CONCERNS TO CURRENT FARM BILL CONSIDERATIONS.
Many thanks! Father Wayne