Saturday, December 03, 2005

Advent Greetings

Advent Blessings and Welcome to this edition of Faith Doing Justice.

I hope that amid the busy activities of the season, that you will take a moment to view some of the information in this month's online newsletter.

We have a new intern in the office for Catholic Relief Services, Jennifer Ferber. Her inspiring story is included. Also included is a story from a local community organizer from PIA who describes her work in helping to provide assistance to local government in Baton Rouge following the Katrina disaster.

At this date, we are awaiting to see if the governor will grant clemency in the case of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Bishop Patrick McGrath has issued a statement which is included calling for clemency. Also, attached is the new statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in opposition to the death penalty.

I hope that you will take a moment also to view the many Upcoming Events. There are many opportunities for you to be involved in the work of justice in our local Church and community.

Many blessings!


*Global Christmas ornament from Maryknoll San Francisco

In This Issue...

Upcoming Events - Through February 2006

Thursday, December 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Friday, December 9
Vespers, Our Lady of Guadalupe, 7:00 - 9:30 pm, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 2020 E. San Antonio St., San Jose. Come early to get a seat at this beautiful, traditional celebration.

Saturday, December 10
International Human Rights Day
Death of Thomas Merton, 1968

Third Annual Hunger Banquet, 6:00 pm, Office of Human Relations, 1880 Pruneridge Ave., Santa Clara. The event celebrates United Nations Human Rights Day. Supervisor Blanca Alvarado and community activist, Roz Dean will receive the James P. McEntee Community Award. Attendees randomly choose the name of a person from around the world and play that role during the evening. $25 + donation requested or $10 for students. No one turned away for lack of funds. Call 408-460-2999 for more information.

Monday, December 12
The following are some of the community events being planned on the eve of the scheduled execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams at 12:01am on December 13, 2005. As of this writing, the appeal for clemency to the governor is still pending. For updated information, contact the event organizers. For a full list of statewide activities, see Death Penalty Focus.

March and Vigil - March from Santa Clara Mission Church, Santa Clara University, to Cathedral and Government Office Buildings, 4:00 - 5:00 pm. Vigil at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, 80 S. Market St., San Jose, 5:00 - 6:00 pm. For updates on the schedule or more information, contact Fr. Mike Carson at 408-269-2226 or or Terry McCaffrey at 408-257-4611 or

"Abolish the Death Penalty" Vigil, 4:00 pm, Embarcadero & El Camino, Palo Alto. Bring candles and warm clothing. Car pool will be arranged for those going to San Quentin in the evening. Sponsored by the California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, Mid-Peninsula Chapter. For more information, contact Helen Baumann at

Vigil Prayer Service, 7:00 pm, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 751 Waverly St., Palo Alto. Sponsored by the Human Concerns Committee of the Palo Alto Catholic Community.

Monday, December 12
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patronal Day of the Americas

Tuesday, December 13
Christmas Around the World Celebration, 5:30 pm Mass, 6:30 pm Dinner, 7:30 Program, Maryknoll Mission Center (at St. Alphonsus Parish), 16300 Foothill Blvd., San Leandro. Come for all or part of the evening. Screening of the Orbis film, An African Christmas. RSVP to Juanita at 510-276-5021. Email at

Friday, December 16
The Advent Novena, Las Posadas, Begins

Sunday, December 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Friday, December 30
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Monday, December 26 - Monday, January 2
Diocesan Offices Closed

Sunday, January 1
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
World Day of Prayer for Peace

Sunday, January 8
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Vocations Awareness Week Begins

Wednesday, January 11
Parish Social Justice Liaison Breakfast Meeting, 7:30 - 9:00 am, Diocese of San Jose, St. Joseph Conference Room, 900 Lafayette St, San Jose.

Monday, January 16
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Diocesan Offices Closed

Wednesday, January 18
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Begins

Monday, January 23
Day of Prayer and Remembrance of Life - Anniversary of Roe versus Wade

Monday, January 30
2006 Justice Speakers' Forum: The Social Justice Legacy of John Paul II, 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Church of the Ascension, 12033 Miller Avenue, Saratoga. The topic of this discussion will be: The Death Penalty presented by Father Mike Carson and Amnesty International. The first of a series of six evenings of discussion based on the justice writings of Pope John Paul II. Subsequent evenings will be on February 27, March 20, April 24, May 22, June 12. $10 per session or free will donation. For additional information, contact Sister Elizabeth Avalos, BVM at

Friday, February 10 - Sunday, February 12
Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. A healing and reconciliation retreat in a supportive, confidential, and non-judgmental environment for those suffering the effects of abortion. For more information, contact Sister Mary Peter McCusker at 408-426-7343 or 1-888-HOPE-790.

Friday, February 10 - Wednesday, February 15
2006 Social Ministry Gathering, "Bringing Good News to a Broken World," Washington, DC. The annual coming together of social justice ministry leadership from national Catholic organizations and offices, dioceses, and parishes throughout the nation. Includes briefings on priority peace and justice issues and lobbying of legislators. See for more information and registration.

Saturday, February 11
Mass for World Day of the Sick, 11:00 am, Santa Teresa Church, 794 Calero Ave., San Jose. A special eucharistic celebration with anointing of the sick and blessing with Lourdes water. Organized by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath.

Monday, February 20
Presidents' Day , USA. Diocesan Offices Closed

Friday, February 24
Presentation by Sister Helen Prejean on Death Penalty, 7:00 pm, Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco. No reservations required, open seating. Suggested donation $15. For more information, call 415-243-0143. Sponsored by California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, Death Penalty Focus, Amnesty International USA and Grace Cathedral. With support of American Friends Service Committee.

Monday, February 27
2006 Justice Speakers' Forum: The Social Justice Legacy of John Paul II, 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Church of the Ascension, 12033 Miller Avenue, Saratoga. The topic of this discussion will be Justice and the Environment presented by Father Paul Fitzgerald, S.J. The second of a series of five evenings of discussion based on the justice writings of Pope John Paul II. Subsequent evenings will be on March 20, April 24, May 22, June 12. $10 per session or free will donation. For additional information, contact Sister Elizabeth Avalos, BVM at

"MARK YOUR CALENDAR" - A Few Upcoming Events

Saturday, March 18
Jubilee Year Mass, 10:00 am, St. Joseph Cathedral. The mass will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Diocese

Saturday, June 24
Justice Symposium II, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm, Santa Clara University, Benson Center. Co-Sponsored by the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. Keynotes, exhibits, informative workshops. Come and be inspired, meet with others working for justice throughout the diocese and local community.

Jennifer Ferber - New CRS Intern From Santa Clara University

Jenni works as an intern in the Office of Evangelization, Justice, & Peace through a grant received from Catholic Relief Services. She is a Senior in Religious Studies at Santa Clara University. She is available to share her experiences and to give presentations on global solidarity and the resources of CRS. She can be contacted at 408.983-0123 or She would love to talk to you!

It has now been almost two months since I began my CRS Internship here with the Diocese of San Jose, and what a wonderful two months it has been. For those of you whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting, I would like to share with you a bit of who I am, and why I am here.

As an active member of the Catholic Church, I feel it is my calling and duty, as well as my greatest joy, to serve those with the greatest need. Sometimes this can become frustrating, as we are not always sure how to engage in this service. This is one of the reasons Catholic Relief Services has recently begun to strengthen its presence here in the United States. As one of the most globally present organizations, CRS creates and solidifies global connections, opening up opportunities for a then global conversation. Through its national presence, CRS hopes to provide opportunities for individuals, schools, parishes, etc., to involve themselves in empowering and enriching projects that affect over 90 countries worldwide.

I am one to constantly ask the bigger questions in life, such as “what is my role in it all…as a Catholic, a human being, and as a pacifist?” I first began asking these questions after my struggle with a heart condition inspired me to make my first of many trips to the small community of Guarjila in El Salvador back in 2001. It was after this first trip that I witnessed the extreme implication of poverty on a global level. During my time there, I truly began to understand the meaning and importance of the ten foundational principles of Catholic Social Teaching. I knew then, upon my return from this very first global immersion, that it was time for me to start reacting to the human connection we all share on a global level and building off of these CST principles.

By graciously allowing me the opportunity to intern for their organization, CRS is helping me further address the bigger questions I continue to ask, and also providing that outlet I needed to react. In promoting and providing resources within the San Jose community, I want to communicate this widespread need of realization and reaction to the plight of our global brothers and sisters struggling with poverty, as well as a provide methods through which to foster more direct action-taking.

Throughout this experience, it is my hope that I be successful in spreading a sense of enthusiasm for global solidarity, as well as igniting a small flame of motivation within each encounter: high schools, parishes, the Santa Clara campus, etc. I remember being provided socially just education and resources throughout my youth, but they were not accompanied by enthusiasm and inspiration. While the flames that I ignite inside others might be small, they are still flames with the potential of growing stronger.

This hope is what continues to compel me in the work that I do with and for the Church. It is hope knowing that even my smallest actions, or the actions I help stimulate in others, will most certainly plant the seeds for a greater change. A prayer and reflection written by the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador best describes this feeling and this hope:

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

"Are You Called?" - New CRS Volunteer Program

Is someone you know being called to live one's faith in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world?

Catholic Relief Services is offering opportunities for U.S. Catholics to accompany and walk humbly with the poor overseas in their new volunteer program. Volunteers make a full-time, two-year commitment, of which 18 months is served overseas and six months in the United States. Volunteers work in several program sectors, such as; Agriculture, Community Health, Education, HIV/AIDS, Microfinance, and Peacebuilding.

To apply or learn more, visit the website at

"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine...
then let us work together."
--Lila Waston, Australian Aboriginal Woman

Friday, December 02, 2005

Poverty in America Awareness Month

In spite of the seemingly limitless prosperity that many Americans enjoy, millions of others are going hungry, foregoing medical care, doing without winter coats and gloves, struggling to break free from poverty.

With nearly 36 million residents, Poverty, USA, is the largest state in America. Today, 12.9 million children -- 1 in 6 -- live in poverty. Yet a recent Gallup poll found that only 5% of Americans believe poverty and homelessness are important problems for the country.

To bring attention to this forgotten state, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has designated January as Poverty in America Awareness Month.

During this special month of observance, CCHD will devote its efforts to heightening the nation's understanding of the breadth and depth of the problems of poverty by:

  • Releasing a new public opinion survey and powerful public education campaign designed to raise awareness of the state of poverty in America.
  • Encouraging the editorial media to focus on poverty. educating the public to be sensitive to the needs of those in poverty and to treat poor people with respect.
  • Holding activities in Catholic schools and public settings to make sure poverty is top-of-mind for all Americans.

You can help promote Poverty Awareness Month by:

An Advent Calendar for Social Justice

"Celebrate Christ's Coming Through the Doors of Our Hearts," a two-page Advent resource from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is available in Spanish and English. A supply of 100 copies has been provided to each parish. Also, you can bookmark the online version of the new animated calendar and open a door for each day at

Advent Resources on Global Poverty

Early in December, attention will be drawn to the issue of poverty in our world as preparations are made for the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, December 13-18. Groups like the ONE Campaign and Make Poverty History will be organizing events and running ads that invite Americans to consider the scandal of so much desperate poverty in this country and abroad.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, working with Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and Bread for the World has developed parish resources on global poverty for the Advent season. The theme, "For Unto Us a Child is Born," will encourage us to prepare to celebrate Christ's birth and to remember all the children born to us every day who suffer from hunger and poverty.

These new resources which include ecumenical prayers and educational materials are available on the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty website:

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Issue November 2005 Mailing

The United States Catholic Conference Department of Social Development and World Peace have issued their November 2005 Mailing. Included are updates on an extensive list of domestic and international policy issues as well as Secretary John Carr's "Where We Are Now."

These reports are issued periodically throughout the year. To sign up to receive them via electronic mail, send an e-mail to:
Be sure to include your name, title, diocese/parish/organization, address, phone, and fax.

Bishop McGrath Issues Statement on the Impending Execution of Stanley Williams

The following is a statement from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Diocese of San Jose on the impending execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams. As of this date, the governor has not determined if Stanley Williams will be granted clemency.


There is an appointed time for everything, a time to kill and a time to heal….a time to be silent and a time to speak (Eccl 3:3, 7).

We have had our time of killing. Now is the time for healing. Now is the time to speak out, once again, in defense of life.

It is possible that on December 13 our state will execute Stanley Williams by lethal injection. Many will feel that justice has been accomplished, and many will feel avenged.
Many will be saddened because we know that the cycle of hatred and death will continue. Vengeance does not heal. It only escalates the violence.

I call upon Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to provide clemency to Stanley Williams.

Catholic teaching on this is clear:

Today, in fact as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are rare, if not practically non-existent.
Catechism of the Catholic Church

I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.
Pope John Paul II, January 27, 1999

Twenty-five years ago, our Conference of bishops first called for an end to the death penalty. We renew this call to seize a new moment and new momentum . . . Our nation should forego the use of the death penalty because

• The sanction of death violates respect for human life and dignity.
• State-sanctioned killing in our names diminishes all of us.
• Its application is deeply flawed and can be irreversibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by factors such as race, the quality of legal representation, and where the crime was committed.
• We have other ways to punish criminals and protect society. The sanction of death when it is not necessary to protect society undermines respect for human life and dignity.
A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, November, 2005

We recognize that human beings can and do commit grievous crimes, but we reject the use of the death penalty—especially when we can protect society with an alternate penalty of life imprisonment. In addition, of particular concern to us is the fact that the application of the death penalty is deeply flawed—with those who are poor or from racial minorities most often its subjects. The three pending executions in California are illustrative of these facts.

At this moment in time, we entreat Californians to ponder carefully whether the use of the death penalty makes our society safer. A moratorium is needed to evaluate whether the death penalty serves the common good and safeguards the dignity of human life. We are convinced that it does not.
Statement on Ending the Use of the Death Penalty in California
California Catholic Conference, November 30, 2005

The death of Stanley Williams will not stop the hatred, crime and violence which engulf our cities, homes, work places and schools. His execution will be just another symptom of our failure to deal effectively with the serious social problems of our times.

Let us work together and reject the death penalty and look for other ways of dealing with violent crime, ways which are truly effective and which are consistent with a basic and fundamental respect for the dignity of all human life.

November 30, 2005

U.S. Bishops Issue Statement in Opposition to Death Penalty

At the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bishops voted unanimously to approve, "A Culture of Life and Penalty of Death," a statement in opposition to the use of the death penalty, stating:

"During recent decades, we have seen that the death penalty is unnecessary and unjustified, undermining respect for human life and dignity and supporting a culture of death."

In "A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death," the bishops call for our nation to abandon the use of the death penalty as we move one step closer to building a culture of life. As a tool for education and reflection, this pastoral statement is an effort to help Catholics better understand and apply the Church's teaching on the death penalty.

All Catholics-from religious and political leaders to the parishioner in the pew-are called to join in the efforts to bring an end to capital punishment through prayer, outreach, education, reflection, and action.

For the full text see, USCCB Publishing

Death Penalty Vigil

On the weekend of October 22-23, 2005, as part of Amnesty International's Weekend against the death penalty, members of the faith community came together for a prayer vigil in Palo Alto and St. James Park in San Jose.

Photos courtesy of Rosario Vital, El Observador Press

Prayer for a Decade of Non-Violence

I bow to the sacred in all creation.

May my spirit fill the World with beauty and wonder.

May my mind seek truth with humility and openness.

May my heart forgive without limit.

May my love for friend, enemy and outcast be without measure.

May my needs be few and my living simple.

May my actions bear witness to the suffering of others.

May my hands never harm a living being.

May my steps stay on the journey of justice.

May my tongue speak for those who are poor without fear of the powerful.

May my prayers rise with patient discontent until no child is hungry.

May my life’s work be a passion for peace and nonviolence.

May my soul rejoice in the present moment.

May my imagination overcome death and despair with new possibility.

And may I risk reputation, comfort and security to bring this hope to the children.

Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB
Published by Pax Christi USA, 2000

2006 Justice Speaker's Forum Upcoming at Ascension Parish

The 2006 Justice Speakers' Forum: The Social Justice Legacy of John Paul II will be offered at Church of the Ascension, 12033 Miller Avenue, Saratoga beginning on Monday, January 30 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. The Forum will be a series of six evenings of discussion based on the justice writings of Pope John Paul II. $10 or free will donation. For further information, contact Sister Elizabeth Avalos, BVM at

Monday, January 30
Monday, February 27
Monday, March 20
Monday, April 24
Monday, May 22
Monday, June 12

The Death Penalty
Justice and the Environment
The Disparity of Wealth Between Poor and Rich Nations
Globalization: Free Trade/Fair Trade
Human Trafficking

Father Mike Carson, Diocese of San Jose & Amnesty International
Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., Santa Clara University
David De Cosse, Markkula Center of Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University
Jose Sands, S.J., Santa Clara University
Sister Diane Clyne, RSM
Father Ken Weare
Joe Hastings, Catholic Relief Services
Sister Jean Schafer, SDS

Parish Kit Available for Justice for Immigrants Campaign

The Justice for Immigrants website in Spanish is now available. Most of the materials that originated from the Campaign have been translated and are now available in Spanish at

Parish materials are now available at the Justice for Immigrants website,

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stories of Hope and Rebuilding...Guest Speakers Available

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) West is welcoming two guest speakers to the West Coast during Winter 2006; Thomas Awiapo and Mawarni Halijah A.Md "Anik". If your school, parish or any group of individuals, children or adults are interested in inviting Thomas or Anik for a presentation, please contact Elsa Arratia at Please consider inviting them - you will be enriched and inspired!

Thomas Awiapo:
Thomas is from Ghana and has a truly inspiring story of survival and success. Orphaned before the age of ten, he was left with two brothers, who would later die of malnutrition, to endure the hardships of poverty and hunger. Hear Thomas' story of how he became the first in his family to attend school and later to finish college. He is an integral part of the CRS work taking place today in Ghana. Thomas will be available February 1st - April 6th.

Anik is a CRS staff member in Banda Aceh, one of the many Indonesians whose life and home were devastated by the 2004 Tsunami. Anik came to CRS while living in a camp for displaced survivors with her family, in search of a job and a way to aid in the tremendous relief efforts that would be needed. As a Muslim woman in a leading role in a Catholic organization, Anik is continually impressed with CRS's unconditional support for the needy worldwide regardless of religion. Anik will be available January 18th - February 8th.

Note: Thomas and Anik's visits are sponsored by CRS as a service to groups who wish to inform their members about global relief. In kind or cash contributions to defray their local travel and housing expenses are greatly appreciated.

Hurricane Wilma Hits Florida Farmworker Communities

From National Farmworker Ministry E-News, October 27, 2005

Florida farmworker communities were hit hard by Hurricane Wilma. In rural Hendry County, where many of the residents are farmworkers living in trailers, an estimated 60 percent of the homes were damaged or destroyed; in Immokalee, another farmworker center, at least 100 housing units were destroyed and many more heavily damaged.

The storm caused more than $1 billion in damage to farms, groves, nurseries and packing plants. There are estimates that more than 30,000 workers will be out of work throughout the winter season and many will not qualify for disaster assistance due to lack of proper documentation. Others with documents don't access assistance programs out of fear that getting assistance will count against them when they seek legalization. Without cash and disaster unemployment assistance workers will have to move on and lose the opportunity to work in replanting and harvesting as agriculture recovers in the coming months.

Pictures of the Hurricane's effect on the Immokalee farmworker community Assistance can be sent to National Farm Worker Ministry, 438 N. Skinker Blvd., St. Louis MO 63130 and mark checks for disaster relief.

Local Community Organizer Aids in Katrina Relief Efforts

Note: This article was provided by Lori Abrahamsohn from the PIA Newsletter. PIA, or Peninsula Interfaith Action is a local community organizing group active in several faith communities including Catholic parishes in the north county. PIA is a member of the national organization, PICO. A Spanish version follows and was translated by Semi Gurbiel of PIA and the Diocese of San Jose.

By Krystal Caves, PIA Community Organizer

Krystal traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 28, 2005, to join other community organizers from the PICO National Network to speed recovery and build a solid future for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Krystal stayed for ten days. (PIA leaders contributed the funds that made this trip possible.)

My time spent in Baton Rouge working with PICO organizers and local leaders to ensure the rights of hurricane Katrina Survivors was filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, the work that we were doing was inspiring and would help change the lives of thousands of people in the state of Louisiana. On the other hand, the reality of people having lost everything was setting in. Although the work I was doing was a great work, I wished I could do more.

From day one, I had opportunities to speak with people from New Orleans directly affected by Katrina. It was amazing to hear how individual’s strength surfaced during this time of crisis and how people did not waiver in their faith although families had been divided and scattered. On October 4, 2005, PICO organizers were able to bring together over 800 people who spoke with one voice to Louisiana elected officials. People impacted by the hurricanes told their powerful stories. They created unity around a covenant to rebuild the great state of Louisiana and to ensure the rights of its people.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, and over 70 clergy entered into this covenant with the people of Louisiana. The Covenant to Rebuild Louisiana is a concrete plan for overcoming the obstacles that families face in seeking relief, recovery and rebuilding. With help and prayers from all of us, survivors of Hurricane Katrina will experience the fullness of the Covenant to Rebuild Louisiana.

To learn more about the Covenant to Rebuild Louisiana and PICO National Network’s ongoing commitment to the people of Louisiana, please visit

In Spanish:

Por Kristal Caves, organizadora comunitaria de PIA.

Kristal, viajó a Baton Rouge dia 28 de septiembre 2005, para reunirse con otros organizadores comunitarios de la Red Nacional de PICO, para agilizar la recuperación y la construcción de un futuro sólido para los sobrevivientes del huracán Katrina. Krystal, estuvo por diez días. (Los líderes de PIA contribuyeron con fondos para hacer posible este viaje).

El tiempo que pasé trabajando con los organizadores y líderes locales de PICO, para asegurar los derechos de los sobrevivientes de huracán Katrina estuvo lleno de sentimientos encontrados. Por un lado, el trabajo que hacíamos nos inspiraba. El trabajo ayudaría a cambiar miles de vidas en el estado de Louisiana. Por otro lado, la realidad de que la gente que lo había perdido todo comenzaba a encajar. Aún, cuando el trabajo que estaba haciendo era grande, deseaba hacer más.

Desde el primer día tuve la oportunidad de hablar con la gente de Nueva Orleans, directamente afectada por el huracán Katrina. Era asombroso escuchar la fuerza individual con que se encaraba esta crisis y aún cuando las familias estaban divididas y dispersadas la gente no renunciaba a su fe. El cuatro de octubre del 2005, los organizadores y líderes de PIA reunieron a 800 personas quienes hablaron a una sola voz con oficiales electos de Louisiana. La gente que fue impactada por los huracanes dieron testimonios fuertes. Crearon una alianza unida para reconstruir la grandeza del estado de Louisiana y asegurar los derechos de sus gentes.

La gobernadora de Lousiana Kathleen Blanco, el alcalde de Baton Rouge, Kip Holden, y más de 70 clérigos se unieron con la gente de Lousiana en esta alianza. La Alianza de reconstruir Louisiana es un plan concreto de sobre llevar los obstáculos con los que las familias se están enfrentando en su búsqueda de alivio, recuperación y reconstrucción. Con la ayuda y oraciones de todos nosotros, sobrevivientes del huracán Katrina experimentaremos la culminación de la Alianza de reconstruir Lousiana.

Para más información sobre la Alianza para reconstruir Louisiana, la Red Nacional de PICO y su continúo compromiso con la gente de este estado, por favor visite la página web.

Roe Reality Check Booklet

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities has just produced a new booklet, Roe Reality Check. This booklet is available in Spanish and English on the website, It is useful for distribution at parish events or on January 23, 2006, the day of penance on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The colorful booklet is easily to read and contain 15 prevalent myths associated with abortion.

California Catholic Conference Issues Statement on Proposition 73

Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, released the following statement thanking supporters and discussing the outcome of Proposition 73. Proposition 73 received more than 3 million votes, making it the top vote-getter among all eight initiatives on the ballot.

We are deeply disappointed that the voters of California chose not to pass Proposition 73, the Parents' Right to Know and Child Protection Act, which was on the November 8, 2005 special election ballot.

Proposition 73 was a common sense initiative that affirmed parental involvement in the medical and moral decisions of their minor daughters. Polls had consistently shown that both pro-life and pro-abortion rights voters approved this restriction, which would have placed abortion law in concert with other laws that grant parents oversight of and responsibility for minors.
  • Reflecting on the loss, we can make several observations.
    Proposition 73 garnered the most "yes" votes of all eight of the failed propositions.
  • The "no side" outspent the "yes side" by a considerable margin.
  • Although Proposition 73 did not pass, the campaign provided a valuable opportunity to educate the public, many of whom were unaware that children in public school grades 7-12 could be excused for confidential medical services-including abortion-without their parents' knowledge.
  • The campaign for Proposition 73 also offered us an opportunity to develop collaborative bonds with many other pro-life and pro-family groups in California.

We would like to personally thank all of our clergy, diocesan and parish staff, and the many volunteers who spent countless hours in this effort. The close vote count can be attributed almost entirely to the incredible grassroots effort throughout the state to which Catholics made an outstanding contribution.