Monday, July 10, 2006

Summer Bulletin

Welcome to the Summer edition of Faith Doing Justice! I hope you are enjoying some free time this summer. I took this picture of my summer garden which is growing well with all the rain and now sunshine.

Social justice is also growing in our diocese. I haven't updated this blog for awhile just because there's been so much going on!

We just held our second Justice Symposium on June 24 at Santa Clara University and over 250 attended. We were able to honor a great leader in our diocese, Monsignor Eugene Boyle who just celebrated his 60th anniversary as a priest.

We have been working on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform and participated in the April 10 and May 1 marches. Father Jon Pedigo has been appointed as director of this effort in our diocese.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you. Thank you for all that you do. The following are some articles to update you on some recent activities.

In This Issue...
Immigration Reform - An Update
Labor Day 2006
Immersion Experiences Available in the Diocese
Over 250 Attend Justice Symposium
Just Faith 2006-2007
New Social Justice Column in Valley Catholic
Summer Mission Co-Op Program
CCHD Awards Two National Grants in Diocese
Social Justice Series Offered at St. Clare Parish

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Immigration Reform - An Update

The Human Concerns Commission of the Diocese of San Jose has been working to implement the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform (CCIR) in our diocese. For several months, we have been working in collaboration with a coalition of other groups and participated in the hugely successful marches on April 10 and May 1. To more fully implement the Campaign, Bishop McGrath has appointed Father Jon Pedigo as Director of CCIR. Father Pedigo has submitted the following Immigration Report to summarize our activities to date and provide a legislative review.

Immigration Reform (CCIR) Update – July 7, 2006

Immigration reform activity from January to present:
• January: Held a series of meetings with immigrant community leaders, social service providers, labor, inter-religious groups, immigrant supporters.
• February-March: Continued to meet with groups, attended press conferences, began community education presentations in parishes.
• March-April: Represented the Church in marches and in coalition meetings. Opened up local coalition partners’ agenda to include educators and schools.
• April-June: Participated in inter-diocesan and regional meetings in order to develop long-range strategies for education.

Legislation Issues Affecting Immigrants:
HR4437 (from the House). Non-partisan legislation that is best described as punitive and it does not address comprehensive reform in the immigration system. HR 4437 creates a new federal crime of “unlawful presence” and broadens the definition of immigration violations to include every violation - however minor, whether intentional or not - as a federal crime. The penalty is also extended to those who help the undocumented. HR 4437 also proposes the mandatory detention of all non-citizens attempting to enter the U.S. unlawfully. A new category of “dangerous alien” is created and immigrants can be held in detention indefinitely. HR4437 also calls for building a two-layered fence in parts of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

The Senate has immigration legislation pending, S2611. This bill has several positive provisions: a pathway to citizenship for up to 10 million people, a temporary worker program which allows workers to self-petition for a green card; reunification programs for families; includes educational opportunities for students to qualify for in-state tuition. There are some negative provisions: enforcement provisions that make it mandatory to detain immigrants; deployment of National Guard along the southern border; a hard-lined verification system making employers responsible for immigration law enforcement.

What’s happening this summer? House representatives refuse to meet with the Senate. Majority party members refuse to support labor provisions and path to citizenship for immigrants. House majority party members are holding Summer “town halls” on immigration reform in order to gain support for their HR4437.

Summary: While neither bill supports the fullness of the Church’s position on immigration reform, S2611 at least includes some aspects of comprehensive reform. HR4437 does not contain any points that reflect the Church’s position. It appears that House members are grandstanding for November elections by turning to rhetoric that scapegoats immigrants for the economic hardship while side-stepping conversations on wage and taxation factors and avoiding bi-partisan efforts for humane immigration legislation. The CCIR will continue to invite dialog within parishes through more presentations and discussion groups as well as to work with its local coalition partners in the areas of voter registration and education (see Faithful Citizenship and Immigration Reform). At present there are no large-scale events (like the April and May marches) scheduled this Summer.

Labor Day 2006

A packet of materials will be available in August for Labor Day on September 3. These materials will highlight Catholic social teaching on the dignity of work and the rights of workers.

The materials will include sample homilies by diocesan clergy, prayers, a suggested 2-3 minute talk by a layperson or labor representative along with relevant excerpts from Catholic social teaching. Also included will be options for guest speakers representing hotel workers.

We hope that every parish will make use of these materials and take advantage of this opportunity to honor workers and their contributions.

Immersion Experiences Available in the Diocese

The Missions Office of the Diocese of San Jose [part of Evangelization, Justice, & Peace] is a co-sponsor of a program for immersion experiences for Young Adults. This new program in the Diocese of San Jose is led by Deacon Steve Herrera and will offer a series of immersion experience opportunities. This is in support of the Pastoral Plan which calls out including youth and young adults in meaningful ways in our Church and living out of Catholic Social Teaching as critical issues.

Recently, during the week of June 11-18th, seven young adults from the Diocese of San Jose set out on an immersion trip which was more of a pilgrimage to the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona and the Navajo Reservation that extends from Canyon de Chelly to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. For wonderful pictures and streaming video on this trip, see

For more information on immersion experiences in the Diocese of San Jose, contact Steve Herrera at

Over 250 Attend Justice Symposium

The Justice Symposium for 2006 was held on June 24 at Santa Clara University. The estimated attendance was over 250 - a 25% increase from the last Symposium in 2004! This year, we also had a Spanish tract for the first time.

Workshops were offered on parish social ministry, forming legislative networks, building partnerships with low-income groups, Catholic Social Teaching and immigration reform, justice and spirituality, leadership development, and others. John Carr, the Secretary of the USCCB Department of Social Development and World Peace delivered an inspiring and informative keynote address. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren gave an afternoon briefing on the current status of the immigration reform debate in Congress. A wide variety of resources were available from twenty national and community groups.

During lunch, Monsignor Eugene Boyle was honored with a Lumen Christi Award for his "lifetime achievement in social justice and for fostering a more just and equitable society."

Thank you to everyone who came and who supported this activity in our diocese.

Just Faith 2006-2007

Have you considered starting a Just Faith group in your parish? This is the time to get started. In our diocese, over 230 people have completed the program. These are people who are active in their parish and their community - advocates for justice. To have a group is a wonderful way to enliven the call to social justice in your parish.

Over 10,000 people nationally have completed the program and it is growing. It is jointly sponsored by Catholic Charities USA, CCHD, and CRS.

It involves a 10 month process of justice formation in which participants read books, see videos, and attend retreats. It involves little work for the parish.

For information, see You can download a "Getting Started" packet of material to see what is involved.

New Social Justice Column in Valley Catholic

A column for social justice has just been implemented in the Valley Catholic by the Human Concerns Commission (HCC). The first column on immigration by Gloria Cutshall appeared in the June edition. There will be a monthly column in which Diocesan Liaisons will write articles on particular topics of importance in our local and regional community.

Diocesan Liaisons are individuals who have expertise in specific areas such as the death penalty, access to health care, affordable housing, bioethics, labor issues & the working poor, elderly, mental health, immigration, and other key topics. They assist the Human Concerns Commission by providing testimony and research when requested and also by keeping the HCC informed of crucial issues. Each has been asked to contribute an article on a particular topic based on their perspective.

Thank you to Roberta Ward, Valley Catholic editor for supporting this effort.

Summer Mission Co-Op Program

The 2006 Mission Co-Op Program has now started in our diocese. Through the Mission Co-Op program, mission dioceses and mission-sending communities and groups are assigned to each of our parishes and missions. Each year, over 200 groups apply and we carefully chose just 20 at make appeals in our diocese.

Missionaries are coming from around the world including Haiti, the Philippines, India, Mexico, Peru, and Africa. The Mission Co-Op Program has a duel purpose: to help support missions financially and also to build solidarity with the poor and needy throughout the world. Last year in our diocese,over $230,000 went to these groups from your generous donations!

Missionary speakers are an under-utilized resource. They love to tell their stories. Invite them to give a talk to your school or group in the parish or just to have coffee after mass. They have much to share. For the name of your parish's assignment, date of their visit, and contact information, email Sylvia at

CCHD Awards Two National Grants in Diocese

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has awarded national grants to two self-help commununity organizing groups in the diocese of San Jose.

A grant of $20,000 was awarded to Low-Income Self-Help. LISHC works with very low income people, primarily women. This grant enables them to continue their work to advocate for universal health care. As part of their work, they have published a booklet containing testimonies and research on the impact of the lack of health care access in the local community.

A grant of $30,000 was awarded to SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network). SIREN works to empower the immigrant community primarily in the Mayfair district of San Jose. In addition to advocacy for just immigration laws, they provide education on issues important to the immigrant community and citizenship information.

The diocesan grant committee will also meet over the summer to consider other applicants for smaller grants issued by the diocese at the local level.

Congratulations to Low Income Self-Help and SIREN!

Founded 35 years ago, CCHD provides grants to groups working to empower the poor across the United States. The funds for these grants are raised by the annual collection on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. See for more information.

Social Justice Series Offered at St. Clare Parish

St. Clare has started a new series of talks to reflect on and promote Catholic Social Teaching. These talks have been put together by Quentin Dupont, a Jesuit seminarian assigned to St. Clare's for the month of July. Here for the summer, Quentin is studying philosophy at Fordham University in New York.

The talks began on July 5 with a presentation by Fr. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J. on Scriptural and Theological Foundations of Social Justice.

The next talk will be on Wednesday, July 12 when Quentin Dupont will give a talk on Economics and Globalization: the Catholic Call to Justice. On July 19, Gregory Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities will lead a reflection on immigration issues in light of the current debate in our country, with special attention to the situation in our local community.

The last session on July 26 will be offered by Fr. Rick Rodoni who will offer options for the future in social justice ministry including the possibility of starting a Just Faith program.

All presentations begin at 7:30 pm and will be the rectory at 725 Washington Street, Santa Clara.