Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome - End of Summer Edition

Welcome to the latest edition of "Faith Doing Justice." Summer is almost gone in spite of the wonderful weather. Children are off to to school and, for all of us, the always unfinished work of justice continues...

There have been some major disappointments over the past few months. Congress has failed to act on immigration reform legislation and, recently, the State budget has finally passed after a delay of 55 days with $703 million in cuts, many impacting social services to the poor.

In spite of the setbacks, we move forward.

The work in the diocese on immigration reform continues in collaboration with other groups in the county including our partnership with Catholic Charities and PACT.

We are also working with the California Catholic Conference and other dioceses in the state to develop new tools for advocacy and to increase the civic involvement of Catholics in the state. This will include the development of a statewide legislative network and educational outreach. Watch for announcements on this in the future.

I think you will see in the information below much to celebrate and many opportunities for involvement. As usual, let me know if I can be of help to you.

Many Blessings, Linda

In This Issue...

Parish Social Ministry Formation Opportunities - Fall 2007

Renewing the Church

This fall, there will be several new opportunities for learning and formation in Parish Social Ministry. We are still taking sign-ups, but time is limited. Let us hear from you!

JustFaith – a school year curriculum on the connection of Christian faith and practicing our faith for small groups of adults to follow with guides for prayer, reading, videos, guest speakers, and meetings with the poor. Similar to the RENEW or Faith Sharing group experience, participants grow in knowledge and community. Catholic and ecumenical versions available. Host this in your parish or join with others in your neighborhood or deanery.

Charity and Justice: Catholic Social Teaching, ILM class (open enrollment) – an eight week class on current issues such as affordable housing, environment, access to health care and their relationship to our faith tradition of valuing human dignity, being stewards of creation, sharing rights and responsibilities, and working for the common good. Each class will have a guest speaker and time for making the connections with our gospel values. Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:30 PM, at St. Lawrence Academy, Santa Clara.

JustFaith II, Skills for Parish Social Ministry - Support the Diocesan Pastoral Plan with this skill building training. There are twenty weekly sessions with practical applications for promoting justice education, dialogue, social analysis, conflict resolution, legislative advocacy and more. Learn how to put your parish mission of outreach to the poor into action in a more organized, communal and sustainable social ministry.

For more information contact Elizabeth Lilly, 408 325-5262 or For the 8 week class, contact either Elizabeth or Linda Batton, 408 983- 0158,

Click here for flyers and registration forms for Charity and Justice: Catholic Social Teaching and Just Faith II: Skills for Social Ministry.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

2007-2008 State Budget Signed

On Friday, August 24, 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the 2007-2008 State Budget with $703 million in vetoes to spending. Throughout his veto message, the Governor said repeatedly, "These reductions are necessary in order to further build a prudent reserve in light of the various uncertainties in revenues and spending that we face this year."

Most of these cuts, a total of $527 million, will affect health and human services including $55 million from a program that provides mental health services for the homeless. In response, Ned Dolejsi, Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference stated, "While fiscal responsibility is to be applauded, many of the actual decisions made by the Governor...will directly impact those who are the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. In our opinion, this budget has no 'moral center' to it. It is a statement of political expediency and legislative dysfunction. There is little to celebrate...after nearly eight months of work by our elected officials and a 55 day delay in passing it."

Click here for a brief summary by the California Catholic Conference of the Governor's actions on the key issues.

The Diocese of San Jose will be joining with other dioceses across California on a statewide legislative network. Information will be forthcoming. We anticipate that this network will be important in our future advocacy work on behalf of the poor and marginalized. To sign on, contact Linda Batton at

Labor Day Statement 2007: A Time to Remember, A Time to Recommit

The Labor Day Statement for 2007, "A Time to Remember, A Time to Recommit" by Bishop Nicholas DeMarzio of Brooklyn and Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee of the USCCB has just been released.

In his reflections, Bishop DiMarzio reminds us that the moral dimensions of work and workers' rights are at the center of our tradition and that many people in our midst lack decent work or fair wages, toil in terrible conditions and have no real voice in economic life.

In his "look back," he revisits the national debate over immigration reform which he says was at its core about workers who try to come to our land to secure better lives for themselves and their families by their labor. His analysis provides an excellent summary of the recent failure in Congress to enact immigration reform legislation.

In conclusion, he says, "Labor Day a time to recall the powerful and consistent teaching of our Church on the dignity of work and the rights of workers...For Catholics, Labor Day 2007 is a time to recommit in our own small ways - to our own work, to treat others justly, and to defend the lives, dignity, and rights of workers, especially the most vulnerable. This is a requirement of our faith and a way to advance the promise of our nation."

Click here for a copy of the full statement.

Labor Day Speak Out - 20 Parishes to Participate

It has become a tradition in our diocese that each Labor Day weekend, to remember and honor workers, many of our parishes participate in Labor Day Speak-Out. In this way, we again have the opportunity to remember that as Catholics, the dignity of work and the rights of workers are central elements to Catholic Social Teaching.

Organized by the Interfaith Council, this activity each year highlights a particular concern affecting area workers. Last year, the theme was the exploitation of hotel workers. As a result of presentations at Catholic parishes and other congregations throughout the valley, over 15,000 cards were signed in support of humane working conditions for hotel workers.

This year, the focus will be contract workers - those who often work in temporary or part-time positions and who do qualify for even minimal benefits.

During Labor Day Speak-Out, at the invitation of the parish, workers will give their testimony during mass and congregants will have the opportunity to add their names to statement supporting workers.

This year, 20 of our Catholic parishes in the Diocese of San Jose will be participating in this annual event.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

St. Catherine's Hosts Dinner for Darfur

On July 15, 2007, St. Catherine Parish in Morgan Hill hosted a Dinner for Darfur coordinated by their Social Justice team. Silvestro Akara Bakhiet from the Sudan was the guest speaker.

The Dinner was a tremendous success with over 200 attending and a total of $13,000 raised. Mario Banuelos, Social Justice Liaison for St. Catherine's said they expected about 60 and when more and more came, they just kept putting up chairs!

The funds at the Dinner will be donated to the work of Catholic Relief Services in Darfur. Estimates are that it will reach 150,000 people across Western Sudan and will help to provide food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, education, and agricultural support for those in desparate need in this humanitian crisis. The Social Justice team also put together additional information to the community on how to get involved such as fair trade, volunteer opportunities, and access to email alerts.

Congratulations to St. Catherine's and the Social Justice team as well as all involved including the Lifeteen group who provided the necessary chairs and much needed help!!

For further information on Darfur:

  • CRS - Catholic Relief Services webpage on Darfur has educational and background material and ideas for further involvement.

  • Save Dafur - Coalition of faith-based groups

Blue Bag Project at Holy Spirit - BE THE CHANGE!

Holy Spirit Parish has recently embarked on a very successful Blue Bag Project as part of their parish-wide committment to care for God's Creation. Once a month, after all weekend masses, colorful blue bags are made available for $1 each. These bags are to be used in place of plastic grocery bags and are re-usable, lightweight, and washable. By using these bags, the families at Holy Spirit will reduce the number of paper and plastic bags entering the local garbage landfill by as many as one million per year!

With the purchase of these "Be The Change" bags, the parish and its families make a tangible commitment to action on behalf of the environment by:

  • Purchasing a sufficient supply of bags

  • Making every effort to use the bags in place of plastic or paper bags

  • Looking for additional opportunities to care for God's creation recycling and encouraging others to use the bags

These bags serve as their commitment to stewardship for God's planet and as a visible symbol for change. In fact, Pastoral Associate, Penny Warne says, "We're seeing these bags everywhere. Some have even been spotted walking across the famous Abbey Road in London. We have noticed that our local grocery stores are now selling similar bags with their store logos!"

Congratulations to Holy Spirit!

Are you interested? See or contact Penny at Holy Spirit to see how to get started

Global Climate Change

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has joined with other faith groups in contacting members of Congress and urging them to make sure that the needs of people in poverty are top priorities in any legislation to address climate change. In addition to USCCB, these groups include the National Association for Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Orthodox Church in America.

Specifically, they have agreed on a core set of moral principles that should shape our nation's response to climate change:

  1. There is sufficient scientific consensus about the dangers of global climate change and the moral principle of prudence requires us to act now to protect the common good.

  2. There is persuasive evidence that the consequences of climate change will fall disproportionately on the world's most vulnerable people and inaction will only worsen their suffering.

  3. Policies aimed at addressing global climate change should seek to enhance rather than diminish the economic situation of people in poverty.

  4. Policies should seek to help vulnerable populations here and abroad adapt to adverse climate impacts and actively participate in efforts to address climate change

More information:
For a copy of the full letter, click here. For a resource sheet on global warming including useful website and ideas on preserving the environment, click here.

Immigrant Leadership Training

Learn to develop the vision, skills and leadership for our immigrant community. Participants discuss the commonality of human needs, and analyze the historic context of immigration laws. Explores diverse leadership styles, develop skills in public speaking, team building, networking, and community organizing techniques. Become more effective in working with media and government. Discuss current levels of immigrant involvement and develop strategies for overcoming barriers to civic engagement.

Classes are held at the County Office of Human Relations at 2310 N. First Street Suite 104 in San Jose and are offered on Wednesdays at 5:30 - 8:35 from September 4 through December 21 from 5:30 - 8:35. Three college units are awarded.

For information, contact Teresa Castellanos at or by phone at 408-792-2306.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Increase Affordable Housing in Silicon Valley - Catholic Charities

Shelter is a basic human need. Housing assistance is one of the greatest emergency needs in our county. Join with others in asking Congress to take three steps:

  • Increase HUD funding to provide 59,000 Section 8 vouchers for Santa Clara County. This is the number of families on the waiting list.

  • Pass the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund legislation for the construction of 1.5 million low-income housing units over 10 years.
  • Create legislation for the right to decent, affordable housing.

Send this message to your Congress person this month.

For more information contact Margherita Pagni, Social Policy Specialist, Catholic Charities, or (408) 325-5258.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Faith Formation Conference - September 21-22

Prophetic People Speak Truth/Los Profetas Hablan La Verdad -

Faith Formation Conference 2007

On September 21-22, 2007 the Diocese of San Jose will be joining with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and the dioceses of Monterey, Oakland, and Stockton for the annual Faith Formation Conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Over 2,000 attendees will be coming from all over Northern California. A variety of workshops will be offered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Information and registration is available online at or your parish office. Those who register in time for earlybird registration by August 31st will pay just $25 per day.

There are many workshops that will be of interest to justice advocates and ministers.

For a complete, downloadable list of suggested workshops for Social Justice Ministers, click here.

Respect Life Sunday - October 7

The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October. The program is highlighted in liturgies and marked by special events. The USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities publishes a program packet each year to call attention to numerous human life issues. Each contains information on current issues, program suggestions, liturgy resources and clip art.

Materials for the 2007-2008 program are now available. These program packets have been mailed to parishes. To download or view them online, click here.

World Mission Sunday - October 21

World Mission Sunday, organized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is a day set aside for Catholics worldwide to recommit themselves to the Church's missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.

Annually, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the next-to-last Sunday in October. As described by Pope John Paul II, World Mission Sunday is "an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world" (see Redemptoris Missio 81).

This year, World Mission Sunday will be celebrated on October 21. For information and materials, click here.

Global Poverty Conference - October 27

The Archdiocese of San Francisco will be hosting a conference on global poverty on Saturday, October 27. This is intended to be an action step follow-up to the historic conference last year.

Parish kits and advocacy tools will be available. To register, see the website, For information, call 415-614-5567 or contact them by email at Cost $20. Scholarships are available.

CCHD Collection - November 18

The work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is made possible by the generous donations of Catholic parishioners whose financial gifts in the annual CCHD collection, and at other times of the year, become the tools of self-reliance, self-sufficiency and self-determination for people who are motivated to break out of the cycle of poverty. This year, the annual collection will be on November 18.

Through grants, our diocese has the opportunity to provide assistance to many local self-help, community organizations working to empower the poor to fight against the root causes of poverty. The amount we have to give depends on the generosity of Catholics during the annual collection.

If you would like to have a speaker come to your parish from one of our committee members or a local CCHD-funded group, please contact Linda Batton at

Packets containing posters, flyers, and envelopes will be mailed to parishes within six weeks prior to the collection on November 18. A parish guide contains bulletin announcements, prayers, and program suggestions. For downloadable parish materials and more information about CCHD, click here.

Poverty USA - Make a Difference!

One In Six

Did you know - today 37 million Americans - 1 in 6 children - are struggling in poverty, making hard choices between food, health care, heat, and rent?

To bring attention to this national crisis, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has launched a new set of public service announcements (PSAs) for television, radio and print markets. The 2007 PSAs have been distributed to media outlets and can be viewed online. You may see these ads running on television and in the print media.

January is Poverty Awareness month. The website for Poverty USA contains wonderful resources in English and Spanish such as poverty facts, a poverty quiz and other material useful to raise awareness on poverty in the United States in your parish and community.

For information on Poverty USA and CCHD, contact Linda Batton at or by phone at 408-983-0158.

Safely Surrendered Baby Law

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law (also known as the Safe Haven Law) allows a parent or person with lawful custody to surrender a baby confidentially to a Safe Haven site, without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment.

A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally and confidentially surrender their baby within 3 days of birth to any public or private hospital emergency room in California. A bracelet will be placed on the baby for identification and a matching bracelet will be given to the parent. The bracelet will help identify the child if the parent changes their mind during the 14-day cooling off period. During this period, the person who surrendered the child can return to the hospital or Safe Haven site to reclaim the child. A baby can be safely surrendered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This information has been sent to our parishes by Elizabeth Lilly of Catholic Charities. For additional information including authorized Safe Haven sites, posters and other materials, click here: Safely Surrendered Baby Law.

Santa Clara County 2-1-1

Santa Clara County (2-1-1 SCC) is a free, non-emergency, confidential service that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Mandarin, and 140 other languages. For everyday needs and in times of crisis, 2-1-1 provides streamlined access to local community services such as food, shelter, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention, employment assistance, and so much more. It also serves as a link for individuals seeking to volunteer, provide resources, or assist during a crisis in Santa Clara County.

Parish & Community Relations Manager, Rubén Solorio, will be delivering 2-1-1 SCC brochures and posters to each of the parishes and schools in the Diocese of San Jose. He will also be of service to parishes that provide social services and ministries; assisting them in registering with 2-1-1 SCC. Filling out 2-1-1 SCC profiles will give the Diocese the ability to be included in the 2-1-1 SCC database and inform our parish communities of the services we are providing through our local parishes.

For more information, please contact Rubén Solorio 408-325-5129

Friday, August 03, 2007

"Our Journey to Native Lands" - Immersion Experience to Fort Apache

By Deacon Steve Herrera

Note: Steve Herrera is the Director of the Immersion Program for the Diocese of San Jose. See the website for pictures, you will be inspired!

During the summer of 2007, six Catholics from the Diocese of San Jose and two Buddhists from the Shinnyo-en sect of Buddhism, travelled to Arizona and New Mexico to encounter Native American culture and experience Native American Spirituality.

We started our journey by going to the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The Heard provided us with an overview of the history of Native American peoples in the Southwest and exposed us to numerous artifacts of various tribes.

Our journey then took us to Canyon de Chelly, where we toured and viewed ancient cliff dwellings in Navajo country. Subsequent to that visit we ventured to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and toured ancient ruins of the Anasazi people. We also had the privilege to go to Mass and get a tour of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, in Chinle on the Navajo reservation.

Our final stop led us to the Hopi reservation where we toured Walpi Mesa, the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in North America.

We returned to Fort Apache, in Whiteriver, Arizona, located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. We had the privilege of participating in the Sweat Lodge ceremony and various phases of the Sunrise Ceremony, which is the coming of age ceremony for young Apache women.

For more information regarding this unique experience please contact Deacon Steve Herrera at this trip is open to any adult Catholics in the Diocese of San Jose, ages 21 and up.