Sunday, November 18, 2007

Welcome to Fall Edition

Welcome to the Fall Edition of Faith Doing Justice the online newsletter from the Office of Evangelization, Justice, & Peace.

As usual, there is a lot to see including information on how to sign-on to a new legislative network formed in partnership with the California Catholic Conference.

I hope you will find this newsletter useful and informative. Feel free to share it with others.



In this issue...

Join the Legislative Network! - Diocese of San Jose Joins with California Catholic Conference on Legislative Network

The Diocese of San Jose has joined with the California Catholic Conference and other dioceses across California to form a new legislative action network.

Click here to sign-on.

You can make a big difference in just five minutes. Join our network and we'll send you important updates regarding on critical legislation and how you can speak out on important issues. This is our opportunity to bring our values to the political process and to speak up for those without a voice!

In addition to statewide issues, we will be adding local issues important to our valley as well as national and international alerts.

Join with others throughout the state and Diocese to make a difference!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

U.S. Catholic Bishops Approve Faithful Citizenship Document

"In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear witness in all that we do." No. 13

On November 14, 2007, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a new statement on Faithful Citizenship entitled: "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States."

The statement urges Catholics to be involved in public life and to use the values of their faith to shape their political choice.

A preliminary website for the 2007 statement can be found at The full site with a range of resources including material in Spanish and for youth will be available in early January 2008.

Bishops Issue Statement on the War in Iraq

On November 13, 2007, Bishop William S. Skylstad, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on Iraq entitled: "A Call for Bipartisan Cooperation on Responsible Transition in Iraq." In this statement the bishops seek to draw on Catholic moral teaching to continue to raise ethical questions regarding the War in Iraq and the involvement of our nation.

To share the moral guidance of the Conference more widely, a summary of USCCB perspectives on Iraq and Question-and-Answer format was released with the Presidential Statement. The Q&A can be useful in discussion groups and educational settings in parishes and schools.

Copies of both documents can be found on the web page. Click here.

Conscientious Objection to War - New Resource Available

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has recently created a new web page to help those making decisions of conscience regarding war:

In a letter dated August 21, 2007 from Bishop Wenski of Orlando and Chairman of the Committee on International Policy, Bishop Wenski states that this resource was created, "in view of the fact that some Catholics, especially younger people are raising questions regarding the Church's position on conscientious objection to participation in warfare." The need for this guidance was anticipated earlier in the months immediately preceding the Iraq War when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated:

We pray for all those most likely to be affected by this potential conflict, especially the suffering people of Iraq and the men and women who serve in our armed forces. We support those who risk their lives in the service of our nation. We also support those who seek to exercise their right to conscientious objection and selective conscientious objection, as we have stated in the past. (November 12, 2002)

The website contains a short document, Guidance on Questions of Conscience and Military Service. This document and the web page contain relevant excerpts from documents of the Church to help in responding to the pastoral needs of people struggling with decisions of conscience regarding war.

This is a very useful document. Take a look!

The Human Concerns Commission Publishes New Compendium of Social Justice Articles

A New Social Justice Resource has been published in our Diocese...

The Human Concerns Commission of the Diocese of San Jose has just released a new resource that is now available for use in parishes and schools.

For the past year and a half, the Valley Catholic has printed a monthly Social Justice Teaching Column. Local community and faith leaders have contributed articles on topics critical to our community such as access to health care, affordable housing, immigration, care of the elderly, mental health, the death penalty, poverty, the war in Iraq, and others.

These articles have been compiled in a 30 page booklet that is available from the Office of Evangelization, Justice, & Peace. This booklet can be used as a resource to social justice committees, Just Faith groups, youth and young adult groups, catechetical programs, RCIA, and others.

We are very grateful to the Valley Catholic for printing these articles and to Michael Hawkins for compiling them!

To order, contact Sylvia at 408-983-0128 or by email at

World AIDS Day - December 1, 2007

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Established by the World Health Organization in 1988, World AIDS Day serves to focus global attention on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Observance of this day provides an opportunity for governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations and individuals to demonstrate the importance of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

With an estimated 38.6 million people worldwide living with HIV at the end of 2005, and more than 25 million people having died of AIDS since 1981, December 1st serves to remind everyone that action makes a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

For information and materials, you can visit the AIDS awareness Web site and download materials, such as fact sheets that provide HIV/AIDS statistics and the new World AIDS Day poster, to assist in your efforts to educate, motivate and mobilize your local community in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Useful information is also available on the CRS website: see

To view the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), please visit
For international events, go to .

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Diocesan Posada - December 15, 2007

Las Posadas is a Mexican tradition that retells the Christmas story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter.

From December 16 through Christmas eve, participants reenact the story by going to three designated locations or homes. They face continual rejection until at the last home they are welcomed. For many of those in our community who may be undocumented, this is symbolic of the rejection and fear in which they live.

On December 15, we will celebrate a diocesan-wide Posada focusing on the need for reform in our immigration system and safety in our communities. All are invited. We will gather at 6:30 pm at the Eastside Community Center, 2150 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose. At the conclusion, we will celebrate with food and music.

Join us!

Contact Liz Lilly at for more information or to volunteer to help.

Josefina's Story - Day Worker Center of Mountain View

Note: This article was printed with the permission of Nueva Fronteras, the newsletter of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View and Josefina Vailon a worker in the Center who has generously shared her success story. The Day Worker Center works to empower low-income, recent immigrants through fair employment, education, and job skills training with the goal of obtaining full self-sufficiency. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) of the Diocese of San Jose has provided grant funding to this help support this program.

Josefina Vailon, 39, Puebla, Mexico
March 20, 2007

I thought that once I stepped onto American soil, I would be a free person. I thought that here was a nation made by immigrants, full of opportunity, full of jobs, that is the dream. People who are born here, even our own kids at times, don’t understand the struggle to make life better for yourself and your family. They don’t understand what extreme poverty is, not to have shoes to wear, not to be able to go to school, not to even have food to eat. They don’t see the desperation people feel who have absolutely nothing.

Before we crossed the border, I spent a month in Tijuana with my children, living out of trashcans. People are hard there; there’s no work. Many day workers are women. We have children to raise, we have families to support, we can’t be in the street, at anyone’s mercy.

There are people who say that we’re thieves, coming here to live on welfare, but it’s not true. We are not criminals. We are here to work. We just want to be recognized for the work we do. I used to work for different companies where the pay was extremely low, and sometimes we had to wait five or six weeks to get paid. Thanks to the Center, we have the opportunity to find work that pays a better salary.

I’ve been in this country for 14 years and I’ve never had the opportunity to take English classes until I came to the Center. All of us want to learn. At the Center, when we’re not working, we’re studying and learning. Now, one of my children is graduating from high school and one is attending university. They are living the opportunity that coming here has given to them. I’m very grateful for that. All we want is an opportunity.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Project Homeless Connect - December 5, 2007

Join the City of San Jose and the County of Santa Clara for the fifth annual Project Homeless Connect (PHC) on Wednesday, December 5th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, 150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose.

PHC is a one-day concentrated effort to assist the City's chronically unhoused residents on the road to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. It will connect them to a range of medical, housing, and legal information and other services. About 500 people are helped at each PHC.

Volunteers are needed to help. A training will be offered on Tuesday, December 4 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. For information and registration, call 408-451-4001.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Homelessness is a Condition - Not a Crime" - Position Statement from St. Vincent de Paul

The Voice of the Poor Committee of the St. Vincent de Paul Council of the United States has recently published a Position Statement on Homelessness.

In this Statement they call on the Society to "look out for and act on issues from the perspective of the homeless. As advocates, voters, tax payers, and constituents of politicians we have a voice and we must insure that the poor are listened too...the needs of those suffering from homelessness must not be ignored."

Their position states:
  • No person should be forced to live in bodily fear or in substandard conditions Every person needs access to minimum living conditions – safety, access to sanitation, food, clothing, shelter, medical assistance.

  • Particular attention must be given to those who are unable to care for themselves – children and youth, the elderly, sick, addicted, mentally ill.
  • There is no substitute for an involved, effective and committed government. We believe local, state and federal governments must make poverty a priority and become involved in addressing solutions, including fully funding programs that tackle homelessness.

  • Every person deserves an education. Practical, hands-on training that teaches a job proficiency and provides those with limited skills the opportunity to earn a decent income can go a long way to building self-esteem and dignity.
  • Workers must earn enough to be able to provide shelter and a decent life for their families. Communities cannot be satisfied with a minimum wage that is lower than the cost of living.

  • Safe, reliable, affordable child care is critical. Welfare to work programs must include funding for quality child care.

  • It is shameful that any veteran need resort to homelessness.

The entire Position Statement which also includes many resources, statistics and policy recommendations is located at

National Conference on the Death Penalty in San Jose - January 17-20, 2008

A national conference sponsored by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Death Penalty Focus will be held in San Jose, CA at the San Jose Holiday Inn from January 17-20, 2008.

The 2008 NCADP Conference will bring together committed volunteers, grassroots organizers, staff professionals from state and national organizations, and legal advocates, all of whom are working to abolish the death penalty in the United States.

The Conference is themed: "Reaching for the Dream." Conference sessions will provide opportunities for networking and interaction, as well as opportunities to enhance skills in strategizing, organizing, fundraising and communicating.

Specialized legal training will be held on Friday and Saturday for capital defense attorneys. Earn up to 14 MCLE credits.

See the website for more details: or call (202) 331-4090.