US Bishops’ Justice News March 17

Put your faith into action.

This edition of “Notes for Neighbors” can help you put faith in action by loving your neighbor in your own back yard and on the other side of the globe. We hope you will enjoy these resources and share them with others.

Featured Quote from Pope Francis

“Lent is the time for saying no. No to the spiritual asphyxia born of the pollution caused by indifference, by thinking that other people’s lives are not my concern, and by every attempt to trivialize life, especially the lives of those whose flesh is burdened by so much superficiality. Lent means saying no to the toxic pollution of empty and meaningless words, of harsh and hasty criticism, of simplistic analyses that fail to grasp the complexity of problems, especially the problems of those who suffer the most. Lent is the time to say no to the asphyxia of a prayer that soothes our conscience, of an almsgiving that leaves us self-satisfied, of a fasting that makes us feel good. Lent is the time to say no to the asphyxia born of relationships that exclude, that try to find God while avoiding the wounds of Christ present in the wounds of his brothers and sisters: in a word, all those forms of spirituality that reduce the faith to a ghetto culture, a culture of exclusion.”

– Pope Francis, Homily, Mar. 1, 2017

In the News

The following stories highlight Church leaders’ words and work around recent current events.

Act to Support Refugees

Today marks six years since the beginning of the brutal civil war still raging in Syria. More than 4.1 million Syrians have fled to the surrounding countries and are awaiting the day they can return to their country in peace. Join CCGP to help these refugees and take action today. Please send a message to your legislators asking them to support robust funding and assistance for refugees!

Nominate a Catholic Young Adult Fighting Causes of Poverty (Deadline Mar. 31)

Do you know a practicing Catholic between the ages 18-40 who is actively engaged in work on the local or national level to break the cycle of poverty in the United States? Help us to honor young social justice leaders by submitting a nomination for the 2017 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award.  This annual award is given by the USCCB/Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Consider Catholic young adults leading efforts to address problems in their local communities, working with social justice organizations, or leading social concerns efforts on college campuses. The award recipient will be given a cash award at a reception held in conjunction with the June meeting of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in Indianapolis, IN.  The nomination form is here. Nomination deadline: Mar. 31, 2017. For questions, contact Genevieve Mougey at gmougey@usccb.org.

New Success Stories on WeAreSaltAndLight.org 

We add stories to WeAreSaltAndLight.org on a monthly basis to show hopeful examples of how Catholics are praying, reaching out, learning and acting together. Here are a few that were recently profiled.

From ToGoForth.org, blog of the USCCB Dept. of Justice, Peace and Human Development
Here are some recent blog entries that may be of interest to you.

FROM OUR FRIENDS
Participate in Catholic Relief Services Collection, CRS Rice Bowl

On Sunday, Mar. 26, 2017, be sure to participate in the Catholic Relief Services collection. The theme, “Help Jesus in Disguise,” emphasizes CRS’ important work to respond to the face of Christ in the vulnerable refugee, the immigrant family, and persons in poverty. This collection helps fund the work of CRS and the USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, the Department of Justice Peace and Human Development, and the  Department of Migration and Refugee Services, as well as Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and the Holy Father’s Relief Fund.

This Lent, you can also encounter the stories of our brothers and sisters around the world through CRS Rice Bowl stories of hope—and see how the Lenten alms of the Catholic community in the United States change lives.

Plan to celebrate Earth Day (April 22)

Focusing on the theme “Know the Creator through Creation,” Catholic Climate Covenant’s Earth Day program can assist inter-generational parish programs, schools, and others in exploring how a deeper connection with creation can draw us closer to our Creator. The program includes prayers, Scripture readings, a short video, discussion questions, and suggested activities on Catholic social teaching and climate change.

During Lent, promote peace in Israel and Palestine

Make prayer and advocacy for peace part of your Lenten practice, particularly during Holy Week, when we remember Jesus’ own suffering and death in the Holy Land. Visit the Churches for Middle East Peace website to find out how you can urge U.S. policies that actively promote a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the conflict, and how you can educate others or donate. The U.S. bishops have long advocated for peace in Israel and Palestine, including this recent letter from Bishop Oscar Cantú, chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.