Take Action While Your Senators are Home for the Memorial Day Recess and Urge Them to Support a Fair Farm Bill!
Tell your Senators that our nation needs to feed the hungry, preserve God’s creation, support small family farmers, and help rural America thrive.
Take Action Now!
During the Memorial Day recess take the opportunity to visit, call, or write your Senators and urge them to support a Farm Bill that will help feed hungry people here at home and abroad, support growth in U.S. rural communities and promote stewardship of God’s creation. The Senate will vote soon on its version of 2012 Farm Bill and their decisions will impact the lives of hungry people at home and abroad and the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, have identified some positive provisions in the bill that we support as well as some provisions that need improving. We ask you to set up a district meeting with your Senators and urge them to support policies in the Farm Bill that:
- Oppose cuts or harmful changes in domestic hunger and nutrition programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) that will harm hungry and vulnerable people;
- Maintain funding for the Food for Peace Food Aid program to combat chronic hunger and provide nutritious foods to poor and malnourished families overseas;
- Preserve funding for overseas anti-hunger programs that provide resiliency in the face of emergencies and are funded through the Food for Peace development “safe box”;
- Fully fund important conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other programs that promote stewardship of God’s creation;
- Preserve funding for rural development programs such as Value-Added Producer Grants, the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) and other programs that helps rural communities thrive and;
- Redirect subsidies to small and medium-sized farms, especially minority owned farms and ranches that truly need assistance. Savings from reductions should be used to fund domestic nutrition and international assistance programs.
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At the height of the counterculture of the late 1960s and the flower-power desire for peace, Pope Paul VI said “If you want peace, work for justice.” It remains a popular bumper sticker even today.
And the Church does a tremendous job working for justice: feeding the hungry, providing clothing, offering shelter and healing, ministering to prisoners, caring for AIDS patients, promoting peace, offering counsel, providing education, condemning consumerism, preserving the environment, and so forth. This work often draws praise from those who are otherwise critical, those who might ask: “Why can’t the Church stick to issues of social justice? Why does it have to cling to its outdated ideas about sex? Why does it maintain its rigid moralism in that area when it’s so progressive in others? Why can’t the Church be more like Jesus, with his constant gestures of openness and hospitality, even to prostitutes and social outcasts? Why does the Church still have a hang-up with birth control?”
The answers flow from Pope John Paul II’s development of Paul VI’s idea. Paul said, “If you want peace, work for justice.” John Paul said, “If you want justice, work for chastity.” This saying is not likely to enjoy the wide appeal of its predecessor for a couple of reasons. First, chastity is not as fashionable as peace. But secondly, even to those who value chastity, the connection between it and justice is not as clear as that between justice and peace. The connection becomes clearer as we look at the meaning of the term “justice” and see that the world’s understanding of it is shrunken. While there is no single, agreed-upon secular definition of justice, there are two major strains of thought. First, there are those who think of justice in terms of an ideal legal system or as a set of governmental policies. According to this view, justice is a matter of having the right kind of government and the proper laws. Second, there are those who view justice, first and foremost, as a set of economic arrangements: Justice means either that each person has an equal amount of wealth or that each person has access to the material goods he needs.
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The Holy Father’s words to the people of Mexico on his recent trip ring true for us, as well. In practicing charity and justice deeply rooted in the Gospel message of Christ and the mission of the Church, we come with hearts open to serve others. The resources and effort we selflessly give are necessary, but oftentimes the greatest and most important gift we offer to the poor, the marginalized and the suffering is the hope of Christ.
In the Holy Father’s words:
As a pilgrim of hope, I speak to them in the words of Saint Paul: “But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Th. 4:13). Confidence in God offers the certainty of meeting him, of receiving his grace; the believer’s hope is based on this. And, aware of this, we strive to transform the present structures and events which are less than satisfactory and seem immovable or insurmountable, while also helping those who do not see meaning or a future in life. Yes, hope changes the practical existence of each man and woman in a real way (cf. Spe Salvi, 2). Hope points to “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1), that is already making visible some of its reflections. Moreover, when it takes root in a people, when it is shared, it shines as light that dispels the darkness which blinds and takes hold of us. This country and the entire continent are called to live their hope in God as a profound conviction, transforming it into an attitude of the heart and a practical commitment to walk together in the building of a better world. As I said in Rome, “continue progressing untiringly in the building of a society founded upon the development of the good, the triumph of love and the spread of justice” (Homily, 12 December 2011).
Together with faith and hope, the believer in Christ – indeed the whole Church – lives and practises charity as an essential element of mission. In its primary meaning, charity “is first of all the simple response to immediate needs and specific situations” (Deus Caritas Est, 31), as we help those who suffer from hunger, lack shelter, or are in need in some way in their life. Nobody is excluded on account of their origin or belief from this mission of the Church, which does not compete with other private or public initiatives. In fact, the Church willingly works with those who pursue the same ends. Nor does she have any aim other than doing good in an unselfish and respectful way to those in need, who often lack signs of authentic love.
By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service
HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CNS) — Catholics have a duty as American citizens to bring faith-inspired convictions to politics, and they can never allow politics to trump principles articulated by the bishops in their role as official teachers, according to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York.
Informed political action is a particular charism of the laity, he said in the keynote address March 3 in Hicksville at the annual Public Policy Convention of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Cardinal Dolan said Catholic involvement in the public square is based on Catholic social teaching, which articulates bedrock principles and the actions that logically follow from them. “We root for the underdog in Catholic social justice,” he said.
The innate dignity of the human person is the central tenet of Catholic social teaching, Cardinal Dolan said. Each person is a reflection of God and a “spark of the divine,” he said, and human life is unquestionably sacred and deserves protection and respect.
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First Week of Lent
In today’s first reading, we hear about God’s covenant with Noah, with his descendants and with all living creatures. During Lent, we are called to deepen and strengthen our baptismal and covenantal relationship with God, which includes our responsibility to care for God’s creation. This week through Operation Rice Bowl, we learn about subsistence farmers in Madagascar. We pray for all who struggle to feed their families on depleted lands, and we fast in solidarity with those who hunger. We give so that CRS can help farmers improve their growing methods and act as good stewards of God’s creation.
For more information on Operation Rice Bowl and the stories from Madagascar, please visit http://orb.crs.org/country-page/madagascar/.
Every day in Lent, 3 Minute Retreat will be posting reflections along with their beautiful guided meditations.
Check back throughout Lent for a new retreat every day!
Join us for the Second Annual Kino Border Initiative Fundraising Dinner!
“Protecting Life and Dignity on the Border”
Saturday March 10,2012
St. Paul’s Parish
330 W. Coral Gables
Phoenix, AZ 85023
Presenting Reverend Sean Carroll, SJ
Executive Director, Kino Border Initiative
To make your reservation or for more information, please contact
Lucy Howell at 602-695-1604 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click below to view the flier:
Kino Event Flier
For more information on KBI: http://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/en/