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Friday February 23, 2018
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November 18, 2016  
 Inside this issue (scroll down to read articles)
 
  • • "Who is My Neighbor?" - Bishops Release New Pastoral Letter
  • • Poverty Awareness Month (January) Materials Available Now
  • • General Election Results
  • • Coming Together as Faithful Citizens for the Common Good
  • • All Americans Urged to Work Together to Welcome Refugees and Immigrants
  • • Pope's Intention for November: Refugees
  • • Faithful Action on Climate Change: New Training Program
  • • Special Note for 2017 Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
     
 

The Bishops of Washington State have issued a pastoral letter, Who Is My Neighbor - The Face of Poverty in Washington State, that examines and reflects on poverty in Washington State. The document is the fruit of a series of listening sessions which the Bishops held throughout the state over the past year. The Bishops listened to people living in poverty, and experienced the words of Pope Francis, they "have much to teach us."
 
"In our listening sessions, we heard 'the cry of poor' (Psalm 34). ... Reflecting on what we heard, we recognize the urgent need for action to alleviate the suffering that has become epidemic in every city, town and community in our state. ... Our listening sessions convinced us that the plight of those living in poverty in our state is reaching crisis proportions. At the same time, we grew in awareness that providing just a little help can make a big difference."
 
In addition to the English version, the 3-page pastoral letter will be available in Spanish and Vietnamese. In the coming weeks, the Bishops are releasing a study guide and a video "to help our Catholic people and parishes confront the poverty in our state and explore ways we can act as a community of faith to alleviate suffering and advocate for change." The Bishops' statement can be found on the WSCC website.

 

     
  Take up Pope Francis' challenge to go the peripheries by participating in Poverty Awareness Month in January.  An online and print calendar (also en Español) includes daily ways to learn about poverty, get inspired by how communities are responding, and take action with others.  In addition to the calendar, there are longer daily reflections (also en Español). You can also sign up to receive the daily reflections by email.  Share these materials with Catholics in your parish and follow the action on Facebook and Twitter.  

     
 
 
Voters in Washington State approved four initiatives including ones that will raise the minimum wage and enable courts to temporarily prevent access to firearms. The voters rejected measures that would have reformed campaign finance and taxed carbon emissions. For all the details on the results of the General Election in Washington State, see the Washington Secretary of State's website.
 

     
 
 
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued a statement on November 9 regarding the election of Donald Trump as President-Elect - some excerpts:
 
"The American people have made their decision on the next President of the United States, members of Congress as well as state and local officials. I congratulate Mr. Trump and everyone elected yesterday.  Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens. Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather, let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree.
 
"We, as citizens and our elected representatives, would do well to remember the words of Pope Francis when he addressed the United States Congress last year, "all political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity." ...
 
"The Bishops' Conference looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end. We will advocate for policies that offer opportunity to all people, of all faiths, in all walks of life. We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security. ..."
 
To read the entire statement, visit the USCCB website.
 

     
 
 
On November 11, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued a statement congratulating President-elect Donald Trump on his election and emphasized the need to continue to protect the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants. Here are a few excerpts:
 
"We would first like to congratulate President-elect Donald J. Trump and give our support for all efforts to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us. I personally pledge my prayers for Mr. Trump, all elected officials, and those who will work in the new administration. I offer a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life. ...
 
"Serving and welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. The Church will continue this life-saving tradition. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need to welcome refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more acute than ever and 80 of our dioceses across the country are eager to continue this wonderful act of accompaniment born of our Christian faith. We stand ready to work with a new administration to continue to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans. A duty to welcome and protect newcomers, particularly refugees, is an integral part of our mission to help our neighbors in need. ..."
 
At their meeting this week in Baltimore, the U.S. Bishops voted to fully endorse Bishop Elizondo's statement. To read the complete text, visit the USCCB website.
 

     
 
 
Pope Francis' prayer intention for November is "That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity." To see this month's video, click here.
 

     
 

There is a brand new pastoral training program titled, "Laudato Si' in the Parish: Preaching and Pastoral Strategies." It is a joint project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Climate Covenant (CCC). Designed to help equip priests and deacons respond to Pope Francis's encyclical on ecology in their role as pastors, the training includes:
  • Presentations on the Church's teaching on ecology.
  • How to use Laudato Si' to inspire homilies.
  • An overview of resources that CCC and USCCB offer to priests and parishes to help them implement the message of Laudato Si'.
  • Time for conversation and reflection on local environmental concerns.
The program, still in its "pilot" stage, launched in October with trainings in Des Moines, Iowa and Las Cruces, NM. Two other trainings are scheduled for December in the dioceses of San Diego and Atlanta. If you are interested in bringing the Pastoral Training Program to your diocese, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can learn more about the Pastoral Training Program on the CCC blog.
 


     
   


The Catholic Bishops have designated January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as national day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children.  Since January 22, 2017 falls on a Sunday, the designated observance will be on Monday, January 23. For more information and resources for this observance, please visit the USCCB webpage.
 
 
 
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The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Bishops of Washington State.