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Thursday May 24, 2018
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WSCC Cornerstone Notes remind us of the mission that was launched in 2014 with the first Cornerstone Catholic Conference: "to inspire and educate Catholics and others to continue working together to protect human life:  the unborn, individuals who live in poverty or on the margins of society, and people at the end of life."
December 1, 2016           
 
 IN THIS ISSUE (CLICK "READ MORE" BELOW)
  • • Who Is My Neighbor?: The Face of Poverty in Washington State
  • • Dec. 12: Day of Prayer and Solidarity with Families of Immigrants
  • • Events Marking Roe v. Wade Anniversary
  • • 9 Days for Life
  • • Conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy
  • • On the World Day of Peace, Reflect on Nonviolence with Pope Francis
     
 
 
After spending the past year listening to people from across our state who live in poverty, the Bishops of Washington State released a pastoral letter on poverty entitled "Who Is My Neighbor?: The Face of Poverty in Washington State."   As the Bishops say in the letter, the suffering associated with poverty has become epidemic in every city, town and community in our state. The Bishops ask you to read and reflect on the letter.
 
In order to mobilize Catholics in Washington to pray and act in solidarity with those who lack the necessities of life, the Bishops also prepared a video and a study guide for use by parishes that are available on the WSCC website.  
 
The Bishops encourage parishioners to engage in reflection on the pastoral letter during Lent 2017, so that the Catholic community in Washington State may discern how to live out our call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless and care for those suffering from physical and mental illness. The video and study guide will help lead parish discussions to answer the question: "Who is my neighbor?" and will assist in identifying "the Faces of Poverty" in each community.
 

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The USCCB has designated December 12, 2016, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as a Day of Prayer with a focus on the plight of refugees and migrants.  "As Christmas approaches and especially on this feast of Our Lady, we are reminded of how our savior Jesus Christ was not born in the comfort of his own home, but rather in an unfamiliar manger," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). "To all those families separated and far from home in uncertain times, we join with you in a prayer for comfort and joy this Advent season," Cardinal DiNardo added.
 
"So many families are wondering how changes to immigration policy might impact them," said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice-president of the USCCB. "We want them to know the Church is with them, offers prayers on their behalf, and is actively monitoring developments at the diocesan, state, and national levels to be an effective advocate on their behalf."

Prayer services and special Masses will be held in many dioceses across the country as the Catholic Church continues to accompany migrants and refugees seeking an opportunity to provide for their families. If you are unable to attend or there is not one near you, Catholics are invited to offer prayers wherever they may be.  For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' office of Migrant and Refugee Services (MRS) has also developed a Scriptural Rosary entitled "Unity in Diversity" that includes prayers for migrants and refugees. 
 
In the coming days, the USCCB will be developing additional pastoral resources, reflecting the active collaboration of various USCCB Committees whose mandates touch on the concerns of migrants and refugees.  These efforts will continue to follow the basic principles contained in Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, the 2003 pastoral letter issued jointly by the bishops of the United States and Mexico. A pamphlet introducing and summarizing this document is available in both English and Spanish.

 

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There will be events in both Western and Eastern Washington to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout the country. For more about Roe v. Wade and the companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, please refer to the EndRoe.org website.
 
Western Washington - Monday, January 23: The Archdiocese of Seattle sponsors the annual Mass for Life which will begin at 9:30 am at Marcus Pavilion, Saint Martin's University, Lacey. Due to limited parking, all are encouraged to use buses or carpool. Driving directions to campus and parking instructions are available online. For parking and other questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To download a copy of the Mass for Life flyer, click here. The annual Washington March for Life will begin at noon on the north steps of the State Capitol in Olympia. People are encouraged to visit their legislators after the March. For more information on the March for Life, click here.
Eastern Washington - Saturday, January 28: Bishop Thomas Daly, Bishop of Spokane, will celebrate a Mass for life at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, at 9:30 am. Following the Mass, there will be a gathering at Spokane's Riverfront Park at 11:00 am, for the second annual Walk for Life Northwest. For more information about the Walk, refer to the Walk for Life Northwest website.
 

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Join thousands of Catholics across the country in prayer during the bishops' pro-life novena, 9 Days for Life, from Saturday, January 16 - Sunday, January 24. Participate through email, text message, Facebook, or a free iOS or Android app! Click here for resources to help promote this effort and invite others to join in.
 
 

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To mark the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter titled Misericordia et Misera. The following are a few excerpts to reflect on during Advent:
 
"Mercy is always a gratuitous act of our heavenly Father, an unconditional and unmerited act of love. ... Now, at the conclusion of this Jubilee, it is time to look to the future and to understand how best to continue, with joy, fidelity and enthusiasm, experiencing the richness of divine mercy.
 
 "The culture of extreme individualism, especially in the West, has led to a loss of a sense of solidarity with and responsibility for others. Today many people have no experience of God himself, and this represents the greatest poverty and the major obstacle to recognizing the inviolable dignity of human life.
 
"This is the time of mercy. Each day of our journey is marked by God's presence. He guides our steps with the power of the grace that the Spirit pours into our hearts to make them capable of loving. It is the time of mercy for each and all, since no one can think that he or she is cut off from God's closeness and the power of his tender love. It is the time of mercy because those who are weak and vulnerable, distant and alone, ought to feel the presence of brothers and sisters who can help them in their need. It is the time of mercy because the poor should feel that they are regarded with respect and concern by others who have overcome indifference and discovered what is essential in life. It is the time of mercy because no sinner can ever tire of asking forgiveness and all can feel the welcoming embrace of the Father."
 
In his apostolic letter, the Pope also expanded the faculty to forgive the sin of abortion to all priests: "...I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. ... I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."
 
To read the entire apostolic letter, visit the Vatican website.
 
 
Notice:  The next issue of Cornerstone Notes will be in January.
 
 
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The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Bishops of Washington State.

 

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In his Message for the 50th World Day of Peace (January 1, 2017), titled "Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace," Pope Francis will urge families, faith communities, government leaders, and the international community to practice nonviolence and work to build a just peace. Gospel nonviolence is not passive; it entails active strategies such as peacebuilding, conflict transformation, restorative justice, and unarmed civilian protection. Seeking a just peace means preventing conflict by addressing its causes, building relationships, and facilitating healing and restoration. The USCCB has prepared a two-page handout in English and Spanish that provides background information for the message, and prayer and action ideas. To download the Holy Father's statement (which will likely be posted in late December) visit the Vatican website.