May 1, 2012
Issuing a call to action in defense of religious liberty—“our most cherished of American freedoms”—the U.S. bishops urge everyone to act now to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. “This is not a Catholic issue. This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon, or Muslim issue,” the Bishops stated. “It is an American issue,” The document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” can be found on the USCCB website: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/our-first-most-cherished-liberty.cfm
Ned Dolejsi, the first lay Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference, spoke recently at Fresno’s Saint Paul Newman Center about crucial topics in this election year.
Presently, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is continuing to develop a series of bulletin inserts, some catechetical and others as an encouragement to take some form of action on a wide range of issues, from concerns over religious liberty, to the Church’s teaching on sexuality and openness to new human life. Family Life Ministry has already begun to provide these links under Legislative Advocacy on the Diocese of Fresno website, as a resource for parish use, as well as to be another avenue available to the Catholic community to be informed.
The focus of the first insert, which runs through the month of May, is “Religious Liberty, the Most Cherished of American Freedoms
]. Also available over the next few months will be suggested homily notes, Prayers of the Faithful, and additional prayer resources, which are already being posted on the USCCB website: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/resources-on-conscience-protection.cfm#prayers
The nationwide call to prayer is already a great success. Parishes are encouraged to continue to participate in the prayer campaign. Prayer cards can be ordered on-line in English and Spanish at www.usccbpublishing.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=7-328
. These and other resources can be found at: www.usccb.org/conscience
Several of the issues Ned addressed were protecting human life & religious liberty; promoting family life and education as justice; pursuing restorative justice and practicing global solidarity.
Family Life continues collaboration with the School of Ministry and a Diocesan Task Force in creating a Diocesan Marriage Prep Program designed for parish teams to create their own Marriage Prep Program, and to be enrichment for those parish teams with existing programs who choose to participate. This Program will be provided in both Spanish and English. The classes will use teleconferencing in as many sites as are available for many of the sessions. The School of Ministry and Family Life Ministry will provide certification.
Sr. Joanne Bauer, C.S.C.
Family Life Coordinator