WSCC 2019 Catholic Advocacy Bulletin, No. 23

by Stephanie Sanchez
WSCC 2019 Catholic Advocacy Bulletin, No. 23

November 1, 2019

Take Action
Action Alert on School Meals – Deadline Today, Nov. 1
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would reopen the comment period on a proposed rule that would change eligibility for SNAP (food stamp program) after it was discovered that the number of children potentially losing access to free school meals would be 1 million. The proposed rule initially estimated that 500,000 children would likely lose free school meals. The proposed rule changes would make SNAP less efficient and create barriers to access for millions of individuals. If you would like to speak out on this proposed rule change, you can submit an official comment here. The deadline for submitting comments is today, Nov. 1.
Cornerstone Catholic Conference
Hundreds Inspired by Cornerstone Experience
Over 700 people enjoyed the third Cornerstone Catholic Conference, especially the chance to meet Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle as well as the other four Washington state Bishops. This year’s Cornerstone drew a large number of young adults, accounting for 16% of attendees – a much higher percentage than the two previous Cornerstone conferences. Other highlights included the powerful presentation by Bishop Frank Caggiano that filled many with hope; Sr. Miriam James Heidland’s prayerful and yet probing questions, all aimed at drawing us closer to Jesus; and Sr. Norma Pimentel’s closing keynote that provided insights about the human side of the influx of immigrants and refugees along the U.S./Mexico border.

The WSCC is preparing to upload videos of many of the Cornerstone presentations and we will let you know when they are available on the WACatholics.org website.

Life and Liberty
WSCC Bishops Authorize Signature Gathering on I-1004
On October 11, 2019, the Bishops of Washington state wrote to parishes throughout the state of their strong support and encouragement for gathering signatures for Initiative 1004 (I-1004). Any parish signature effort must also receive the expressed approval of the pastor. The deadline for filing collected signatures in support of I-1004 is January 3, 2020.

I-1004 is an initiative to the state legislature to institute a “parental notification” law, which requires physicians to notify parents or guardians before performing abortions on minors. The initiative contains reasonable exceptions to protect minors in cases where notification may threaten the safety of a minor or where valid medical exemptions are present. Failure to comply with the law would carry criminal penalties and provide grounds for civil claims.

To request official I-1004 forms, contact the Parents & Students Protecting Minors campaign at info@parentsandstudentsprotectingminors.org or 360-840-0744.

Celebrate Religious Freedom – Solemnity of Christ the King
On November 24, 2019, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. Celebrated on the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, this Solemnity reminds the faithful that Christ reigns as king of the entire world forever. In its core document, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty, the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty “urge[d] that the Solemnity of Christ the King – a feast born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty – be a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.” The USCCB has developed a special bulletin insert, lectionary notes, social media graphics, reflections, and a video – all of which can be accessed here.
Dont forget to Vote – General Election, November 5
October is Respect Life Month with Respect Life Sunday on October 6th!  In a recent statement by Archbishop Naumann, Catholics are encouraged to “hold fast to Christ, our Hope” in the midst of attacks on human life. The USCCB also produced a 30-second Respect Life Month video that we encourage you to watch!
Peace and Justice
World Day of the Poor
Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in 2017 “so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need.” This year, the World Day of the Poor is on Sunday, November 17. In this year’s message, Pope Francis wrote, “Jesus who inaugurated his kingdom by placing the poor at the center, wanted to tell us precisely this: he inaugurated the kingdom, but he has entrusted to us, his disciples, the task of carrying it forward with responsibility for giving hope to the poor. … This responsibility is not something that the Christian community may underestimate. The credibility of our proclamation and the witness of Christians depends on it.” To read the Pope’s entire message, see the Vatican website.
Pope Francis to Visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima
Pope Francis will visit both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on Sunday, November 24. He will give a speech on nuclear weapons at the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki, pay tribute to the Martyr Saints at the Martyrs’ Monument, and celebrate Mass in the Baseball Stadium. In Hiroshima, the Pope will participate in a meeting for peace at the Peace Memorial. The visits to the two cities destroyed by atomic bombs during World War II are part of his apostolic journey to Thailand and Japan.
CSMG 2020 – Bearing Witness: Life and Justice for All
Register NOW for the 2020 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, January 25-28, 2020, in Washington, DC. Special early bird registration ends November 15! Connect with over 500 current and emerging leaders working to witness to life and justice in their communities. The 2020 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will be an important collaborative opportunity to bring together colleagues who work on issues affecting life and human dignity. Participants will also have an opportunity to raise their voice in advocacy with members of Congress.
New Poverty USA/Pobreza USA Video
There is a new video available from PovertyUSA and its mirror site PobrezaUSA that reveals the experiences of so many brothers and sisters who struggle to make ends meet. In the United States, tens of millions of people live in a web of poverty. This video offers important insights into the complexity of poverty, how it connects to everything that we do, and the many factors that keep so many people and families entrapped. Help your community learn more and discuss the solutions to overcome poverty.
WSCC Staff Note
Tim Hunt, who has served at the WSCC’s Director for Communications and Outreach, has taken a position with the Archdiocese of Seattle. Starting just after Cornerstone, Tim is the new Executive Director of Planning and Mission Effectiveness. Tim’s primary responsibility will be to coordinate the development and the implementation of a new pastoral plan to ensure the Archdiocese is achieving its mission in serving parishes, schools and ministries. While we will miss him, we want to thank him for his service at the WSCC and wish him all the best in his important new ministry.
Upcoming Events
General Election – November 5

Vatican’s Third World Day of the Poor – November 17

Religious Liberty/Christ the King – November 24

Pope Visits Nagasaki & Hiroshima – November 24

Washington March for Life, Olympia – January 21, 2020

Catholic Social Ministry Gathering – January 25-28, 2020

Catholic Advocacy Day, Olympia – February 20, 2020

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