Michigan Catholic Conference
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Advocacy News

U.S. Catholic Conference Welcomes Criminal Justice Legislation

Federal legislation that seeks to reduce certain mandatory minimum sentences, reduce recidivism, and limit solitary confinement for juvenile offenders recently found favor with Archbishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development , and Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA. While noting that Pope Francis visited a Correctional Facility during his recent stay in Philadelphia, Archbishop Wenski said “We must try to ensure that sentences are just, while creating humane space in which individuals can restore their lives with the kind of support that reduces the chances that they will return to prison in the future. These reforms are a step in the right direction.” The bi-partisan “Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015” was introduced recently in the United States Senate. Read more…

“Every Life is Worth Living” is the Theme for 2015 Respect Life Month

Each year, the month of October is designated as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the Catholic Church. The goal of the month is to celebrate the gift of human life and to promote a culture that recognizes the dignity of all people. This year’s theme for the month, which kicks off with Respect Life Sunday on October 4th, is “Every Life is Worth Living.” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the USCCB, issued a statement highlighting this theme, calling all lives “a good and perfect gift,” whether they last “for a brief moment or for a hundred years.” More information on Respect Life Month and the 2015–2016 Respect Life program materials…

Papal Visit to the U.S. Highlights Importance of Dialogue and Encounter

Last week, Pope Francis visited the United States, drawing the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. During his seven days in the country, he ate with the homeless, visited with Catholic schools students and immigrants, and blessed and greeted prisoners in a correctional facility. Pope Francis also met with President Obama, U.S. Congress, and the United Nations to bring a message of peace, cooperation, and hope to the political dialogue. Throughout his visit, he highlighted the dignity of the human person, including the poor and the immigrant, emphasized a concern for the environment and protection against a throwaway culture, promoted the importance of religious liberty, and spoke about the beauty and goodness of marriage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers video on demand of all of the papal events, as well as text of his speeches and homilies from Washington DC, New York City, and Philadelphia. Read more…

Pope Francis Speaks to Joint Session of Congress

This morning, Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., making history as the first pope to ever do so. During his speech, Pope Francis highlighted the valuable contributions of four Americans of faith — Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton — to public life and to the common good. He encouraged the crowd to “renew the spirit of fraternity and solidarity” and to pass laws based on a concern for all people, speaking to issues along the broad spectrum of Catholic Social Teaching. Other speeches from Pope Francis’s visit the United States, such as his address at the White House and midday prayers with the bishops, are also available at USCCB’s website…

Follow Along With Pope Francis’s Visit to the United States

Pope Francis will be in the United States from September 22 – September 27, traveling to 3 cities: Washington DC, New York City, and Philadelphia. During his time in the United States, he will speak to a joint session of Congress, meet with President Obama at the White House, speak to the United Nations, canonize a new saint, and participate in the World Meeting of Families, a worldwide Catholic event held every three years to celebrate and promote families. Live coverage of the papal visit will be available on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website and on their new phone app, the USA Catholic Church app, and a more detailed schedule of his events in graphic form is available from the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Read more…

“Faith Enriches Public Life” MCC Papal Visit Column in Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Free Press today is running an op/ed column from Paul Long, MCC President and CEO, regarding Pope Francis’ forthcoming visit to the United States from September 22-September 27. The theme of the column is “Faith Enriches Public Life,” which encourages those of faith to follow the model set by the Holy Father to be active in society and to change the world for the better. According to the article: “Pope Francis has written that an authentic faith ‘involves a deep desire to change the world.’ He has also urged the faithful to ‘leave this earth somehow better than we found it.’ May this historic visit further inspire individuals to enrich public life through faith and service.’” Read more…

Patriot Day Remembers Lives Lost on September 11th, 2001

In remembrance of the tragic terrorist attack on the United States of America fourteen years ago, individuals across the country will take the time today to observe a moment of silence for the victims. In October of 2001, US. Congress recognized September 11 as “Patriot Day,” and in 2009, a presidential proclamation also dedicated the day as a “National Day of Service” to honor those who lost their lives. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has compiled a number of resources and reflections from clergy who ministered to victims and their families, including video interviews and prayer intercessions, as society continues to strive towards healing and peace. Read more…

Labor Day Statement: The Importance of Work for Families

The Catholic Church teaches that work is a vital way of participating in the world that God has created. Pope Francis calls it “a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment” (Laudato Si). Unfortunately many families are struggling to make ends meet, facing challenges such as unemployment and wage stagnation that put immense strain on their time together. Additionally, exploitation, human trafficking, and the broken immigration system also reveal challenges to the respect of workers and the stability of families. This year’s Labor Day Statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourages all to reflect on ways to restore work and family relationships. Read more…

Focus: New FOCUS Publication Addresses Violence in Society

Firearm use, domestic violence, elder abuse and sexual assault are among the forms of violence addressed by Michigan Catholic Conference in its latest FOCUS publication. The document includes recommendations from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on how to minimize violence and resources for further reading, along with quotes of interest. Legislation under consideration in Lansing supported by MCC that addresses the differing forms of violence are also included. FOCUS is distributed to Catholic institutions across the state and is available at no cost to parishes, schools or other Catholic entities. Read more about this FOCUS publication…

September 1 Marked as World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

On August 10 the Vatican released a letter stating that Pope Francis has added September 1 to the Catholic calendar as a “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.” According to the letter, written by Pope Francis, “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters.” Read more…

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Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
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