Catholic Leaders Send Messages of Support to “Fast for Families” on the National Mall

December 2, 2013, 2:17 pm | Posted by

Advocates begin 21st day of fasting today, urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform

Prominent Catholic leaders – including the president of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic university presidents and former U.S. Ambassadors to the Vatican – released a statement today offering encouragement to immigration reform advocates now starting their 21st day of a water-only fast to dramatize the moral urgency of passing comprehensive immigration reform.

“We are hopeful that your sacrifices and determined stand in the face of Congressional delay will awaken the consciences and break open the hearts of elected officials to the human suffering caused by an immigration system that tears families apart,” the leaders write. “Your courageous example reminds us all that the issue of immigration reform is not about partisan politics or narrow ideological agendas. This is a profound moral issue, as old as the Hebrew prophets and the Gospel, that calls into question the kind of nation we aspire to pass on to our children.”

The core group of fasters include Eliseo Medina, former international Secretary Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Dae Joong Yoon of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and Cristian Avila, 23, of Mi Familia Vota in Phoenix, the son of Mexican immigrants. As of today, more than 5,000 people across the country have fasted in solidarity for one or more days and hundreds have joined nightly community meetings at the fasters’ tent to offer support. This week, students on 11 Catholic university campuses are fasting in solidarity. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, will visit the tent tomorrow to offer spiritual support and prayers as the fasters continue a national week of solidarity, prayer and action.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez joined a group of civic and labor leaders last week to announce a 24-hour fast between December 1-3 in solidarity with the Fast for Families. “Everyone knows our immigration system is broken,” Archbishop Gomez said in announcing the fast. “But our leaders don’t seem to feel enough urgency to fix it. So we offer our fasting today as a prayer — in the hopes of moving the hearts of our national leaders in Washington.” Bishop Blase Cupich of the Diocese of Sopkane, WA. last week sent fasters a letter saying their efforts are a “cause of great inspiration to me personally.” Bishop Cupich added: “I have been working with elected officials directly and through other community leaders to spur action on achieving comprehensive immigration reform. You motivate me to enhance those efforts.”

The message of solidarity released today will be delivered to the fasters’ tent on the National Mall, which in recent days has attracted a stream of elected officials, civil rights and religious leaders  – including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Jessie Jackson and Bishop John Wester, the Roman Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City. The statement of support is signed by among others Rev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA; Thomas P. Melady, retired U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under President George H.W. Bush; Miguel Diaz, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under President Barack Obama; the presidents of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities; the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and Sabrina Burton Schultz, Director of Life Ministry in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The full statement with signatories can be found below and here.

Dear Fasters,

We are deeply moved and personally inspired by your prophetic witness that demonstrates the moral urgency of comprehensive immigration reform. We are hopeful that your sacrifices and determined stand in the face of Congressional delay will awaken the consciences and break open the hearts of elected officials to the human suffering caused by an immigration system that tears families apart. Your courageous example reminds us all that the issue of immigration reform is not about partisan politics or narrow ideological agendas. This is a profound moral issue, as old as the Hebrew prophets and the Gospel, that calls into question the kind of nation we aspire to pass on to our children.

As Pope Francis said when he visited the island of Lampedusa to honor migrants, we are all complicit in a “globalization of indifference” when we fail to confront the personal and political realities that undermine human dignity. Thank you for your moral leadership. Please know that you are in our prayers.

In solidarity,

Rev. Larry Snyder
President
Catholic Charities USA

Thomas P. Melady
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired)
President Emeritus, Sacred Heart University

Miguel Diaz
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
University Professor of Faith and Culture
University of Dayton

Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Michael Galligan-Stierle
President
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Rev. Stephen Privett, S.J.
President
University of San Francisco

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
President
DePaul University

Arturo Chávez
Mexican American Catholic College
San Antonio

Sister Ann Scholz, SSND, PhD
Associate Director for Social Mission
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Sabrina Burton Schultz
Director of Life Ministry
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Kim Bobo
President
Interfaith Worker Justice

Larry Couch
National Advocacy Center
Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Rev. Frederick L. Thelen
President, Action of Greater Lansing
Pastor, Cristo Rey Church

Rev. Joseph Nangle, O.F.M

Susan M. Weishar
Migration Specialist
Jesuit Social Research Institute
Loyola University, New Orleans

Christopher G. Kerr
Executive Director
Ignatian Solidarity Network

 

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Nuns keep their bus momentum rolling, speak out for Medicaid expansion

November 24, 2013, 10:59 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life helped to organize the letter and led press outreach.

The “Nuns on the Bus” campaign was such a success that many Ohio Catholic sisters want to keep the bus rolling — in spirit, if not in body.

More than 100 nuns across Ohio, including 25 from the Toledo area, have signed a statement expressing their support for state expansion of Medicaid coverage.

“The Nuns on the Bus came through a year ago and because there’s momentum, the sisters decided to get together again,” said Sister Geraldine Nowak of the Sylvania Franciscans.

Last year’s bus trip across Ohio by the nuns included stops at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, urban outreach centers and other places where the state’s neediest are getting help, including the Assumption Outreach Center near downtown Toledo.

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100 Catholic Sisters to Koch Brother Billionaires: Stop Opposing Life-saving Healthcare for Ohioans

November 19, 2013, 3:32 pm | Posted by

Nuns Applaud Lawmakers for Rejecting Immoral Priorities of Corporate Outsiders

Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” released a statement today denouncing the Koch Brothers deep-pocketed campaign to oppose Medicaid expansion that will help the state’s poor and most vulnerable populations. The Koch Brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity, has launched attack ads against Rep. Barbara Sears and other lawmakers across the state who endorse Medicaid expansion that will improve the lives of pregnant women, the disabled and elderly in nursing homes. Similar obstruction campaigns are being waged by the Koch Brothers in Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

More than 100 hundred Catholic nuns in Ohio are telling Americans for Prosperity to stand down.

“It is shameful that billionaires who can access the best medical care in the world oppose basic health care for the poor,” the Catholic sisters write. “We urge these corporate leaders to search their souls, consider the pain of so many families and stop this reckless campaign.” 

“In communities across our state, Catholic sisters see firsthand the urgent need for Medicaid expansion,” said Sr. Geraldine Nowak, OSF of Toledo. “Lawmakers like Rep. Sears should be applauded, not demonized, for standing up for commonsense reform that will provide vital healthcare coverage to an additional 275,000 uninsured Ohioans, including 26,000 veterans.”

Today’s statement follows last year’s Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” tour with Nuns traveling across the state highlighting the values at the center of their faith — solidarity, justice and the common good. Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” toured the state and stood with fellow people of faith to highlight dangerous federal budget cuts and to call on Democrats and Republicans to support a faithful budget that affirms the life of all of God’s children – not just the wealthiest few. Today, Catholic sisters are continuing their pursuit of justice by shining a light on outside corporate interests who are bullying their way around Ohio politics.

“As a mental health professional, I see far too many lives shortened and diminished due to a lack of access to basic healthcare, said Dr. Sr. Fran Repka, RSM of Cincinnati. “We applaud Ohio’s Controlling Board for their approval of Medicaid Expansion and urge the Koch Brothers to leave Ohio policymaking up to the people of Ohio.”

The Catholic sisters applaud Governor John Kasich’s support of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and are committed to working with lawmakers to ensure the full implementation of this life-saving reform. 

The full statement with signatories is below.

 As Catholic sisters with Nuns on the Bus, we stand with the Catholic Conference of Ohio and leaders of Catholic hospitals in support of Medicaid expansion. Providing quality medical care to the most vulnerable is central to our pro-life commitment and consistent with our faith tradition’s concern for the common good. We know from our ministry to those living on the margins that a lack of health care is a constant burden that unnecessarily weighs on families. Medicaid expansion will provide immediate relief. 

Sadly, wealthy activists are organizing in Ohio and across the country to deny health care coverage to pregnant women, the disabled and elderly in nursing homes by undermining Medicaid expansion. Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has made this a top priority. This is unconscionable. It is shameful that billionaires who can access the best medical care in the world oppose basic health care for the poor. We urge these corporate leaders to search their souls, consider the pain of so many families and stop this reckless campaign. 

The Koch brothers are targeting lawmakers, including Republican state Rep. Barbara Sears, who support Medicaid expansion. Fear and bullying will not win out over courage and hope. We are grateful for her moral leadership and other elected officials who are putting family values and human dignity before narrow ideological agendas. We pray that other lawmakers do the same.

In faith,

Sr. Mary Barbara Agnew, Sister of the Most Precious Blood

Sr. Mary Averbeck, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Sandy Bates, Ursulines of Brown County

Sr. Joyce Bates, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Patmarie Bernard, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Marlene Berthelot, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Dorothy Blatnica, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mary Bodde, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mary Bookser, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Nancy Bramlage, College of Mount St. Joseph

Sr. Carol Brenner, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Carolyn Brink, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Rose Marie Burns, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Ruth Casper, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Marie Andree Chorzempa, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Jeanne Conrad, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Juliana D’Amato, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Theresa Darga, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Julia Deiters, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Shirley Dix, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Jacquelyn Doepker, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Gemma Doll, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Ellen Dunn, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Dorothy Englert, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Nancy Ferguson, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Virginia Froehle, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Mary Gallagher, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Patricia Gardner, Sisters of St Francis

Sr. Mary Faith Geelan, Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sr. Alice Gerdeman, Sisters of Divine Providence

Sr. Dorothy Gerhardstein, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Rosemarie Gerrety, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Joan Groff, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Sharon Havelak, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Kathleen Hebbeler, Dominican Sister of Hope

Sr. Mary Alice Henkel, Ursuline Sisters

Sr. Carren Herring, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Maureen Heverin, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Louise Huitink, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Mary Humbert, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Ruth Hunt, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Rebecca Hurr, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Florence Izzo, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Leanne Jablonski, Marianist Sisters (Daughters of Mary Immaculate)

Sr. Pamela Jones, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Joyce Kahle, Sisters of the Precious Blood

Sr. Tracy Kemme, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Phyllis Kemper, Ursuline Sisters

Sr. Dorothy J. Krupp, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Kuhlman, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Teresas Laengle, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Rebecca LaPoint, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Olivia Latiano, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Elizabeth Lavelle, Congregation of St. Joseph

Sr. Louise Lears, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Laura Leming, Marianist Sisters

Sr. Nancy Linenkugel, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Sandra LoPorto, Sisters of St. Joseph

Sr. Patricia McClain, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Dolores McDonald, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Monica McGloin, Dominican Sisters of Hope

Sr. Martha Meyer, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Jean Miller, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mary Alan Miller, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Rose Morand, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Virginia Morgan, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Geraldine Nowak, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Maria Pacelli, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Annette Paveglio, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mariellen Phelps, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Marguerite Polcyn, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Christine Pratt, Ursulines of Brown County

Sr. Letetia Rawles, Sister of the Most Precious Blood

Sr. Fran Repka, Sister of Mercy

Sr. Therese Ruffing, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Patricia Ann Sabourin, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Mary Schiller, Sisters of the Precious Blood

Sr. Janet Schlichting, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Greta Schmidlin, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Shannon Schrein, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Anita Schugart, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Julie Sheatzley, Sisters of St. Joseph

Sr. Sally Sherman, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Sandra Sherman, Ursuline Convent

Sr. Delia Sizler, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Wanda Smith, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Janet Snyder, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Carol Ann Spencer, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Jeanette Stang, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Donna Steffen, Sisters of charity

Sr. Joan Supel, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Judy Tensing, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Patricia Theriault, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Therese Thorman, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Sarah Sherman, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Jean Vogelsang, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Nancy Vollman, Ursulines of Brown County

Sr. Martha Walsh, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Cabrini Warpeha, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Wendeln, Sister of the Most Precious Blood

Sr. Carol Ann Wenning, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Barbara Wheeler, Dominican Sisters of Hope

Sr. Donna Wilhelm, Sisters of St. Joseph, Third Order of St Francis

 

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Activists to fast on Capitol Hill until Congress passes immigration reform

November 12, 2013, 11:16 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life helped to lead communications and media outreach efforts for the fast. 

As an icy wind whipped the sides of a packed tent, five activists committed themselves Tuesday (Nov. 12) to fast from food and drink and to camp in front of the U.S. Capitol until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.“I know that there are going to be difficult days ahead of me,” said Eliseo Medina from the Service Employees International Union. “I know that going without food will not be easy and I know that I will suffer physical hunger.

“But there is a deeper hunger within me, a hunger for an end to a system that creates such misery among those who come here to escape poverty and violence in search of the American dream.”Religious and labor leaders joined immigration activists at the launch of the “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship.” Many will participate as “solidarity fasters,” fasting for a shorter time.

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47 Catholic leaders urge bishops to support CCHD’s anti-poverty work

November 11, 2013, 11:13 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life helped to organize the letter to the Bishops. 

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development deserves the full support of the U.S. bishops because of its success in fighting poverty, said a group of Catholics on the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly Nov. 11-14 in Baltimore. In a letter addressed to all of the bishops, 47 Catholic leaders, including three retired bishops and former USCCB staff members, urged the prelates to “redouble your commitment to social ministries that lift people out of poverty,” especially CCHD.

It was prompted by continuing criticisms of CCHD, the bishops’ domestic anti-poverty arm, from a small number of organizations that claim local anti-poverty agencies funded by the program have worked in coalitions that include members that do not share church teaching on issues, such as its opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. The letter was the result of a joint effort among the letter writers and Faith in Public Life, which bills itself as “a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.” In June, Faith in Public Life issued a report charging CCHD’s opponents with undertaking a “witch hunt.” It accused groups such as the American Life League and the Reform CCHD Now Coalition of “creating a culture of fear around community organizing,” based on interviews with community development experts, nonprofit directors and national philanthropic leaders.

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