How do you feel about health care? The right to life from conception to natural death? Voting rights? Gun violence? Discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, mental health? Climate and immigration policies? Addictions and addictive substances? These are just a few of the top justice issues in today’s culture. Can we have peace? What about rights? Together these form the foundation of Catholic Social Ministry. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) has much to tell us about how to do God’s Will. First, we must love God whole heartedly. Love of God should propel us to act lovingly toward our neighbors. This is the essence of Catholic Social Teaching.
- The Farm Bill needs reauthorization every 5 years; 2023 is year is one of them. Add your voice to advocate for a Healthy, Equitable, and Sustainable Food System. Bread for the Worlds Farm Bill Policy Platform 2023 (1)-1
- Proponents of doctor-assisted suicide are making a full court press to legalize this deadly practice in New York State, and lawmakers need to hear from their constituents if we hope to avoid yet another assault on human life here. Assisted suicide is dangerous for patients, caregivers, and vulnerable populations such as the elderly and people with disabilities. Suicide is not medical care. Please tell your State Senate and Assembly representatives that you oppose this dangerous and deadly practice. Contact your state legislators now! For more information and to find your state legislator please visit https://www.nyscatholic.org/action-center/
- Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire show has this video about Euthanasia.
- Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si’, On Caring for our Common Home” challenges us to take action at home with these ideas. More ideas here: 50 Ways to reduce Greenhouse Gases… View the recording of the half-day, diocesan conference addressing putting the goals of Laudato Si’ into action. Season of Creation Week 4
- Read our NYS Bishops’ statement, “Toward a Pro-Life Future in the Empire State.”
- Pray for and advocate for immigrants, the mentally ill, victims of violence, racism and those in mourning.
- Learn about Racism and what we can do to change hearts and minds.
- Read to inform yourself with these titles: Fratelli Tutti, On Fraternity & Social Friendship by Pope Francis; Open Wide our Hearts, a pastoral letter against racism, & “Salt & Light” & a local “Open Wide Our Hearts” weekly newsletter published by the Diocese, giving us ideas of ways to build the Kingdom; “Civilize It” to help us have civil conversations with others who share differing opinions and Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which helps us to be the best voters we can be.
- Each January our attention is turned to alleviating the suffering of the poor and those experiencing human trafficking. See the News & Events tab for specifics.
- Annually, we observe the day for the Legal Protection of the Unborn. Resources.
- Each February our Diocesan Public Policy Committee identifies priorities asks us to support them with petition drives on the second weekend.
Thoughts and actions for creating a culture of life:
- Acknowledge and celebrate diversity.
- “In modern times, children in their mothers’ wombs and those approaching the end of their lives are certainly among the ‘least of these’ in our world’s estimation. Practices such as abortion and assisted suicide tragically reject the truth that human life is always to be cherished and defended with loving concern. … Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may Our Lord grant us the grace to truly and courageously live his Gospel of life.” USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, “Live the Gospel of Life” NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission.
- Consider an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, as shown in this music video.
- Think about this: The right to life is an unalienable right given to us by God. Does this 30 second video move you?
- Catholics do not impose morality but propose moral principles that treat all human beings with dignity and respect.
- Human embryos and fetuses are biological human beings. There are no morally relevant differences between born and unborn humans.
- The unborn are not potential persons but persons with great potential who are unjustly killed when they are aborted.
Our US Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites us to join Respect Life Prayer and Action, joining thousands of Catholics as we seek to transform our culture (https://www.respectlife.org/respect-life-prayer-action). If you do, you will receive:
- action alerts to contact Congress and government leaders
- ways to strengthen a culture of life in your community and more!
Anti Racism: The legacy of slavery’s racist oppression exists today as economic and social disparity between Black people and white people in the U.S. We can work to remedy our current condition however, and bring the country to a stronger, more inclusive national community through a federal program of reparations for African Americans. A commission to study reparations has been in the planning stages for decades and the time is now to make it happen!
As Joan F. Neal, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice states: “Catholic teaching is clear: Our entire national community must move forward together toward reparatory justice so we can become that beloved community we envision.”
Local examples of racism can be found in the 8/24/22 newsletter, Just Us, found under the News & Events tab.
Open Wide Our Hearts is our USCCB’s Pastoral Letter against Racism. The resources on a Catholic Response to Racism are vast. Black Women and Criminal (In)Justice, (Resources for the discussion) was recorded (Feb. 2021). The National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry suggests several resources. The Catholic Mobilizing Network seeks to end the death penalty (the opposite end of the spectrum of the beginning of life) and implement restorative justice. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recently released a version of the Stations of the Cross which focuses on overcoming racism. You can find them at www.usccb.org/resources/stations-of-the-cross-overcoming-racism.pdf.
It’s likely if you are a consumer, you have bought products that began with someone working long hours in bad conditions for next to nothing pay. That is modern day slavery. Use this link to learn more and take the slavery footprint survey. It doesn’t stop there. The website developers have a plan for how we can make changes. Let’s live out our Catholic Social Teaching principle of Life and Dignity of the Human Person!
As missionary disciples, we are called to respond to God’s love through both Charitable Works and Social Justice. This video helps to explain it.
Resources in times of need: Dial 2-1-1! 24/7, 365. All types of services available by county or region. Below are some web links.
- If you are a resident of Ontario County, connect with the Finger Lakes Life Line. Help is also available to Yates County residents through the Salvation Army.
- In Yates County, The Living Well Mission cares for you.
- In Steuben County, The Institute for Human Services is the clearing house for your help.
- Finger Lakes Addictions Counseling & Recovery Agency (FLACRA) stands ready to serve in many locations throughout the Finger Lakes.
- Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes offers counseling and safe housing to those experiencing domestic abuse.
Ministry for Migrants: Rural & Migrant Ministry works for the creation of a just, rural New York State through: Nurturing leadership, standing with the disenfranchised, especially farmworkers and rural workers, changing unjust systems and structures.
Covid-19 related items: Are you eligible to get the Child Tax Credit? Maybe you need rental assistance? Maybe you are on the verge of eviction. Where do you turn? The US Catholic Bishops have this page as a resource for you or someone in need.
The members of OLOL’s Social Ministry Committee plan events for us to encounter God as we join in acts of service. See the bulletin for ways you can help locally.
Our diocesan public policy committee annually identifies issues for parishes to educate and bring all people to a greater love of neighbor as self. Annually they award grant $ to grass-roots organizations made up of people living in poverty who are working to improve their situations.
Archbishop Gomez, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calls all Catholics to be rooted in our faith as we approach our work against racism, injustice, and divisiveness. View his most recent speech. Other resources and action items are available asking to be added to their email list: [email protected]
Each month the USCCB invites us to enter into prayer and action for In a post-Roe society, we still need to build a culture of life by praying for and helping those in need. We also need to advocate for laws that do not violate our consciences. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, VA; Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the USCCB, sent a letter to US Senator Roger Wicker & Congressman Chris Smith last week urging them to support the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 7, S. 62). Read the press release and the Bishop’s letter before writing our representatives to urge support for this bill.
Since life is our greatest gift from God, we are to uphold life from the moment of conception to natural death. Here are some websites that help us with this: https://www.respectlife.org/, https://www.usccb.org/prolife. Each month the USCCB invites us to enter into prayer and action for a specific theme. By signing up for their alerts, you will get them by email. Advocating for life is a year round, lifetime activity. Whether you have questions or need support, our Office of Life Issues for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is available to help. Check out this short video from our Catholic Bishops about respecting others and the roles we have as co-creators with God.
Stand Out for Life is our diocesan peaceful, prayerful event happening every 4th Saturday that affirms the dignity of all human persons, with a special emphasis on children in the womb, pregnant moms in need – being exploited for profit, abortion workers, etc. This event happens every 4th Saturday, from 9 -10:30AM outside of the Regional Headquarters of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western NY (114 University Ave., Downtown Rochester). If you participate, bring your Rosary, wear a mask, practice social distancing and consider bringing a friend!
The FEMINISTS CHOOSING LIFE OF NEW YORK (www.fclny.org) PROMOTE PROTECTING LIFE FROM WOMB TO THE TOMB! They encourage us to follow them on social media. Their many endeavors include:
- bringing a lawsuit against NY’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA), (It that lacks concern for women because its guidelines for abortions, disguised as women’s rights, are lax, doubling abortion complications.)
- advocating for hotlines to be posted in health care/abortion settings for those suffering coerced abortions from domestic violence and sex trafficking
- using of all forms of media to share the message of life
- collaborating with other life affirming organizations such as: Angels of Mercy, The Margaret Home, Feminists For Nonviolent Choices, Feminists For Life of America and the Thomas More Society.
Each October all parishioners at all worship sites are encouraged to learn and pray about the gift that life is. The committee sets out Baby Bottles for special offerings given to area Pregnancy Care Centers. The Yates chapter of the American Federation for Suicide Prevention invites everyone to walk to end suicide. January is declared Poverty Awareness Month. On 1/22 we observe a day of prayer and penance, called the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children,” in commemoration of the many infant lives lost due to Roe vs. Wade and its reversal. This coincides with the March for Life in our nation’s capital. Our diocese makes busses available for us to participate. It is a pilgrimage that you will never forget. Education on issues to be advocated for in February’s Public Policy weekend also begin in January.
PUBLIC POLICY & VOTING
Annually, the Diocesan Public Policy Committee (DPPC) identifies priorities for action. Every second weekend of February we are asked to contact our elected representatives about an issue identified by the DPPC. Go to our News & Events page to learn what issue and action to take this year. The NYS Catholic Action Network (CAN) assists us in helping to bring to our attention issues on which our voices will speak for the voiceless.
How we vote is an expression of how we embrace the elements of Catholic Social Teaching. The public dialogues offered and recorded by The Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University include voting, racism, and many other issues.
Before the pandemic OLOL Social Ministry Committee also encouraged us to serve in these ways:
Local Pantry: Consider donating the second of your BOGO items! Foods, toiletries, paper supplies — even pet food (for the non-human friends who may be in need) — can be left in the collection boxes at all worship sites. Items are delivered monthly to the local food distributions. Help delivering to the food distributions and assisting at them is always welcome.
Helping Hands Funds: Financial assistance is available to those in need by contacting one of the parish offices. These funds go directly to vendors to assist with rent, utility bills, medical bills and other emergency needs.
Angel/Giving Tree: During Advent parishioners are made aware of the needs of the elderly who may no longer have family to give them gifts. Parishioners purchase and wrap gifts based on needs found on gift tags. Help collecting the parcels and distributing them is always welcome.
Equal Exchange: Fair Trade is about small farmers in the Developing World receiving a fair price for their labors. But it is also about much more. Through Equal Exchange’s Interfaith Coffee Program, our congregation becomes part of a life-centered economic model which puts people and the environment before profits – a model rooted in the principles of justice, equity, cooperation and sustainability. With your help, we can build a better future for ourselves and our global neighbors. Equal Exchange products are available at worship sites throughout the cluster.
Operation Rice Bowl: During Lent we partner with Catholic Relief Services to pray and collect funds that help brothers and sisters in developing countries.
Pet Food Collection: Held during winter in order to help raise and collect food for pets in our parishes to help out struggling families.
Grandma’s Kitchen: Provide food after school for students staying for activities at Penn Yan Academy
Coffee Hour: Coffee and conversation with residents of Clinton Crest.
Immigrant and Migrant Ministry: “And when did we see You a stranger and welcome you?”(Matthew 25:38) Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:45) These words from scripture remind us of our call to be open and welcoming to immigrants because we were all immigrants at one time too. Throughout the Our Lady of the Lakes Community we have immigrants, many wanting to become citizens, living in our midst. They are people of great faith and deep devotion. Many seek assistance to learn English and study for citizenship through Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates. Another important way to help is to offer to get involved with the Alianza Agricola division of the Worker Justice Center of NY. Its other active programs include: human trafficking, domestic violence, legal education, worker advocacy, workplace safety and community engagement.
Diocesan Social Ministry Conference is held annually, each spring.
The Catholic Family Center serves the needy of the greater Rochester area (of which we are a part). It is coordinating help to resettle Afghan refugees.