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Catholic School Ministry gathering

Mon, Feb 22nd, 2010
Posted in Faith & Worship

(left to right) Eleanore Jones, Senator Al Franken and Jane Reinik at Senator Frankens DC office on February 9, 2010. Eleanore and Jane were in attendance at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering from Feb 7-10, 2010.

The Catholic Social Ministry gathering, "Charity in Truth: Seeking the Common Good," was on February 7-10, at the Hyatt Regency Washington Capitol Hill 2010 in Washington, DC. Present at this conference were Jane Reineke, who is Legislative Commission Chair, and Eleanore Jones, who is Respect Life Commitee Chair for the Winona Diocesan Council of Women (WDCCW), also Commission Chairs for the Austin Area Council of Catholic Women (ACCW), and are also individual members of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW). They are members of Saint Ignatius Parish of Spring Valley. There were more than 433 Catholics in attendance from all over the U.S. They had the great privilege of having Mass every day and also had inspiring homilies given to them.

The purpose in attending this conference was to visit with legislators and let them know how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stands on these issues:

International Assistance: the big picture and Haiti:

Action requested:

A. Support U.S. government provision of immediate relief for Haiti (including allowing early tax deductions for donations to Haiti relief efforts) and the granting of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for 18 months to Haitians in the U.S.;

B. Urge sustained and substantial investment in longer-term recovery and development, including:

1. sustaining U.S. international assistance to Haiti and encouraging the donor community to also do so;

2. broadening trade preferences (e.g. HOPE II (Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through the Partnership Encouragement Act; polo shirts instead of just t-shirts, etc);

3. ensuring total debt relief by urging multilateral institutions International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other nations to forgive Haiti's debt so they can invest in recovery and development; and

4. extending Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the U.S. for additional periods as necessary.

International Assistance: The big picture and Afghanistan:

Action requested:

Seek opportunities to encourage political leaders to promote a "responsible transition" in Afghanistan and withdrawal of U.S. forces at the earliest opportunity consistent with that goal. A "responsible transition" should aim to reduce further loss of life; address the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and the refugee crisis in the region; help rebuild the war-torn country; promote human rights; support good governance and accountability in political systems and long-term sustainable economic development in both countries; and engage international support for stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan. More international assistance and development should be delivered through civilian channels and go toward local community projects.


Human Dignity in the Economic Recovery: creating Jobs and Providing Health Care for all:

•Contact your senators and representative and urge them to work in a bipartisan manner toward achieving affordable, accessible health care for all that protects life and does not threaten life. (For contact information, visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov).

•Tell your senators and representative that health care reform must include the following criteria:

1. ensures access to quality, affordable, life-giving health care for all;

2. retains longstanding requirements that federal funds not be used for elective abortions or plans that include them, and effectively protects conscience rights; and

3. protects the access to health care that imigrants currently have and removes current barriers to access.

Human Dignity of Immigrants: effective, compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform:

In January 2003, the U.S. Catholic bishops outlined principles for comprehensive immigration reform in their pastoral statement, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. They state that any just immigration reform proposal should include the following elements:

1. a broad-based legalization of the undocumented, which includes a path to citizenship;

2. a worker program which creates legal avenues for migrants to enter the United States legally and safely and which includes labor protection for both U.S. and foreign workers;

3. reform of the family-based immigration system to reduce waiting times for family reunification;

4. the restoration of due process for immigrants taken away in 1996 so immigrants can have their day in court; and

5. policies which address the root causes of migration, such as unemployment and underemployment in sending countries.

What you can do?

•Contact your senators and representatives and ask them to support a comprehensive immigration reform bill consistent with the principles outlined by the U.S. bishops.

•Look for more information on the Justice for Immigrants website, www.justiceforimmigrants.org.

We met with Senator Al Franken and two of his aids, leaving literature with them. Senator Amy Klobuchar and aid Rose were not able to meet with us, but literature was left for them. When contracting Representative Tim Walz's office, we were informed that his office was closed.

Next year's conference will be on February 13-16, 2011, at a new location, Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street NW Washington, DC.

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