Sunday, December 18, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 25, 2011, The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. --Psalm 33:5

Catholic World Day of Peace, January 1st.  
Catholic teaching promotes peace as a positive, action-oriented concept. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Peace is not just the absence of war. It involves mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations. It involves collaboration and binding agreements.”  There is a close relationship in Catholic teaching between peace and justice. Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent upon right order among human beings.  -- Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, http://www.osjspm.org/page.aspx?pid=491

Read more quotes on peace at: http://www.osjspm.org/admin/document.doc?id=22

What is “charity” and what is “justice” for a practicing Catholic?  
Msgr. Marvin Mottet, Diocese of Davenport, explains it this way: It takes two feet to walk and to keep our balance: one “justice,” the other “charity.” One foot is focused on institutional change, the other on direct service.

Without both feet, we lose balance. When I served on the National Committee of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, I saw an application from Bread for the World: they weren’t passing out food baskets or running soup kitchens, but working for institutional change—addressing public policies that could relieve hunger and poverty. I said, “This is what we are all about.”

If we use only the first foot (direct service), we could make matters worse by fostering dependency. If we use only the second foot (institutional change), we might become too far removed from the realities of the situation.  A true Christian lifestyle requires of us that we live in solidarity with those in need and come to their assistance in emergencies. We cannot isolate ourselves.

Direct service can provide us with the data needed for institutional changes. It is sometimes classified as “charity.” Institutional change is “working for justice.” There can be no love without justice. If we really love, we will work to change structures, systems, laws, and policies that are harmful to people.

Read the full article at: http://tinyurl.com/charity-justice


Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422, or keep reading this column every Sunday.  Every week our goal is to provide you opportunities for both feet: direct service and institutional change.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jesus was a migrant: the flight to Egypt
Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field. --Isaiah 32:16

US Bishops to Hold Conference on Immigration in January.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign will host a national conference, “A 50-State Issue: A Focus on State and Local Immigration Initiatives,” on January 11-13, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Participants will look at state and local immigration issues across the country, and discuss methods for opposing enforcement initiatives and supporting comprehensive immigration reform.  Visit http://www.cvent.com/d/wcqmsm, or contact Tony Cube (acube@usccb.org).

Christmas Tree Recycling. 
By recycling your tree, you are caring for God’s Creation and living out one of the themes of Church Social Teaching.  Instructions for recycling your Christmas tree are in your mailbox in Livermore Sanitation’s newsletter.  Please be sure to strip off all tinsel and ornaments.  Miss the free tree pick up?  Then simply chop up your live tree and place in your green recycling bin.  Sorry, artificial trees cannot be recycled.  Learn more at: http://www.livermoresanitation.com, 925-449-7300.

Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community, and Participation. 
The human person is social as well as sacred.  Our Catholic tradition teaches that human beings grow and achieve fulfillment in community.  The family is the central social institution.  Family life needs to be supported by other institutions and governments. Excessive individualism, competition, and greed mitigate against community and the common good.  We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998.

Catholic Social Teaching Resources:
Learn more from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Would you like to pursue a social justice project?
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne Angvick, 443-1422.

He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. --Psalm 25:9

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts. --Amos 5:15

Call 2-1-1 for Help in Alameda County. 
2-1-1 is a free, non-emergency, confidential, 3-digit phone number and service that provides easy access to housing information and critical health and human services 24 hours a day.  2-1-1 is available in 140 languages!  For more information visit: http://www.211alamedacounty.org

¿NECESITA AYUDA?
http://www.211alamedacounty.org/2-1-1-languages.html
2-1-1 provee información GRATIS - por teléfono - in Español, sobre viviendas, salud y servicios sociales disponibles en el condado de Alameda.

Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation. 
Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998.  Learn more from the US Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Holiday Waste Reduction Tips from California: A Season for Giving, Not for Discarding. 
The State of California asks you to help make this a green Christmas with many practical tips.  For example: (1) Give a gift card and eliminate fancy wrapping paper. (2) Send an e-card instead of a paper card.  (3) Check your tire pressure before going to visit grandma.  (4) Repurpose old holiday cards into gift tags, bookmarks, decorations; tie a ribbon through a hole in the top of the card for a fun tree decoration.  (5) Buy local and reduce your carbon footprint.  (6) Buy rechargeable batteries. And more and more!  Visit: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicEd/Holidays

“God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.”  -- The Church in the Modern World, #69

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  We recently attended a respect life, restorative justice and social justice workshop at the Cathedral of Christ the Light and have many resources for you.  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. --Malachi 3:5

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 4, 2011

Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you. --Deuteronomy 16:20

The Parish and Good Works.  
A parish is . . . the place where all the faithful can be gathered together for the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the liturgical life: it gathers them together in this celebration; it teaches Christ's saving doctrine; it practices the charity of the Lord in good works and brotherly love.  -- #2179 Catechism of the Catholic Church

New Website to Help Uninsured in Alameda County
http://achealthcare.org
This website is an information resource for uninsured Alameda County residents seeking free or low-cost health care.  Please help spread the word.  The website also has links to other services, such as child care, domestic violence, emergency housing and senior services.


Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation.  
All of creation is a gift from God and should be respected as such.  We show our respect by the way we care for the earth as stewards of all that has been entrusted to us.  We need to examine how our excessive consumerism and poor environmental practices are exploiting the earth and take measures to correct our destructive patterns.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998. 

Learn more from the US Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Holiday Waste Reduction Tips from California: Buy Gifts Made from Recycled Materials.  
The State of California showcases innovative recycled-content gift items made from California waste.  These items are very attractive: jewelry, chess sets, furniture, picture frames, tote bags, angels, bird houses and more!  Learn more at: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicEd/Holidays

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. --Psalm 33:5

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, November 27, 2011

For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face. --Psalm 11:7

Catholic Social Teaching: The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers. 
Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation.  If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected – the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998

Learn More About Catholic Social Teaching. 
Visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) or read the encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

First Friday Fast for Food Security
is a campaign by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  The goal is to deepen our compassion for the hungry by cutting back to $3 per person for food on the First Friday of the month.  It is a real challenge to eat on $3, and you may go hungry: just like people on food stamps.  Why not donate the money you do not spend on food to St. Vincent de Paul?  Learn the details on Facebook ("First Fridays for Food Security") or http://usccb.org/sdwp/Fasting-Resource-Intro-May-6.pdf

Benedict XVI's Message on World Food Day. 
“The Catholic Church is close to institutions that commit themselves to guarantee food. Through her structures and development agencies, she will continue to support them actively in this effort so that every nation and community will have the necessary food security, which no commitment or negotiation, no matter how accredited it is, will be able to ensure without real solidarity and genuine fraternity.”  Read the Pope’s entire message at: http://www.zenit.org/article-33674?l=english

Would you like to pursue a social justice project?
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

"Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!" --Deuteronomy 27:19

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, November 20, 2011

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.  --Psalm 10:17

Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities. 
People have a fundamental right to life and to those things necessary for human decency, such as food, shelter, health care, education and employment.  People have a right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.  Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to respect the rights of others and to work for the common good.  When people lack the basic necessities to live a life of dignity, their fundamental rights are being denied.  In a world where some speak mostly of ‘rights’ and others mostly of ‘responsibilities,’ the Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998

Catholic Social Teaching Resources:
Learn more from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Livermore Homeless Refuge Needs Volunteers to Clean Up. 
We need volunteers of any age to pitch in and clean up the host churches every two weeks as we move from one church to the next. The LHR has no permanent home; rather, churches around Livermore volunteer their facilities for two week stints.  Cleaning would be on a Saturday morning for about 90 minutes.  Cleaning involves wiping down, mopping and vacuuming the kitchen, bathroom, and room where our guests stay.  Are you a teen looking for service hours?  Are you a family who wants to pitch in together? Anyone willing to donate their time is welcome.  You can volunteer once, a few times, or come regularly.  We are very grateful for any time you can give.  Please call us: Donna & Bob McKenzie, 925-443-7389 or 925-895-4167


Care for Creation at Christmastime. 
Reduce waste going into landfills: consider reusing last year’s ribbon and wrapping paper; use gift bags that are easily reusable for next year; buy products made locally; buy products made from recycled materials; give gift cards and movie tickets.


Would you like to pursue a social justice project?
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry can help!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. --Isaiah 10:1-2

Friday, November 11, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.' --Zechariah 7:9

Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable. 
In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops

Church Social Teaching Resources: 
Learn more from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Livermore Homeless Refuge Needs Volunteers to Clean Up.  
We need volunteers of any age to pitch in and clean up the host churches every two weeks as we move from one church to the next. The LHR has no permanent home; rather, churches around Livermore volunteer their facilities for two week stints.  Cleaning would be on a Saturday morning for about 90 minutes (depending on how many people come).  Cleaning involves wiping down, mopping and vacuuming the kitchen, bathroom, and room where our guests stay.  Are you a teen looking for service hours?  Are you a family who wants to pitch in together? Anyone willing to donate their time is welcome.  You can volunteer once, a few times, or come regularly.  We are very grateful for any time you can give.  Please call us: Donna & Bob McKenzie, 925-443-7389 or 925-895-4167

Fair Trade Gift Sale a Success!  
Thanks to all of you who stopped by our table in the courtyard in mid-October.  You purchased products direct from artisans in Peru, Ecuador, USA, India, Cambodia, Chile, Bangladesh, Israel, etc.  You have helped these artisans and their families make a living.  Missed the sale?  You can order online year round at: http://www.crsfairtrade.org/

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. --Psalm 82:3

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, November 6, 2011

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. --Psalm 82:3

Livermore Homeless Refuge Needs Volunteers to Staff Night Shift.  
The Refuge opened its doors on November 1st to provide shelter to the approximately one hundred homeless men and women of Livermore. When the weather forecast is for rain or temperatures below 40 degrees, the Refuge is open all night to literally prevent deaths by exposure.  At this time, the Refuge most needs your time to staff shifts from evening, through the night, to early morning.  For more information, please contact Bob and Donna, 925-443-7389 or 925-895-4167

Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity.  
We are all one human family, and we are responsible for the well-being of each other.  This responsibility reaches across national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences.  Indifference to the pain and suffering of others has no place in our interdependent society.  We are all responsible for all.  Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means that ‘loving our neighbor’ has global dimensions in an interdependent world.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998. Learn more from the US Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Oakland Diocese Website for Social Justice.  
The Diocese of Oakland’s Office for Life and Justice supports social justice, respect life and restorative justice in parishes, deaneries, schools, ethnic centers and other institutions, recognizing that our efforts in education, service, advocacy, and solidarity are an essential aspect of the Christian life.  Their redesigned website showcases current issues and ministries:
Gabriel Project (a ministry to support pregnant mothers and their unborn children),  
After The Choice (a post-abortion healing ministry), 
JustFaith Ministries (faith formation programs for social ministry),
Change for Life (baby bottle fundraising program),
Action Alerts (to enlist voters on legislation with moral implications),
and much more. Visit the website at: http://www.oakdiocese.org/ministries/social-justice

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. --Psalm 140:12

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, October 30, 2011

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? -- Luke 18:7

Livermore Homeless Refuge Needs Volunteers to Staff Night Shift.  


The Refuge opens its doors on November 1st and will provide shelter to the approximately one hundred homeless men and women of Livermore. When the weather forecast is for rain or temperatures below 40 degrees, the Refuge is open all night to literally prevent deaths by exposure.  At this time, the Refuge most needs your time to staff shifts from evening, through the night, to early morning.  For more information, please contact Bob or Donna, 925-443-7389 or 925-895-4167

Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person.  
Made in the image and likeness of God, all persons are sacred.  Belief in the sanctity of human life and inherent dignity of each person is the foundation of all of our social teachings.  Today this value is threatened by abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty, and the many ways in which people are treated with disregard for their human dignity.  -- Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, U.S. Bishops, 1998.  Learn more from the Vatican at http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching

First Friday Fast for Food Security is a campaign by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  
Try cutting back to $3 per person for food on the First Friday of the month: you may go hungry, just like people on food stamps.  Why not donate the money you do not spend on food to St. Vincent de Paul or your local soup kitchen?  Learn the details on Facebook ("First Fridays for Food Security") or http://usccb.org/sdwp/Fasting-Resource-Intro-May-6.pdf

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Pro-Life and Social Ministry (November 5th).
The Diocese of Oakland’s Office for Life and Justice will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers.  Tom Ulrich, Director for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service, will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  Sat, Nov 5th, 9am – 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).  For carpooling from St. Michael, call Joanne, 443.1422.

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you. --Deuteronomy 16:20

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, October 23, 2011

And in the same town was a widow who repeatedly came and entreated him, saying, "Give me justice and stop my oppressor." --Luke 18:3

About Catholic Social Justice.  
 We as Catholics are called to bring the healing hand of Christ to those in need, the courageous voice of the prophet to those in power, and the gospel message of love, justice and peace to a suffering world.  Learn more from the US Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).  -- Diocesan Social Action Office of Cleveland, Ohio, "Overview of Catholic Social Teaching"

Next English Language Tutor Training is October 29, 9am - 4pm.
We have partnered with the Livermore Public Library’s excellent and popular program to help adults improve their English skills.  If you speak English, you have all the skills you need to tutor a fellow St. Michael parishioner.  By helping an adult become fluent in English, you will equip them to prosper in our society.  The time commitment is about two hours per week.  You do NOT have to be bilingual.  Interested?  Call Joanne Angvick, 443-1422.

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Pro-Life and Social Ministry (November 5th).   
The Diocese of Oakland’s Office for Life and Justice will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers.  Tom Ulrich, Director for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service, will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  Sat, Nov 5th, 9am – 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).  For carpooling from St. Michael, call Joanne, 443.1422.

Franciscan Action Network and Catholic Climate Covenant: FAQ on Global Climate Change.   
"Why is climate change an issue for people of faith? For those of us in economically developed countries, we must examine the ethic of responsible use of the world’s resources. Climate change will demand of us a more responsible lifestyle that uses less of the world’s resources so that we can share the gifts of creation more fully with those at the margins of human development. For the sake of God’s creation, for the poor and for all of us, we must learn to live more sustainably."  -- Read more FAQs under "Care for Creation" tab at: http://www.franciscanaction.org

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422. 

He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. --Psalm 9:8

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, October 16, 2011

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. --Micah 6:8

Fair Trade Gift Sale, Sunday, Oct 16, 8am - 1pm, courtyard.  
Miss the sale?  You can order Fair Trade Gifts any time of the year at www.crsfairtrade.org.  Fairly traded chocolate, coffee and tea are available year round in groceries stores in Livermore.  Just look for the Fair Trade logo.

Next English Language Tutor Training is October 29, 9am - 4pm.  
We have partnered with the Livermore Public Library's excellent and popular program to help adults improve their English skills.  If you speak English, you have all the skills you need to tutor a fellow St. Michael parishioner.  By helping an adult become fluent in English, you will equip them to prosper in our society.  The time commitment is about two hours per week.  You do NOT have to be bilingual.  Interested?  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

One Human Family.  
"Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's and to God the things that are God's." (Mt 22:15-22)  What belongs to God?  Everything belongs to God -- creation itself, the goods of the earth, the allegiance of the human heart, the destiny of our world.  The fundamental obligation to share the vital goods of the earth with our brothers and sisters is founded in this teaching of Jesus.  -- Rev. Donald Senior, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

Today is World Food Day.  
WFD is a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and informed,  year-around action to alleviate hunger.  Learn more at: http://www.worldfooddayusa.org

Workers in the Vineyard: Developing Effective Respect Life and Social Justice Ministry  (November 5th).  The Diocese of Oakland's Office for Life and Justice will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers on Sat, Nov 5th, 9am - 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379, http://www.oakdiocese.org/ministries/social-justice).  For carpooling from St. Michael, call Joanne, 443.1422.

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422. 

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. -- Proverbs 21:3

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, October 9, 2011

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. --Proverbs 29:7

Fair Trade Gift Sale, Sunday, Oct 16, 8am - 1pm, courtyard.  
Why buy fairly traded crafts, chocolate, coffee and tea?  When you purchase products marked "Fair Trade", the artisan or farmer is guaranteed a living wage.  Catholic Relief Services is there in the community, helping people to help themselves up and out of poverty.  Your purchases are not a handout, but an act of partnership between producer and consumer.  You are giving the gift of the dignity of work to the artisan and farmer.

JPII on the Dignity of Work.  
"Awareness that man's work is a participation in God's activity ought to permeate even the most ordinary everyday activities. For, while providing the substance of life for themselves and their families, men and women are performing their activities in a way which appropriately benefits society. They can justly consider that by their labor they are unfolding the Creator's work, consulting the advantages of their brothers and sisters, and contributing by their personal industry to the realization in history of the divine plan."  -- Blessed John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (On Work)

Next English Language Tutor Training is October 29, 9am - 4pm.  
We have partnered with the Livermore Public Library’s excellent and popular program to help adults improve their English skills.  If you speak English, you have all the skills you need to tutor a fellow St. Michael parishioner.  By helping an adult become fluent in English, you will equip them to prosper in our society.  The time commitment is about two hours per week.  You do NOT have to be bilingual.  Interested?  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Social Justice and Faith.  
"The work for social justice is first and foremost a work of faith, a profoundly religious task. It is Jesus who calls us to this mission, not any political or ideological agenda."  -- Diocesan Social Action Office of Cleveland, Ohio, "Overview of Catholic Social Teaching"

Catholic Social Teaching Resources: 
Learn more from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Pro-Life and Social Ministry (November 5th).
The Diocese of Oakland’s Office for Life and Justice will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers.  Tom Ulrich, Director for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service, will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  Sat, Nov 5th, 9am – 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).  For carpooling from St. Michael, call Joanne, 443.1422.

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422. 

This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. --Jeremiah 22:3

Monday, October 3, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, October 2, 2011

He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. --Psalm 72:4

Fair Trade Gift Sale, Sunday, Oct 16, 8am - 1pm, courtyard.  
Why buy fairly traded crafts, chocolate, coffee and tea?  When you purchase products marked "Fair Trade", the artisan or farmer is guaranteed a living wage.

The Feast of St. Francis, October 4, 2011: Take the Pledge.  
The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (http://catholicclimatecovenant.org) challenges us to take their St. Francis Pledge to:
  • PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
  • LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
  • ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
  • ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
  • ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

Next English Language Tutor Training is October 29, 9am - 4pm.  
We have partnered with the Livermore Public Library’s excellent and popular program to help adults improve their English skills.  If you speak English, you have all the skills you need to tutor a fellow St. Michael parishioner.  The time commitment is about two hours per week.  Interested?  Call Joanne Angvick, 443-1422.

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Pro-Life and Social Ministry (November 5th).
The Diocese of Oakland is hosting this event for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers on Sat, Nov 5th, 9am – 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).

What is Catholic Social Teaching?  
Catholic Social Teaching is a collection of teachings that are designed to reflect the Church’s social mission in response to the challenges of the day. The teachings are rooted in biblical values and reflections on Christian tradition.  This tradition calls all members of the Church, rich and poor alike, to work to eliminate the occurrence and effect of poverty, to speak out against injustice, and to shape a more caring society and a more peaceful world.  Learn more from the US Bishops (http://tinyurl.com/BishopsSocialTeaching) and the Vatican (http://tinyurl.com/CatholicSocialTeaching).



Helping Others
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422. 

He does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the foreigner, in giving him food and clothing. --Deuteronomy 10:18

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, September 25, 2011

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. --Micah 6:8

Save the Date: Fair Trade Gift Sale, Sunday, Oct 16, 8am - 1pm, courtyard.  
Back by popular demand, we will be selling fairly traded craft items suitable for Christmas gifts or any occasion.  "Fair Trade" means that the artisans receive a living wage for themselves, and that Catholic Relief Services is on the ground, assisting the artisans, their families and their communities to work themselves up and out of poverty.  These craft items are of high quality and the price is low: this is a win-win situation for all.  The Social Concerns Ministry is selling these gift items at cost: our goals are to raise awareness, to help the artisans and to provide you with affordable gift items.

First Friday Fast for Food Security is a campaign by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The goal is to deepen our compassion for the hungry by cutting back to $3 per person for food on the First Friday of the month.  It is a real challenge to eat on $3, and you may go hungry: just like people on food stamps.  Learn the details on Facebook ("First Fridays for Food Security") or http://usccb.org/sdwp/Fasting-Resource-Intro-May-6.pdf

Feast of St. Francis, Tuesday, Oct 4th: Take the Pledge.  
The US Bishops' initiative, "the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change", encourages everyone to take their "Saint Francis Pledge" to pray, to learn about environmental issues, and to take action to care for God's Creation.  Learn more at: http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/the-st-francis-pledge

Pope Benedict on the Environment: 
“The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”  -- Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate (48)

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Pro-Life and Social Ministry (November 5th).
The Diocese of Oakland’s Office for Life and Justice will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers.  Tom Ulrich, Director for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service, will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  Sat, Nov 5th, 9am – 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne Angvick, 443-1422.

But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream. -- Amos 5:24 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, September 18, 2011

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. --Psalm 82:3

Please Contact Your Congressperson to Defend the Unborn and Healthcare Workers.  
You, the Catholic voter, are the one to make a difference: joined with millions of Catholics across America, you have a voice in Washington, D.C.  As of this writing, the National Committee for a Human Life Ammendment (NCHLA) lists the following Action Alerts.  It will take a few mouse clicks and 5 minutes of your time.  Sign-up on the NCHLA website to receive Action Alerts directly: http://www.nchla.org
  • Support Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179)
  • Support ban on funding elective abortion in the District of Columbia (Public Law 112-10)
  • Support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 361)
  • Support the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3)
  • Support the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358, S. 877) 
Cathedral of Christ the Light

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Pro-Life and Social Ministry (November 5th).
The Diocese of Oakland's Office for Life and Justice will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers.  Tom Ulrich, Director for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service, will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  Sat, Nov 5th, 9am - 3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, Oakland.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).

Pope Calls for Clean Energy.  
"We must adopt a lifestyle that respects the environment and support research and the exploitation of clean energy sources, respectful of the heritage of creation and harmless to humans, these must be our political and economic priorities."  -- Courtesy of Catholic News Agendy, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-benedict-calls-for-clean-energy/


Would you like to pursue a social justice project? 
The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. --Deuteronomy 24:17

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Social Concerns Column for September 11, 2011

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? -- Luke 18:7

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Social Ministry (November 5th).  
If you are a looking to make your parish’s Social Justice or Respect Life Ministry more effective this conference is for you.  The Diocese of Oakland’s Office for Life and Justice in partnership with Catholic Relief Service and JustFaith Ministries will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers at Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center in Oakland .  Tom Ulrich, Direct for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service and author of Strategies for Success: Parish Social Ministry will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  Saturday, November 5th, 2011 (9:00 – 3:00 PM), Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center, for more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).

US Bishops in Solidarity with the Church in Africa.  

"Responding to the call of the Church in Africa, as pastors in the United States we recognize the mutual bonds of solidarity that unite us -- bonds that have been forged through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We stand in solidarity with the Church and the peoples of Africa, to recognize and support their courageous commitment to peace, justice, and reconciliation . As we do this, we are reminded of the words of the Holy Father: 'Africa is not destined for death, but for life!' "  (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Call to Solidarity with Africa, 2001).  For more information, visit the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: http://old.usccb.org/churchinafrica/

Torture is a Moral Issue: Study Guide from US Bishops. 
Waterboarding? Electric Shocks? What does the Church have to say about torture? This four chapter study guide offers reflections on torture as a moral issue. Get a group together to discuss this timely issue and what you can do to stop torture.  Actions include fasting for justice and peace, praying for enemies, overcoming evil with goodness, and advocating for the abolition of torture.  We, as Catholic voters, have a voice with our Congresspersons.  For detailed information, search for "stop torture" on the home page of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or go to: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war/torture/torture-is-a-moral-issue.cfm

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

He does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the foreigner, in giving him food and clothing. --Deuteronomy 10:18

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, September 4, 2011

 If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him.  --Exodus 22:24

Microlending Helps People to Help Themselves up and out of poverty.  You can invest in a hardworking individual or group in a developing country for just $25.  Because this is a loan, not a handout, you will get the money back.  The Kiva website makes it extremely easy: http://www.kiva.org

Meet Entrepeneur Madame Faty of Senegal.  
Through the Kiva microlending website, the St. Michael Social Concerns Ministry recently made a loan to the Begg Thierno Group in Senegal, a women's partnership in perfume and fruit sales.  Madame Faty is 35 years old, married with one child. This loan will enable her to purchase a greater variety of perfume in order to expand her small business.  Visit our microloan site to learn more: http://www.kiva.org/team/st_michael_parish_social_concerns_ministry/loans

Building Communities of Salt and Light: Developing Effective Social Ministry (Sat, Nov 5, 9am-3pm, Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center).  
If you are a looking to make your parish's Social Justice or Respect Life Ministry more effective this conference is for you.  The Diocese of Oakland's Office for Life and Justice in partnership with Catholic Relief Service and JustFaith Ministries will be hosting a special training for Social Justice and Respect Life Ministers at Christ the Light Cathedral Conference Center in Oakland .  Tom Ulrich, Direct for Parish Outreach at Catholic Relief Service and author of Strategies for Success: Parish Social Ministry will lead a discussion around how to develop thriving parish social ministry.  For more information: John Watkins (jwatkins@oakdiocese.org, 510-267-8379).

10th Anniversary Observance of 9/11 Attacks.  
The San Francisco Interfaith Council is joining forces with Mayor Ed Lee's office and the San Francisco Opera to convene the 10th anniversary observance of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States . This observance will be held in concert with the San Francisco Opera's annual Opera in the Park, scheduled for 2:00 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in Sharon Meadows, Golden Gate Park.

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. --Psalm 82:3

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right. --Psalm 106:3

Open Heart Kitchen Needs Volunteers. 
OHK needs many willing hands to chop veggies, ladle soup, clean up: they serve thousands every week here in the Tri-Valley.  Please call the Operations Director at 925-580-6793 to be assigned to a time slot with an existing team. Many hands make light work! 

First Friday Fast for Food Security is a campaign by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  The goal is to deepen our compassion for the hungry by cutting back to $3 per person for food on the First Friday of the month.  It is a real challenge to eat on $3, and you may go hungry: just like people on food stamps.  Learn the details on Facebook (First Fridays for Food Security: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110978892320508) or http://usccb.org/sdwp/Fasting-Resource-Intro-May-6.pdf

Please Contact Your US Senators to Support Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.  
The 2010 comprehensive health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), poses new risks to religious freedom and rights of conscience. To correct these problems, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Dan Boren (D-OK) introduced the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179). This measure will ensure that those who participate in the health care system "retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions".  Please contact your U.S. Senators: (1) Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or (2) send an e-mail through NCHLA's Action Center: http://www.nchla.org, or (3) find contact info at: www.senate.gov.

KEEPING THE FAITH:  Surviving with Grace for the Long Haul for Justice and Peace, September 16 or 17.  
Megan McKenna and Bishop Gabino Zavala (President of Pax Christi USA)
Guest speaker Megan McKenna is an Ambassador of Peace for Pax Christi. She has lived in North and South America, Europe and islands throughout the world.  She works with Indigenous groups, justice and peace groups, and parishes, dioceses and religious communities. RSVP to Meg Bowerman (LMJTBOW@pacbell.net).  Free will donation.  Friday, September 16, 2011 7pm-9pm, St. Mary Magdalen Parish Hall, 2005 Berryman Street , Berkeley, OR, Saturday, September 17, 2011 10am-1pm, St. Perpetua Church 3454 Hamlin Road, Lafayette.

The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422.

Rich and poor have a common bond: the LORD is the maker of them all. - Proverbs 22:2

Monday, August 15, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, August 21, 2011

I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. --Psalm 140:12

Open Heart Kitchen Needs Volunteers.
OHK needs many willing hands to chop veggies, ladle soup, clean up: they serve thousands every week here in the Tri-Valley.  Please call the Operations Director at 925-580-6793 to be assigned to a time slot with an existing team. You have a variety of choices for day of the week, and number of times per month to serve.  The kitchen is run by paid staff who are experienced in directing volunteers; many hands make light work! 

JustFaith Introductory Workshop, August 27, St. Joan of Arc, San Ramon.
Jack Jezreel, JustFaith Ministries
Jack Jezreel, JustFaith Ministries, will speak on Saturday, Aug 27, 10am - 1:30pm, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon.  Our Christian faith extends an invitation to each of us to become agents of God's compassion and healing in a wounded world. JustFaith Ministries empowers ordinary people and their communities to act on that invitation.  Light refreshments will be served. $25 or free will donation.  Please RSVP to Meg Bowerman (LMJTBOW@pacbell.net).  To learn more about JustFaith Ministries: http://www.justfaith.org

Rachel's Vineyard Retreat, September 9-11, Menlo Park. 
Has an abortion left you with a broken heart?  Rachel's Vineyard Retreats renew hearts broken by abortion. A confidential interdenominational retreat will take place Sept 9-11, 2011 in Menlo Park, offering a loving and supportive environment where women and men can reconcile painful post-abortive emotions and begin the process of renewal and healing. Rachel's Vineyard is therapy for the soul. For confidential inquiries call 415-260-4406 or email christinew@firstresort.net ; for more information go to: www.rachelsvineyard.org 

Megan Mckenna:  What Will Be Remembered of You? (Sept 15, San Lorenzo). 
Based on the Gospel story of Jesus and the unnamed woman who anointed him for his burial, author Megan McKenna will lead us in a personal examination using stories of women from all religious traditions, both ancient and contemporary.  Join us for this unique opportunity!  Donation of $10 suggested at the door.  September 15, 2011, 7pm - 9pm, Maryknoll Center Chapel, 16642 Ashland Avenue, San Lorenzo.

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne 443-1422.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. --Proverbs 31:9

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rich and poor have a common bond: the LORD is the maker of them all. - Proverbs 22:2

Open Heart Kitchen Needs Volunteers. 
OHK needs many willing hands to chop veggies, ladle soup, clean up: they serve thousands every week here in the Tri-Valley.  Please call the Operations Director at 925-580-6793 to be assigned to a time slot with an existing team. You have a variety of choices for day of the week, and number of times per month to serve.  Many hands make light work! 

Detroit Parish Takes to Heart Stewardship of God's Creation.  
Nativity of our Lord Catholic Church in Detroit has taken the message of "being good stewards of the earth" seriously: inviting speakers to discuss reducing carbon footprints, holding sustainability workshops, reducing waste management costs by 50% through aggressive recycling, upgrading lights and windows, reducing water use, creating a parish garden, and composting yard waste for the local 4H community center.  Learn more at: http://tinyurl.com/Nativity-Stewardship

Reduce Energy: Turn Down Your AC.  
When you leave your home (and if possible your office) remember to turn the thermostat to a higher temperature for air conditioning, so it's not cooling a vacant building.  (Tip from the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change newsletter, July 13, 2011 issue)

Book Review: "God, Creation, and Climate Change: A Catholic Response to the Environmental Crisis".  
This book contains essays by a distinguished group of Catholic scholars who assess the gravity of the situation and offer resources from the biblical and theological traditions.  The book is edited by Richard W. Miller (Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y.).

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne Angvick, 443-1422.  

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. --Psalm 146:7

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, August 7, 2011

He does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the foreigner, in giving him food and clothing. --Deuteronomy 10:18

Open Heart Kitchen Needs Volunteers. 
OHK needs many willing hands to chop veggies, ladle soup, clean up: they serve thousands every week here in the Tri-Valley.  Please call the Operations Director at 925-580-6793 to be assigned to a time slot with an existing team. You have a variety of choices for day of the week, and number of times per month to serve.  The kitchen is run by paid staff who are experienced in directing volunteers; many hands make light work! 

Catholic Church Helps Rural America.  
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference is dedicated to applying the teachings of Jesus Christ for the betterment of rural America.  NCRLC is sponsored by Catholic dioceses across America.  Their website has a wealth of information on food justice, the ethics of eating, and spiritual resources.  Of especial note is their "Faith-Based Study Guide on Poverty and Hunger" to help us understand the facts, reflect and pray, and choose appropriate action.  Learn more at: http://www.ncrlc.com

Hunger Damages Children and Adults.  
Did you know?  "Hunger is more than pangs in the stomach. Malnutrition and undernutrition lead to physical impairment; a person who hungers on a daily basis can no longer maintain natural bodily capacities. For children, this means impairment to growth and learning abilities. For women, hunger affects pregnancy and lactation; for men, physical work. For all people, the lack of food leads to various diseases and prevents the ability to recover quickly, if at all."  (from "A Faith-Based Study Guide on Poverty and Hunger", NCRLC, www.ncrlc.com)

From the Vatican: Pope Encourages Contemplation and Protection of Nature.  
Last month, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged those gathered in Castel Gondolfo to value nature and teach their children to do the same.  In his message, the Holy Father said, "I would like to recommend that during this time of vacation, you revivify your spirits by contemplating the splendors of Creation.  Parents, teach your children to see nature, respect and protect it as a magnificent gift that presents to us the grandeur of the Creator."  Reflecting on the day's Gospel-the parable of the sower-Pope Benedict noted that, Jesus used the language of nature to explain to his disciples the mysteries of the Kingdom.  May the images he uses become familiar to us.

Would you like to pursue a social justice project? The St. Michael Parish Social Concerns Ministry would like to help you to help others!  Call Joanne, 443-1422. 

Rich and poor have a common bond: the LORD is the maker of them all. - Proverbs 22:2