Sunday, December 30, 2012

Social Concerns Column for January 4, 2013



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 

US Bishops' National Migration Week, January 6-12, 2013.  
The theme for 2013 is “We are Strangers No Longer: Our Journey of Hope Continues” to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the historic joint pastoral letter of the United States and Mexico bishops conferences, "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope." This theme reminds us of our responsibility as Catholics to help newcomers integrate in ways that are respectful, culturally sensitive and responsive to social needs, and of the ongoing need for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.  Learn more at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website: http://tinyurl.com/National-Migration-Week

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11, 2013.  
Human trafficking is “modern day slavery” because it uses force, fraud or coercion to make people do things they don’t want to do. Women, children and men are all affected by this crime. They are enslaved throughout the world through forced labor and/or commercial sex. Many times they are right in our own communities.  For more information 

(1) Oakland Diocese Office of Social Justice (www.oak4life.org)

(2) the Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking (www.afc.hhs.gov/trafficking)

(3) the State of California (www.safestate.org/trafficking)

(4) monthly e-newsletter, Stop Trafficking! (www.StopEnslavement.org)

Walk for Life West Coast, Saturday, January 26, San Francisco.  
St. Michael parishioners will be going in a group organized by the Knights of Columbus.  In the last few years, the walk has grown from 5,000 to well over 50,000 men and women, families and teens, people of all faiths.  Let the world know – "We are ‘in it’ to ‘WIN IT’!"   The event starts at Civic Center Plaza and ends at Justin Herman Plaza.  For more information, find them on Facebook or visit: http://www.walkforlifewc.com

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, December 28, 2012

Social Concerns Column for December 30, 2012



Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. --Isaiah 9:7  

World Day of Peace: January 1, 2013.  
The Pope's theme for World Day of Peace 2013 is, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”  In his 2013 Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us at that we all have a role to play in building peace in our communities and world. His 2013 Message focuses on human dignity, rights and responsibilities, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of John XXIII's Pacem in Terris.   Read the Pope's message on the Vatican's website at: http://tinyurl.com/PopeWorldDayPeace

Pope John Paul II Calls Loving Neighbor a Virtue.  
Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in an interdependent world.  John Paul II has called solidarity a virtue.  It is the virtue, he says, by which we demonstrate "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good ... because we are all really responsible for all."  -- Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, http://www.osjspm.org

US Bishops Call for National Migration Week: January 6-12, 2013.  
The theme for 2013 is “We are Strangers No Longer: Our Journey of Hope Continues” to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the historic joint pastoral letter of the United States and Mexico bishops conferences, "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope." This theme reminds us of our responsibility as Catholics to help newcomers integrate in ways that are respectful, culturally sensitive and responsive to social needs, and of the ongoing need for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.  Learn more at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website: http://tinyurl.com/National-Migration-Week

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

Friday, December 21, 2012

Social Concerns Column for December 23, 2012




"The world must be educated to love Peace, to build it up and defend it." -- Pope Paul VI, 1968

World Day of Peace: January 1, 2013

The Pope's theme for World Day of Peace 2013 is, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”  In his 2013 Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us at that we all have a role to play in building peace in our communities and world. His 2013 Message focuses on human dignity, rights and responsibilities, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of John XXIII's Pacem in Terris.   Read the Pope's message on the Vatican's website at: http://tinyurl.com/PopeWorldDayPeace

Stories of Generosity from St. Michael Parish

The Livermore Homeless Refuge extends a big thank you to all the wonderful people from St. Michael's who generously support our Refuge ... because without you, we couldn't do it.  Here are recent stories about the Refuge and St. Michael parishioners:

As A Little Child:  A woman, man and a seven year old little girl came to our door and gave me $6.10 from the little girl's piggy bank to help the homeless.  The little girl understood what she was doing, it was all her idea: She told her parents to give the money to the homeless because it's so cold out and she has a warm bed. We all cried.  This is all so humbling to us: God is Good!

Great Eighth Graders:  The St. Michael's 8th grade class raised money and gave us a gift card to purchase clothes and needed items for our homeless.  Their hard work brought immediate help to the homeless -- the new clothes went to the homeless within days.
 
Serving the Really Hungry: One night, I served a man who had not eaten in THREE DAYS....nothing at all.  We really are a Refuge to people at the end of their rope.

Knights are Noble:   Dennis Lundbaum from the Knights of Columbus called us late Sunday night after a dinner they served in the big hall and gave us all the leftovers!  This unexpected and delicious warm food was so well received by our homeless.  I speak for them when I say, they are so grateful ... so are we!!

The Words of Jesus: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." -- Matthew 25

Friday, December 14, 2012

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 16, 2012





US Bishops Speak on the Sacraments and Social Mission  

The Bishops' documents below reflect on the richness of the sacraments and our call to "go forth to love and serve the Lord" in our world.  These short documents very readable and excellent for personal devotions.

Baptism: Incorporated into Christ's Body, Sent on Christ's Mission.  Baptism calls us to reject death and embrace life and dignity for all.

Eucharist and Social Mission: Body of Christ, Broken for the World. Contemplating Christ’s sacrifice for the world in need, we are sent forth to follow his example.

The Eucharistic Liturgy: Formed, Transformed, and Sent.   Our communion in the Eucharist leads to our determination to transform unjust structures and to restore respect for all men and women who are created in God's image and likeness.

Confirmation: Strengthened by the Spirit, Called to Action.  Anointed by the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, Christians become better equipped to carry out the Church’s mission of love and service.

Marriage: United in Love, Strengthened for Service.  By giving of themselves and serving one another, their family and community, Christian spouses help one another live out Christ’s call to discipleship, love and service.

Holy Orders: Ordained to Serve, Gather, Transform and Send.  Priests are called to “preach good news to the poor” (Lk. 4:18). Deacons imitate Christ in his ministry of service and charity to the poor and needy in the community.

Penance: Reconciled to Right Relationship, Called to Heal and Restore.  Healed and forgiven, we are sent to work for peace, justice and love in our communities and world.

Anointing of the Sick: Joined to Christ, Witnesses of Hope and Healing.  Christ’s followers share his ministry of compassion and healing and imitate his preferential love for the sick and all who suffer.

Read these documents in English or Spanish on the Prayer and Worship website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at: http://tinyurl.com/SacramentsSocialMission

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 9, 2012

US Bishops Campaign to End Poverty in America: 
We Can Make a Difference
(www.povertyusa.org)

Even before the recession, Americans were having a difficult time making ends meet. Struggling to get back on their feet, more and more families have to choose between necessities shelter, child care, and food.  Working to address poverty in America demands confronting the root causes of economic injustice — and promoting social policies that help.

Sign up for Action Alerts so you can write to your Congressional representatives when legislation is pending.  Your voice will make the difference!  http://www.povertyusa.org/get-involved/action-alerts/

Learn more about some major legislative policies that help people get back on their feet:

The Farm Bill.  
The 2012 reauthorization of the Farm Bill provides an opportunity to reshape the current, broken agricultural policies to build a more just framework that better serves small and medium-sized family farms in the U.S., promotes good stewardship of the land, helps overcome hunger at home and abroad and helps vulnerable farmers and their families in developing countries. Read more at: http://www.povertyusa.org/we-can-make-a-difference/policies-that-help/

The Federal Budget.  
The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people. Programs meant to support people living in poverty can be made more effective, but not by cutting benefits that harm struggling families. The federal budget is a moral document that reflects our priorities as a society. Read more at: http://www.povertyusa.org/we-can-make-a-difference/policies-that-help/

(This above is an excerpt from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development's initiative to eliminate poverty in America at www.povertyusa.org).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Emma's Gift -- a True Story of Thanksgiving




Donna McKenzie, shared this story about the true meaning of the Thanksgiving season. Donna and her husband, Bob, work nightly with the guests at the Livermore Homeless Refuge in Livermore, California.  Donna and Bob have also given up their garage to store supplies for the homeless.  The events below took place on November 21, 2012.

The story I'm going to tell you is truly about a "gift of love."

The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, I was in the garage sorting through clothes to bring to our homeless friends and a car stopped in the middle of our driveway.  I looked up and a man, woman and child got out of the car and walked up the driveway towards me.  The man said, "are you Donna?" and I said "yes."

He and his wife looked down at the little girl named Emma and she looked up at me and at the same time handed me her little pink piggy bank.  As I reached for it, she said, "this is for the homeless."  I was speechless and stunned! 

Emma and I sat down on the driveway and opened her piggy bank and counted $6.12. 

I told her that maybe she should keep half of it in her bank and I would take the other half for the homeless.  She answered me with, "I want them to have it all because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm going to have turkey.  I have a warm bed with covers and they don't have any."

Her dad said this gift was completely Emma's idea.  They had been downtown recently and she saw some of our homeless begging and asked her parents what they were doing and they explained it to her.

When she returned home, she told her parents what she wanted to do with the money she had been saving.

I offered to give her $1.00 to start her savings again and she would not accept it.

Once again, I was humbled by a little girl who understood at her young age about giving and sharing and mostly,  about caring.

Emma is 6 1/2   years old.

In all the excitement, I hugged her and her parents, told them they were doing an awesome job raising their daughter and then they were gone. 
I didn't get their names, except for Emma, who I will never forget.

I have the $6.12 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters....and I'm thinking "ice cream for our homeless."  They love it....and it's a real treat for them....
....thanks to Emma.

If you would like to volunteer at the Livermore Homeless Refuge, or provide other support, please Call Sandra Chesterman at 925-525-1200 or go to www.LivermoreHomelessRefuge.org

Story edited by Jim Schnitter, St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Livermore, CA.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, December 2, 2012



Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live. -- Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, http://www.osjspm.org/

Thank You to St. Michael Parish for Supporting Livermore Homeless Refuge!  
We are so grateful to St. Michael Parishioners for the sleeping bags and thermal undergarments which they donated to the Livermore Homeless Refuge in November.  The sleeping bags and garments make a big difference on these increasingly cold and wet nights when our Refuge guests are sleeping on the floor in a vacant room in a Livermore church hall.  Our volunteers staff the Refuge through the night so that our city's homeless are not out under a bridge or bush or in a car.  Our guests express great gratitude for the kindness shown to them, "the least of these our brothers", as Jesus said.  God bless your continued gracious generosity.

Donations Welcome for Livermore Homeless Refuge.  
It is not too late to donate supplies: We still need thermal undergarments (men's and women's) and sleeping bags.  We will come pick up your donations: Call Bob and Donna McKenzie, 925-443-7389 or 925-895-4167.  If you would like to make a monetary contribution, please send your tax deductible donations via checks made out to Robert McKenzie, 2497 Pyramid St., Livermore, 94550; please include a return address so that we can mail you a receipt for your taxes.  For more information, visit: www.livermorehomelessrefuge.org

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.  
Thank you for continuing to bring food to the boxes at the entrances to the church.  These groceries are distributed every week to the hungry of Livermore.  Want to help more?  Contact: Rich Mueller, 925-373-7472, richmca@hotmail.com

Tri-Valley Hotline 211: Help for the Needy.  
Dial for help with food, housing, employment, health care, child care, elder care.  Translators are available.  Please help spread the word about this valuable resource from United Way of the East Bay.   Learn more at: http://www.211california.org/

Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke?  Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. – Isaiah 58:6-8 

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, November 25, 2012







"What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness and walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

Catholic Relief Services Has a Blog (http://crs-blog.org).  
This blog is a fast and easy way to learn what the Church is doing to fight global poverty.  Because CRS volunteers are always on the ground in developing countries and preparing for disasters, their response is fast and efficient.

Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable.  
"A basic moral test of society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of the nation.  The option for the poor ... arises from the radical command to love one's neighbor as one's self.  The option for the poor is an essential part of society's effort to achieve the common good. A healthy community can be achieved only if its members give special attention to those with special needs, to those who are poor and on the margins of society."  -- Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, http://www.osjspm.org/

Thank You St. Michael for Your Generosity to Livermore Homeless Refuge.  
We are so grateful for your donations of sleeping bags and thermal undergarments last weekend.  You are literally saving lives during these cold Autumn nights.  If you missed the drive, you can always make a donation of supplies at the rectory, or for pick-up call Bob and Donna McKenzie, 925-443-7389 or 925-895-4167.  For more information, visit: www.livermorehomelessrefuge.org

Open Heart Kitchen Welcomes Your Donations and Helping Hand.  
Volunteers serve thousands every week here in the Tri-Valley.  Register as a volunteer or donate online at: http://www.openheartkitchen.org

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Welcomes Canned Food.  
Your donations of food to the boxes at the entrances to the church go directly to the hungry of Livermore.

Tri-Valley Hotline 211: Help for the Needy.  
Dial for help with food, housing, employment, health care, child care, elder care.  Translators are available.   http://www.211california.org/

“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)

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, November 18, 2012



Then the King shall say to those who will be on his right: ‘Come, you blessed of my Father. Possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.’  -- Matthew 11:34-36 

Open Heart Kitchen Welcomes Your Donations and Helping Hand.  
The Kitchen needs many willing hands to chop veggies, ladle soup, clean up: they serve thousands every week here in the Tri-Valley.  Register as a volunteer or donate online at: http://www.openheartkitchen.org

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.  
Thank you for continuing to bring food to the boxes at the entrances to the church for the hungry of Livermore.  Want to help more?  Contact: Rich Mueller, 925-373-7472, richmca@hotmail.com

Tri-Valley Hotline 211: Help for the Needy.  
Dial for help with food, housing, employment, health care, child care, elder care.  Translators are available.  Please help spread the word about this valuable resource from United Way of the East Bay.  180,000 people are helped each year through this hotline.

Food for Thought on the Ethics of Eating.  
We serve the common good by eating what is good for the earth and good for farmers and workers. Eating is a moral act.  Why?  The ethics of eating is about food choices. We can choose foods that are grown in ways that are good for the earth so that soil and water quality remain optimum for years to come.  We can choose foods that are grown for the good of the farmers with fair compensation for their labor, and with protection of their health and safety.  So eat what is good to grow and grow what is good to eat: that is the ethics of eating!  -- from the National Catholic Rural Life Conference (http://www.ncrlc.com)

How Do I Buy Ethical Food?  
Start with local farmers' markets and Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate.  The Livermore Year Round Sunday Farmer's Market runs Sundays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the parking lot of the historic Southern Pacific Train Depot at L St. and Railroad Ave.  The Pleasanton Farmers' Market is Saturday morning, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Main & W. Angela Street.  All Livermore grocery stores carry products with the Fair Trade label on the package, from Ben and Jerry's chocolate ice creams to coffee and tea. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Social Concerns Column for November 11, 2012



Then the King shall say to those who will be on his right: ‘Come, you blessed of my Father. Possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.’  -- Matthew 11:34-36 

Open Heart Kitchen Welcomes Your Donations and Helping Hand.  
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.  Your financial support is also welcome!  Register as a volunteer or donate online at: http://www.openheartkitchen.org

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.  
Thank you for continuing to bring food to the boxes at the entrances to the church.  These groceries are distributed every week to the hungry of Livermore.  Want to help more?  Contact: Rich Mueller, 925-373-7472, richmca@hotmail.com

Tri-Valley Hotline 211: Help for the Needy.  
Dial for help with food, housing, employment, health care, child care, elder care, finding unemployment benefits and so much more.  Translators are available.  Please help spread the word about this valuable resource from United Way of the East Bay.  180,000 people are helped each year through this hotline.  This hotline covers many counties of California.
http://211bayarea.org/

Catholic Relief Services Fights Global Poverty.  
CRS is the international outreach arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, representing all of us in the fight against global poverty.  As a prominent participant in U.S. government international food aid programs, CRS uses food aid, also known as P.L. 480 Title II food aid, to provide food to people who are hungry during emergencies such as wars and natural disasters and for long-term development projects in education, health and agriculture.  The CRS webpage features Action Alerts for legislation, monthly webinars on current issues, and more!  Learn how you can participate at: http://crs.org

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

Prayer for victims of Hurricane Sandy from Catholic Relief Services




God of Mercy,

You who created the universe and ordered it through a simple command, we humbly come to you today as your beloved children. We pray for those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean and Northeastern United States. Grant us the faith and perseverance to trust in you and seek first your Kingdom.

Above all, may this natural disaster serve as a reminder of the frailty of our lives and our interdependence. May we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters affected by Hurricane Sandy in the U.S. and the Caribbean, and may our day to day living always reflect our responsibility towards the poor and humanity as a whole.

We pray, through your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.
Amen. 


Find additional petitions from Catholic Relief Services at this link:
http://donate.crs.org/site/DocServer/Final_Hurricane_Sandy_Prayer_v2.pdf?docID=8603

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Help Victims of Hurricane Sandy Through CRS and Catholic Charities USA



Follow this link to make a donation to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Catholic Charities USA is helping people in the United States while Catholic Relief Services is helping people in Haiti and other islands hit hard.  Thanks!

http://usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/helping-victims-of-hurricane-sandy.cfm

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Social Concerns Column for November 4, 2012




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

Tri-Valley Hotline 211: Help for the Needy.  
Dial for help with food, housing, employment, health care, child care, elder care.  Translators are available.  Please help spread the word about this valuable resource from United Way of the East Bay.

Bishops Urge Catholic Laity to Vote Faithfully.
 “The voices and votes of lay Catholics are needed to shape a society with greater respect for human life, economic and environmental justice, cultural diversity and global solidarity.”  – Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, http://tinyurl.com/HungerThirstJustice

Catholic Bishops Speak Out On Ballot Propositions:
 Read their positions and their reasoning based on the Bible and the writings of modern popes at www.cacatholic.org

Why California Bishops Urge YES on Prop 34 to End Death Penalty:
The Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States have re-affirmed their commitment to their Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

  • Over 100 current and former criminal justice professionals have signed the Prop 34 law enforcement letter opposing the death penalty.
  • Over 700 victim family members belong to California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and support Prop 34.
  • A Florida study showed that the murder rate went up after an execution, proving that it is not a deterrent to murder.
  • An execution creates another set of victims - the family of the person executed.
  • Studies have shown that executions have a detrimental effect on prison staff.
  • The death penalty is simply revenge.

Read more at California Bishops' website at: http://tinyurl.com/TopTenProLife

California Bishops Support Prop 35 - Human Trafficking Initiative.  
Bishop Wilkerson says: “Human trafficking, which involves the enslaving of individuals in order to use them for financial gain, is an intolerable affront to human dignity." Read more at: www.cacatholic.org

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Social Concerns Column for October 28, 2012



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

Catholic Bishops Speak Out On Ballot Propositions: 
Read their positions and their reasoning based in the Bible and Catholic Social Teaching at www.cacatholic.org

California Bishops' Top 10 Reasons for YES on Prop 34 to End Death Penalty:
1. Cain and Abel. When Cain killed Abel and was exiled, he wasn’t killed.  In fact the “Lord put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.” Genesis 4
2. Casting Stones.  When Jesus was asked about the death penalty for the woman caught in adultery, he simply said, “Let the man among you who has no sin be the first to cast a stone at her.”  John 8
3. United States Bishops Call for End.  In 1980 the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States called for ending the use of the death penalty in our country.
4. US Courts Not Infallible.  Since 1973, there have been 140 inmates released from death row because they have been proven to be innocent.  Three were in California.
5. Death is Expensive.  The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $185 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.
6-10. Read more at California Bishops' website at: http://tinyurl.com/TopTenProLife

California Bishops Say Prop 34 is Pro-Life.  
"Pope John Paul II wrote “The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation.  A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil.”  Archbishop Jose Gomez and the Catholic Bishops of California have decided to promote passing Proposition 34 that will replace the death penalty in California with life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Please join them in passing this important pro-life proposition."  Read more from our bishops at http://tinyurl.com/TopTenProLife

California Bishops Support Prop 35 - Human Trafficking Initiative.  
Bishop Wilkerson says: “Human trafficking, which involves the enslaving of individuals in order to use them for financial gain, is an intolerable affront to human dignity.   As Catholics, we are called to listen to the wisdom of Pope Paul VI, 'Whatever is opposed to life itself, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, whatever insults humanity—such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution -- all these things poison human society.  Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator.’" Read more at: www.cacatholic.org

Friday, October 26, 2012

Be Still . . . reflections for faith and justice






This image is called "Be Still" from Just Faith Ministries program: STILLPOINT...In the Eye of the Storm.
The website provides reflections carefully crafted to accompany you in your practice of 'engaged presence,' as you draw the world of crying need and awesome complexity into your heart and center.
STILLPOINT in the Eye of the Storm comes in weekly installments each Thursday as reflections, resources and reminders for engaging spirituality in times like these.
Find the blog at:

http://stillinthestorm.wordpress.com/

Video on Living in Poverty from US Bishops



Tour Poverty USA Video from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development: What's life like at the poverty line? It's one impossible choice after another—between food and medicine, getting to work or paying the heating bill. But there are ways out.

Watch the video, join the discussion, learn more at this link:

http://vimeo.com/35903896#


Monday, October 22, 2012

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, October 21, 2012



There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.  -- Acts 4:32-35

Supply Drive for LIvermore Homeless Refuge 
October 27-28 at All Masses

The Refuge opens its doors on November 1st to provide a haven during cold or rainy weather for our homeless brothers and sisters.  Volunteers provide some simple hot drinks and soups to the homeless, and watch over them throughout the night.  Your gift of supplies are greatly appreciated.  Please place your donations in the boxes at the entrances to the church.  The Refuge currently needs:

Hot Beverages: Coffee (drip regular and decaffeinated), Coffee (instant),Tea bags, Creamer (powdered), Hot Chocolate, Sugar, Artificial Sweetener

Snacks: Instant oatmeal, Cereals, Snacks, Bottled water, Cup-of-soup

Paper Products: Cups, napkins, bowls, plastic forks - knives - spoons

Cleaning Supplies: Clorox Wipes, Sponges, Spray Air Fresheners, Paper towels, Large trash bags, Spray Cleaner (e.g., 409, Simple Green)

Personal Hygiene Items: Disposable razors (men and women), Tampons and Sanitary napkins, Band-aides, Toilet paper

Gently used sleeping bags: Each guest will receive their own for the season.

Please send your tax deductible donations via checks made out to Robert McKenzie, 2497 Pyramid St., Livermore, 94550; please include a return address so that Robert can mail you a receipt for your taxes.

Catholic Social Teaching on Human Dignity

"Belief in the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all Catholic social teaching. Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society.  The principle of human dignity is grounded in the idea that the person is made in the image of God. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us. We are required to honor the human person, to give priority to the person."  -- Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, http://www.osjspm.org

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Register to Vote Online: Deadline October 22, 2012!


"Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation."  -- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops 

Register to vote online: www.vote411.org



Why should I register to vote, and help friends and family to do so?  
In 2008, 6 million Americans didn't vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Don’t let you or someone you know be left out!


If I have moved since the last election, or recently turned 18, do I need to register to vote?  
Yes, you do! 

How can I register to vote? 
Pick up a voter registration form from the Livermore Public Library, the Livermore Post Office, or go online at: http://www.vote411.org

What is the deadline for registering by mail?  
Your registration must be postmarked no later than October 22, 2012.

What do our Catholic bishops say about the ballot issues?  
Plenty!  On their website for the California Catholic Conference (http://www.cacatholic.org), our bishops have prepared brief summaries of the text and the arguments of the proponents and opponents of the 11 propositions which will appear on California’s November 6, 2012 ballot.  

Each contains summaries of the pro and con arguments, as well as relevant Catholic social teaching.  In addition, our bishops are specifically endorsing Prop 34 SAFE California Act to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without possibility of parole, and Prop 35 to fight human trafficking..

Video of Sr. Helen Prejean on Why Catholics Should Be Against Death Penalty




Sr. Helen Prejean, well-known as the author of Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents, told the remarkable story of her spiritual journey accompanying those who have been condemned to death. During her reflection, she recounted stories of faith that lead her to advocate against the death penalty. She spoke of her conversations with Blessed John Paul II who strongly opposed state-sponsored killing. She challenged Catholics who belong to a Pro-life Church to protect the lives of those who are guilty of terrible crimes as well as the lives of the innocent. She asked the assembly, at this historic time, to work for an end to the Death Penalty in California by supporting Proposition 34 on the November 6 ballot. October 7 was designated as Respect Life Sunday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bishops Call for End to Death Penalty


The California Catholic Bishops are strongly in support of Prop 34 to end the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops continue their Campaign Against the Death Penalty.  Why?  Learn more at this video: 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Social Concerns Column for October 7, 2012


Become an English Language Tutor for a Fellow Catholic
Training on Saturday, October 20, 2012
Call Joanne, 443-1422, and be paired with a St. Michael parishioner.


Why should I be a tutor?  There are adults in our own St. Michael community who struggle to read and speak English at home … at work … to their children.  By becoming a volunteer literacy tutor in the English language, you will make a life enhancing, permanent change in the life of a fellow Catholic.  With strong English skills, an adult has more job opportunities, can speak with the teachers of their children, and study for the US Citizenship examination.

I only speak English, is that OK?  A-OK!  The only language you need is English.  If you can read this easily aloud to someone, then you are qualified to tutor an adult. Members of St. Michael parish who are bilingual have volunteered to join you and your adult student for your first meeting or two to get you started.

But I don’t know how to teach.  No problem!  You will be trained by staff from the Livermore Public Library’s READ Project, and they will be available for consulting anytime you need it. To prepare for tutoring sessions, you will want to skim through the lesson materials.  But the lessons are all worked out, easy to follow, and have helped hundreds of Livermore residents speak adult-level English. Your learner will already be part of an ESL (English as a Second Language) class; your job is to help them practice.

Is the program really free?  Yes, all of the educational materials are provided free of charge by the Livermore Public Library.

What is my time commitment?  The training class is one day, and then we ask for a 6 month commitment of 2 hours per week.  You and your student can meet in a room at the library at a time that you choose together.  

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. – Matthew 25

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.  -- Hosea 2:19

Bishops Urge Catholic Laity to Vote Faithfully.  “Catholic social teaching calls us to practice civic virtues and offers us principles to shape participation in public life. We cannot be indifferent to or cynical about the obligations of citizenship. Our political choices should not reflect simply our own interests, partisan preferences or ideological agendas, but should be shaped by the principles of or faith and our commitment to justice, especially to the weak and vulnerable. The voices and votes of lay Catholics are needed to shape a society with greater respect for human life, economic and environmental justice, cultural diversity and global solidarity.”  – Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, http://tinyurl.com/HungerThirstJustice



Make a Difference in Washington, D.C., with the Click of a Mouse.  Catholic Charities USA keeps a close eye on legislation passing through Congress, and regularly asks Catholic voters to write to their Congresspersons on time urgent bills.  With a simple click of the mouse and the entry of a few fields of data about yourself, you can send an effective email to your Congressperson.  At the following website, click on “Advocacy” and then “Take Action”: www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

Ways to Make a Difference in the Tri-Valley: Donate to Tri-Valley Haven.  The Haven appreciates the donation of new personal hygiene products, cleaning products, holiday gift items, or gently used household items and furniture.  Please call 925-449-5845.  Financial donations are also appreciated.  Learn more at: http://www.trivalleyhaven.org



Tri-Valley Hotline 211: Help for the Needy.  Dial for help with food, housing, employment, health care, child care, elder care.  Translators are available.  Please help spread the word about this valuable resource.

Catholic Social Teaching: Human Dignity.  “Belief in the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all Catholic social teaching. Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the starting point for a moral vision for society.  The principle of human dignity is grounded in the idea that the person is made in the image of God. The person is the clearest reflection of God among us. We are required to honor the human person, to give priority to the person.”  -- Catholic Charities Office for Social Justice, http://www.osjspm.org

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Social Concerns Column for Sunday, September 23, 2012


The community of believers was of one heart and mind … There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.  -- Acts 4:32-35


Bishops Say Spend Wisely.  “As consumers, believers can promote social justice or injustice … When we purchase goods and services, we can choose to support companies that defend human life, treat workers fairly, protect creation, and respect other basic moral values at home and abroad.”  – U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice”, http://tinyurl.com/HungerThirstJustice


Bishops Call for a Just Economy.  Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, USCCB, recently stated:Everyone and every institution has a role to play in building a more just economy … Blessed John Paul II said, “Society and the State must ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a continuous effort to improve workers' training and capability so that their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society.”  -- Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/WorkersEconomy

Bishops Call the Faithful to Form Consciences for November Election.  The relative silence of candidates and their campaigns on the moral imperative to resist and overcome poverty is both ominous and disheartening  In this election year, Catholics should review and act on what the U.S. bishops said on economic issues in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: Economic decisions and institutions should be assessed according to whether they protect or undermine the dignity of the human person. Social and economic policies should foster the creation of jobs for all who can work with decent working conditions and just wages. Barriers to equal pay and employment for women and those facing unjust discrimination must be overcome. Catholic social teaching supports the right of workers to choose whether to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively, and to exercise these rights without reprisal. It also affirms economic freedom, initiative, and the right to private property. Workers, owners, employers, and unions should work together to create decent jobs, build a more just economy, and advance the common good.”   -- Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/WorkersEconomy

He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice tovictory.  -- Matthew 12:20

Sunday, September 16, 2012

National Voter Registration Day, September 25,2012

Supported by Catholic Charities USA

Register to vote online: www.vote411.org




Why should I register to vote, and help friends and family to do so?  
In 2008, 6 million Americans didn't vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. Don’t let you or someone you know be left out!

What is National Voter Registration Day?  
On September 25, 2012, volunteers, civic groups, and organizations from all over the country will "hit the streets" for National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated ?eld, technology and media efforts will create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities.  Learn more at: http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org

If I have moved since the last election, or recently turned 18, do I need to register to vote?  
Yes, you do! 

How can I register to vote? 
Pick up a voter registration form from the Livermore Public Library, the Livermore Post Office, or go online at: http://www.vote411.org

What is the deadline for registering by mail?  
Your registration must be postmarked no later than October 22, 2012.

What do our Catholic bishops say about the ballot issues?  
Plenty!  On their website for the California Catholic Conference (http://www.cacatholic.org), our bishops have prepared brief summaries of the text and the arguments of the proponents and opponents of the 11 propositions which will appear on California’s November 6, 2012 ballot.  Each contains summaries of the pro and con arguments, as well as relevant Catholic social teaching.  In addition, our bishops are specifically endorsing Prop 34 SAFE California Act to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

"Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation."
-- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops