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,

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”:

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:

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,

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”,

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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 (, 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

Become an English Language Tutor for a Fellow Catholic

Become an English Language Tutor for a Fellow Catholic
Training Coming Up in September
Call Joanne, 443-1422

Why are tutors needed?  
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 even 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.

I don’t know how to teach.  
No problem!  You will be trained by staff from the Livermore Public Library’s READ Project.  They will be available for consulting.  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 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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Social Concerns Column Sept 2, 2012


As we come to the end of our third year of operation for the Livermore Homeless Refuge, we celebrate in thankfulness new friends, old friends, happiness, sadness, good memories and challenges.  Our "family" of homeless and our volunteers came together to form a bond that none of us will forget.

During our 2011-2012 season, we were open 129 nights and served 73 homeless guests with a group of 70 volunteer hosts beginning November 1, 2011, and ending April 30, 2012.  We had more women guests this year than in the previous two years.

We are very grateful to Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Ashbury United Methodist, Discovery Church of the Nazarene, First Presbyterian and Holy Cross Lutheran for providing space for the homeless to sleep.  There were so many nights that sleeping outside wasn't an option.  Our homeless are aware of the generosity of the churches and are very appreciative.

Holy Cross Lutheran provided a storage unit for the many  donations we receive from the generous parishioners of St. Michael, St. Charles, St. Elizabeth Seaton, and St. Augustine Catholic Churches, coupled with the Hindu Temple, St. Innocent Orthodox and Asbury United Methodist Church.  The Knights of Columbus from St. Michael donated contributions of food on several occasions.

The contribution each of you made to our ministry allowed a detailed understanding of the "real" need for help and compassion to our homeless community. When any specific need was made known, people always came forward to fill the need.

We sincerely want to thank each and every one of you who helped us in any way to help our homeless, who have little to no voice in our community.

Sandra Chesterman, Director of Operations and Volunteer Coordinator
Bob and Donna McKenzie, Supply and Inventory Coordinators
Livermore Homeless Refuge