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

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:

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

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:

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:

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:

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,

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:

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:

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, 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