Respect Life Sunday Begins Year-Long Awareness
The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October which this year is October 6. The program is highlighted in liturgies and marked by special events. The USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities publishes a program packet each year to call attention to numerous human life issues. This year's packet focuses on human cloning and genetic tinkering, abortion, global trafficking in women and children, teen chastity, natural family planning, and coping with Down Syndrome. "The events of September 11, 2001 showed humanity at its worst and its best," says Gail Quinn, Director, USCCB Office of Pro-Life Activities. "We saw acts of terrible depravity and, in response to them, acts of true nobility. How can people behave in such radically different ways? The answer may be in the way we choose to look at human life."
Gail Quinn may be reached at 202/541-3070; firstname.lastname@example.org.
October Focus on Domestic Violence
In October, local communities around the country will join in the national observance of "Domestic Violence Awareness Month." The U.S. Catholic Bishops have condemned domestic violence stating that violence against women, in or outside the home is never justified. Their statement, When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women, offers support to abused women and urges abusers to seek assistance. It also includes practical suggestions for parishes and groups that want to address the problem at the local level. "The bishops encourage parishes to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month," says Sheila Garcia, staff to the Bishops' Committee on Women in Society and in the Church. "For example, priests and deacons can mention domestic abuse in their homilies and parishes can provide information about local shelters and programs to assist abused women."
Sheila Garcia can be reached at 202/541-3041; email@example.com
Today's Students Have a Prayer
Catholic colleges and universities are distinctive in their student development initiatives from similar state programs because they attend to the personal, spiritual and ethical development of their students. The latest data on college students states that 43 percent hope to integrate their spiritual life with their everyday experiences. Student development departments assist them in this endeavor through college ministry programs, drug and alcohol programming and family counseling, community service opportunities and specific workshops and lectures on these specific factors. "Catholic colleges share with all universities the task of developing the whole person," says Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.d., USCCB Advisor for Higher Education and Campus Ministry. "What is unique about Catholic schools and their student development departments is that there is an ease and comfortableness bringing forward the larger questions of ethics and spirituality in the actions of students."
Michael Galligan-Stierle can be reached at 202/541-3165; firstname.lastname@example.org
Refugee Council Urges Better Processing
In September, the Bush Administration published the Report to Congress for Proposed Refugee Admissions for fiscal year 2003. The proposal is to process only 70,000 refugees for admission in fiscal year 2003, despite the indication in 2002 that the program would grow in each subsequent year. The proposal also indicates the actual number of refugee arrivals in 2003 may be only 50,000. "In spite of continued advocacy efforts, the number of U.S. refugee arrivals barely reached 28,000 as of the end of fiscal year 2002. The implication is that 42,000 refugees who could have been processed in the fiscal year 2002 continue to languish in desperate circumstances," noted Kevin Appleby, Director of Migration Policy, USCCB Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). "MRS and other members of the Refugee Council USA are calling for at least 115,000 refugee admissions in 2003," said Appleby.
Kevin Appleby can be reached at 202/541-3260; email@example.com