Catholics Repent and Bear Witness on Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, March 5, marks the commemoration of Ash Wednesday when Catholics wear the sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads, bearing witness to their belief in the sorrow for sins and preparing for a season of repentance - a season which ends with the bright celebration of Easter. Across the nation, increasing numbers of people come to Church on Ash Wednesday, and the turnout can be extraordinary. "There is a rich history and tradition in distributing ashes," says Father Edward J. Burns, Executive Director of the Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation. "Whether in a campus ministry center, a parish church or in a prison chapel - the signs of repentance and the beginning of Lent will be evident."
Father Edward Burns may be reached at 202/541-3033 or email@example.com
Week to Focus on Universal Health Insurance
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a co-sponsor of Cover the Uninsured Week, a week-long series of events March 10-16 to focus on the more than 41 million Americans who lack any form of health insurance. The USCCB has always been a supporter of adequate and accessible health care for all Americans, and has called for action to address the human need for health care. In Cover the Uninsured Week, an effort led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the USCCB has joined with the Catholic Health Association of the United States, religious and faith-based organizations, major health providers, labor organizations and business groups, to inform Americans about the plight of the uninsured. "It is morally unacceptable that 41 million Americans – 1 in 7 – do not have health care coverage," says Nancy Wisdo, Director, USCCB Office of Domestic Social Development. "Cover the Uninsured Week is an opportunity for Catholics and others to learn more about the seriousness of the problem of the insured, and then go on to use that knowledge to work for health care coverage for all. We urge Catholics to find out what activities are taking place in their communities, especially at the end of the week when the focus will be on interfaith events." For more information visit the USCCB website, www.usccb.org/sdwp/ctuy.htm, or the Cover the Uninsured Week website, http://covertheuninsured.org.
Nancy Wisdo is available at 202/541-3187 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Educational Equity is Goal of March Advocacy Days
For the first time since the 1960s, the party in the White House controls the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it is possible that parental choice options in education have a better chance to pass than ever before. With this in mind, representatives of the Catholic school community will attend a conference designed to include school administrators, principals and parents to promote educational equity for Catholic school Children. Sponsord by the Department of Education of the USCCB, Congressional Advocacy Days 2003 will convene Sunday, March 2 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. Networking events and appointments on Capitol Hill will continue through March 4. "Constituent participation in advocating for our schools is critical," says Rev. William Davis, OSFS, Deputy Secretary for Schools, USCCB Department of Education. Without reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), for example, Catholic school students with special needs are at a unique disadvantage."
Father William Davis is available at 202/541-3132 (email@example.com).