Child Abuse Audit Results Coming January 6
In order to assure compliance with the articles of the bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, an independent survey of compliance of every diocese and eparchy in the U.S. was commissioned by the USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection (OCYP), and carried out by The Gavin Group, an independent firm. Covering the months between June 2002 when the Charter was signed and November 2003, the Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for Children and Young People will be released by the USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection at a news conference in Washington January 6. The report will contain an overview of the Charter, individual audit summaries for each diocese, a summary of the trends of the findings, and some recommendations for next steps. The news conference will feature Conference President Bishop Wilton Gregory, Kathleen McChesney, Ph.D., Director of the OCYP, William Gavin, and a representative of the National Review Board for Child and Youth Protection. The findings will also be posted on the OCYP website (www.usccb.org/ocyp). "This was a large undertaking," says Dr. McChesney. "It shows the bishops are responding in more supportive and pastoral ways to victims, taking steps to prevent future acts of abuse from occurring, and holding themselves publicly accountable for the implementation of the Charter."
Dr. Kathleen McChesney is available at 202/541-5413 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
January Is Poverty in America Awareness Month
In January, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will launch an awareness campaign that emphasizes the growing number of poor Americans. Timed to coincide with the beginning of Poverty in America Awareness Month, the new CCHD-sponsored campaign uses television, radio, a website (http://www.povertyusa.org) and print ads to draw attention to the 34.6 million Americans who live in poverty, 16.7 percent of whom are children. "CCHD will launch this initiative at a press conference on January 12 in New Orleans, to announce results of 'Poverty Pulse' (public opinion research) and encourage journalists to learn more about child poverty in America," said Barbara Stephenson, Communications Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development. "CCHD leads efforts to raise awareness of poverty in the United States and to advance long-term, community-based solutions to it."
Barbara Stephenson is available at 202/541-3364 or email@example.com.
January Pro-Life Vigil and Mass Against Abortion
January 22, 2004 is the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case which, with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, made abortion legal at any time for any reason throughout the nation. On the eve of the anniversary, the annual Vigil Mass for Life and National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. It is the largest annual Catholic Mass in the United States, and is broadcast live on EWTN. This year Cardinal William Keeler, Chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Committee, will be principal celebrant and homilist. "The advertising campaign this year features the slogan 'Women Deserve Better than Abortion,'" said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Director of Planning and Information, USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "Every child deserves a chance to be born and our nation must face the fact that abortion is a reflection that we have failed to meet the needs of women."
Cathy Cleaver Ruse is available at 202/541-3070 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Together on the Journey" Theme of National Migration Week
The needs of migrants and refugees throughout the world are great and growing. The 2003 World Refugee Report documented over 13 million refugees throughout the world, most surviving in desperate circumstances. Largely because of the threat of terrorism and immigration restrictions imposed after 9/11, the United States resettled barely 27,000 people in 2003 -- the lowest number in over 20 years. Each year the USCCB sponsors National Migration Week, reminding Americans that fear of terrorism should not override a tradition of compassion and justice for immigrants, migrants and refugees. "While National Migration Week is observed this year on January 4 - 10, we hope that Catholics will use this to initiate a continuing process of study, celebration, pastoral outreach and advocacy," says James Kuh, Assistant Director of Organizational Development and Support. "A Together on the Journey resource packet, website and particularly, the bishops' two pastoral letters, Unity in Diversity and Strangers No More will guide parishes through the process of welcoming people on the move."
James Kuh is available at 202/541-3220 or email@example.com.