- About “Cover The Uninsured Week”
- Joint Letter from USCCB and CHAUSA
- Call to Care For Americans Living Without Health Insurance
- Prayer and Liturgy Resources
- Download the Handout on "Cover The Uninsured Week"
About Cover The Uninsured Week
Again this year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will co-sponsor “Cover the Uninsured Week,” from March 22-28, 2009. The purpose of this effort is to focus the attention of the nation on the 46 million Americans who lack any form of health insurance. The USCCB has joined with our ecumenical and interfaith partners in educating the public and policymakers about the need for affordable and accessible health care for all. The leadership of this project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), major health organizations, and business and labor groups.
You may be hearing about Cover the Uninsured Week activities in your communities, especially those sponsored by health care leaders and religious leaders. For example, health fairs and ecumenical and interfaith prayer breakfasts are an excellent way to raise awareness. If you hear about such events or are asked to help plan one, please consider participating as a representative of the Catholic community. If you want to know who is organizing events in your community, go to the Cover the Uninsured Week website (CoverTheUninsuredWeek.org) and click on “Learn about your State.” You will find information about your state and local events. In the “How to Help” Section, you will find suggestions for what you can do, materials to help you plan an event, and lots of great ideas. You can also check the Catholic Health Association website for CTUW materials (www.chausa.org). Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
- A joint letter from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Chairman of the USCCB Domestic Policy Committee, and Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, President and CEO of CHA, which was sent to all bishops asking for their participation in the week.
- “A Call to Care” from representatives of the faith communities and organizations sponsoring CTUW.
- Prayer and liturgy resources that can be used at events before and during Cover The Uninsured Week. Cover The Uninsured Week is meant to be a starting point for education, prayer, and action about the lack of access to health care in the U.S. Homily helps that correspond to the Sunday readings for several weeks after CTUW are also provided in this section to help your community continue its focus on the plight of the uninsured even after the Week ends.
- Background materials on Health Care from the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Your Eminence/Your Excellency,
We would like to invite you to join us as we participate once again in Cover the Uninsured Week 2006, from May 1 to May 7. Now in its fourth year, Cover the Uninsured Week is a national campaign to spotlight the nearly 46 million Americans who lack health insurance.
Cover the Uninsured Week is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and 18 partner groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO. Hundreds of additional organizations will lend their support locally and nationally. Through activities in communities nationwide, religious leaders, physicians, business owners, educators, union members and others are banding together to send a unified message: we cannot afford to remain silent while quality, affordable health care is not a reality for everyone in the country.
A problem of this magnitude and moral urgency requires the leadership of the Catholic community as we work to address this crisis with compassion and a commitment to justice. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) are leaders in this effort because of our longstanding commitment to accessible and affordable health care for all and our desire to show solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith partners. We ask you to join us in this initiative. By adding your diocese, parish or organizations name to this list of participants, you join more than 600 Catholic hospitals, other major health care organizations, business and labor groups, and faith communities that support this important effort.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has developed a variety of materials for the Weeks activities. These resources are available at www.covertheuninsuredweek.org. Additional resources can be found on both the CHA website, www.chausa.org, and the USCCB website, www.usccb.org/sdwp.
If you have questions about this campaign, please contact Jeff Tieman, at CHA, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Kathy Curran, at USCCB, email@example.com. We look forward to working with you as we join together in the cause of achieving health care for all. Sincerely,
Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, D.D., Ph.D.
Bishop of Brooklyn
Chairman, Domestic Policy Committee
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Sr. Carol Keehan, DC
President and CEO
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Who Needs Care?
Today, nearly 46 million Americans are living without health care coverage, including more than 8 million children; America’s uninsured need care.
Most of the uninsured—eight out of 10—are in working families; America’s uninsured workers and their families need care.
The financial security, health, jobs, families and lives of the uninsured are in constant jeopardy. These children, women and men live sicker and die younger simply because they do not have health insurance; those at risk, sick and dying need care.
Individuals and families without health care coverage are forced to gamble every day that they won’t get sick or injured. One serious illness or injury could wipe out an uninsured family’s bank account; those with financial problems need care.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. So today we proclaim the call to care in the name of our nation’s nearly 46 million uninsured people.
Why Do Our Faith Communities Proclaim the Call to Care?
Because faith communities have a long tradition of caring for people who suffer in mind, body and spirit, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation’s nearly 46 million uninsured people.
Because faith communities have prayed for the sick, visited the hospitalized, comforted the dying and their loved ones, and founded hospitals, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation’s nearly 46 million uninsured people.
Because faith communities have led the way in seeking just and compassionate public policies, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation’s nearly 46 million uninsured people.
Because Jewish teaching holds that “if you save one life it is as if you have saved the world;” because Muslim teaching instructs us to “help one another in righteousness and piety;” because in Christian teaching we read, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me,” today we proclaim the call to care for our nation’s nearly 46 million uninsured people.
Because all of our faith traditions, despite encompassing a wide spectrum of beliefs, hold central a conviction that life is a gift from God to be cherished and that God’s people are called to care for one another, provide healing and prevent suffering with compassion and a commitment to justice, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation’s nearly 46 million uninsured people
Answering the Call
By reflecting on the texts and teachings of our own faiths that guide our understanding of and response to the needs of the uninsured, we will respond with faith.
By learning more about the plight of the uninsured and potential solutions through study and discussion, we will respond with concern.
By reaching out to help people without health coverage through health fairs and other volunteer opportunities, we will respond with care.
By focusing attention on the plight of the uninsured and promoting respectful discussions in which we invite all Americans to participate in seeking and implementing solutions, we will respond with justice.
|Rev. Eileen W. Lindner
National Council of Churches Chairperson,
National Interfaith Advisory Board
Lt. Col. Paul Bollwahn
Ms. Kathleen A. Curran
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman
Rabbi Steve Gutow
|Dr. Richard Land|
Southern Baptist Convention,
Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr.
Ms. Garland Pohl
Dr. Mary Ruth Stone
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed
Bishop Melvin Talbert
* Organizations listed for identification purposes only.
Prepared by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with the cooperation of the Cover the Uninsured Week National Interfaith Advisory Board. For more information about the issue and additional interfaith materials, please visit www.CoverTheUninsured.org.
Prayer for the Uninsured
Father of goodness and love,
hear our prayers for the uninsured members of our community
and for all who are in need.
For those who seek care but find that it is out of reach,
may they find consolation in your healing presence.
For all who are blessed with health and security,
may they work to fulfill the needs of those who are sick and insecure.
For leaders who make decisions that affect the health and well-being of others, may they strive to ensure the fundamental right to health care.
We ask this through Christ our Lord
who healed those who believed.
Prayer – Health Care Leaders
Leader: Gracious God, we as health care leaders are on a journey of faith which will challenge us to choose for the good of all. The journey is one of spirit and truth and mission. We thank you, God, for your goodness and love. We believe your Son and powerful Spirit will share the journey with us, even to the end of time.
All: Lord, may we accept our challenges with enthusiasm and hope-filled expectations, for nothing is impossible in your midst. May we communicate freely and openly, and be understood as a people who share the healing mission of Jesus. Be with us that we might be faithful in proclaiming the truth in the choices we make. Amen
Almighty God, help us this day to direct our attention and concern to the poor, needy and sick in our local communities. Let us hear their hopes and their struggles. Help us to respond in an effort to restore their faith and their belief in their human dignity. May we find within ourselves the conviction to always put the powerless foremost in our minds and hearts. Let us so live that all who know us may know that you are a God who cares, when they experience our care and concern. Let us draw strength from each other as we share our talents for the good of the people we serve in all of our facilities- - We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Suggested homily points for two Sundays during the months after Cover the Uninsured Week. These are provided in order to encourage continued attention on our response to the uninsured in our communities and in our nation.
April 26, 2009
Third Sunday of Easter B
Readings: Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19; I John 2:1-5a, and Luke 24:35-48
- Acting out of ignorance can lead to disastrous actions. To be of help to our brothers and sister without health insurance, we need to become informed about the question. Once informed we can unite with others and take action in both the public and private sector.
- In 1 John we are told that Jesus is an “advocate.” This word comes from the Greek verb meaning to comfort, to call someone to one’s side as a helper or counselor, to speak on another’s behalf as would a defense attorney. As followers of Jesus in today’s world we are called to speak and act on behalf of those in need who have no one to intercede for them
- Jesus works with his disciples whose shattered hopes needed healing. He listened to their story, instructed them and led them to the discovery of the truth. In the breaking of the bread, He revealed His presence to them. There are many in our midst who need our willingness to walk with them and give them hope. In the measure we share the pain and sorrow of our brothers and sisters we will bring Christ’s presence to them.
May 3, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Easter B
Readings: Acts 4:8 – 12; 1 John 3:1-2, and John 10: 11-18
- St. Peter makes evident the saving power of Jesus Christ when he reaches out and brings healing to a crippled man. Essential to the Christian community’s mission of making Christ present in our world is a determined outreach to the sick, the poor, the heavily burdened and those in need.
- As children of God, we are called to see in all our brothers and sisters the presence of God. We share a deep solidarity with all men and women. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World notes in paragraph 11: “The people of God believes that it is led by the Spirit of the Lord who fills the whole world. Moved by that faith, it tries to discern in the events, the needs, and the longings which it shares with the other men of our time, what may be genuine signs of the presence or purpose of God.”
- The Good Shepherd gives us the example of self-sacrificial service. Despite the many social challenges of our day and age, we can never give up reaching out to those in need. For the Good Shepherd every sheep was significant and important.
Suggested Petitions for the Prayer of the FaithfulPriest:
As God’s children, we are aware of God’s unending compassion, care and concern and so we confidently pray:
That we may be the agents of God’s healing power to those most in need, we pray to the Lord.
For the uninsured, that they may be encouraged by your presence and given new hope by the love and care of their brothers and sisters in Christ, we pray to the Lord.
For the sick and suffering, that God may give then courage and strength to share the suffering of Christ, we pray to the Lord.
That as we strive to address the needs of the uninsured we may be moved by the compassion, love and concern of the Good Shepherd, we pray to the Lord.
For all engaged in health care, that they may be strengthened to always show mercy, compassion and love, we pray to the Lord.
God, our Father, you extend the Kingdom of Christ to embrace the world, bringing healing and redemption. May the Church be a powerful sign of your healing power, revealing your unending love for us in Christ, Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
May 3, 2009 is also Vocations Sunday
Additional Petitions for Vocations for use on May 3:
That the Spirit may inspire young people to pursue vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life, we pray to the Lord.
That God’s Church may be blessed with an abundance of vocations that are alive and dynamic, we pray to the Lord.