July 25, 2014
In this Issue:
- Action Alert: Protect the Unaccompanied Minors
- Diocese of San Bernardino Receives Central American Refugees
- California Drought: Water Savings Not Measuring Up
- Prayers for Peace in the World’s Trouble Spots
- On the Web
Action Alert: Protect the Unaccompanied Minors
An Action Alert was sent earlier this week asking Catholic Legislative Network members to contact Congress urging officials to devote the necessary resources to protect unaccompanied children seeking asylum.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is essential to this process. She is the author of the original 2008 bill proscribing how unaccompanied children are to be treated. The bi-partisan measure passed unanimously in the last days of the Bush Administration.
It is essential that Sen. Feinstein hear from Californians concerned about the safety of these children and women and how they are treated. If you have not already done so, please Take Action immediately.
“Our strength as a nation has always been a matter of the heart,” said the California Bishops in a statement. “May the heart of Christ guide the people of California to a just and compassionate response for these huddled masses of children gathered at our door.”
Read the California Bishops’ statement on the transport of these children as well as background information on our Immigration and Blog pages.
Diocese of San Bernardino Receives Central American Refugees
The Diocese of San Bernardino took center stage in the closely followed national story of children and families fleeing violence in Central America for the United States when St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fontana welcomed 46 migrants for temporary relief on July 10.
The former convent at St. Joseph served as a transition center for 32 children and 14 adults who received food, water, clothing, access to showers and assistance with contacting loved ones throughout the United States. Catholic Charities workers helped them identify bus routes that would take them to family and saw them off at local Greyhound stations.
"This is firstly a humanitarian issue that transcends political opinions and dispositions," Bishop Gerald Barnes said in a July 3 statement on the transportation of migrants to Southern California. "I ask you to reflect on how you can answer the call of the Gospel to come to the aid of the stranger in this situation."
Volunteers from the parish and Diocesan Pastoral Center sat with the migrants to listen to the harrowing accounts of their journey to the U.S. and their time in federal holding facilities. They also played card games, worked puzzles and kicked the soccer ball with the children, who enjoyed some play time after weeks of grueling travel
Continue reading this story on the newspaper of the San Bernardino Diocese or find answers to questions about the plight of unaccompanied minors on www.cacatholic.org.
California Drought: Water Savings Not Measuring Up
The brown lawn in front of the Capitol is meant as a symbol to Californians of the need to save water. But we’re not doing it fast enough according to a new State Water Resources Control Board survey. The June figures show that water use in the Golden State was down only 5 percent compared to the 20 percent state officials say is needed.
As if three years of below normal rainfall and snowpack weren’t enough, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that the first half of 2014 was the hottest year in history for California and ground-water levels have reached record lows.
Many people are hoping that the predicted appearance of the weather phenomenon known as El Niño will bring extensive rainfall to our portion of the U.S. next year. However, it’s a mixed bag. In addition to the threat of mudslides and flooding record rains could cause here, El Nino is likely to bring dryer weather to the Sub-Sahara, a region already so plagued by severe drought that people are leaving their homes and farm lands in search of more secure water sources.
The California Bishops have asked for prayers on the ongoing problem. Prayer and Reflection Resources for Relief from Drought are available on our website. And water conservation tips and ideas are available on the State’s Save Our Water website.
Prayers for Peace in the World’s Trouble Spots
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has asked Catholics to join with him in prayer and action for peace in world trouble spots, including the Middle East, Ukraine, Africa and Central America.
“We should never underestimate the power of prayer,” wrote the Archbishop, “for it touches and opens us to the power of God among us. My prayer is that together we might help open our world to God’s gift of peace, a peace that the world cannot give (cf. John 14:27).”
He specifically mentioned the Israeli-Hamas fighting; the conflict in Syria and the plight of Christians in Mosul; the loss of Malaysian Flight 17 over the Ukraine with nearly 300 souls on board; and several continuing clashes in Africa.
“All of these tragic situations, and sadly many more, demand our prayer and action for peace,” wrote Archbishop Kurtz. “[Recently] Pope Francis pleaded: “May the God of peace arouse in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace!” Let us join our prayers and call to action with his.”
On the Web
- A Mass for the immigrants was held in Los Angeles with Archbishop Jose Gomez and he said, "As we all know, this land was built by the blood and sacrifice and the vision of missionaries and immigrants from every race and language and every nation."
- The United States cannot separate the humanitarian crisis of many thousands of unaccompanied minors journeying to the U.S. border from root causes in Latin America, many generated by U.S. policies, said the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a July 24 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. The letter from Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, followed the bishops’ June 24 - July 2 travels in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Read the complete text here.
- Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, also called upon President Obama and the Central American presidents to protect and care for children and families fleeing violence in the region. Today, Presidents Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, and Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras are slated to meet with President Obama at the White House to discuss the current humanitarian challenge
Publication Note: The California Legislature is in recess. Public Policy Insights is published every other week during this time. The next issue will be distributed on August 8.