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Insights: Papal Visit, Action Alert, Creation

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August 14, 2015

Pope Francis in the U.S.

With Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States a little more than a month away, preparations are under way at parishes all over California to celebrate this momentous occasion.  Parishes and schools are planning viewing parties and forming faith groups to talk about the Pope’s message of love.

Many groups made plans well in advance to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.  The Pope’s attendance has magnified the size and excitement surrounding the Philadelphia meeting.  Now with the canonization of Fr. Junípero Serra, talks before the U.S. Congress and the United Nations and stops at Catholic Charities and an East Harlem school, interest in this trip has skyrocketed.  (View the complete schedule here.)

Admission for events in Washington, New York and Philadelphia is extremely limited but several events such as the Pope's appearance on the West Steps of the Capitol Building after his address to Congress are open to the public. Please be suspicious of any tickets offered for sale.  They are fraudulent.   No tickets are sold and scammers are known to prey on unsuspecting pilgrims. 

However, there are many other options for viewing.  Several cable systems will set up temporary channels for complete, non-stop coverage and all major events will be streamed live on the Internet.  We will post details on all options as we get closer to the event.

The Catholic News Services has prepared a preview of what we can expect to hear from His Holiness in a story, A Trinity of a Different Kind on the Pope’s U.S. Agenda.  It should be no surprise that the Pope is anticipated to talk about immigration, hunger and the environment when he visits in September.  These are some of his most recurring messages.

The Archdiocese of Washington has prepared a special website for parishes, schools and other organizations to help them celebrate, reflect upon and learn.  Go to for an abundance of resources and information on the visit.  And the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has catechetical material available for all age levels.

We will have extensive coverage – especially information on Fr. Serra and the canonization – in the weeks leading up to the visit.

Urge Lawmakers Not to Discriminate Against Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

Even with increasingly disturbing videos going viral on the web every week, the California legislature is poised to vote on a bill that would discriminate against pro-life pregnancy centers.

AB 775 would enact the Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency) Act, which would require a licensed covered facility to disseminate a notice to all clients stating that every pregnant woman has the right to decide whether to have a child or to obtain an abortion.  An Action Alert was issued yesterday.  If you have not already done so, please urge lawmakers to vote against AB 775.

It looks like AB775 will come up for a vote on Monday, August 17, the day lawmakers return from their summer recess.  They will have a month left in the session to deal with a number of important issues tracked by the Conference including the level and duration of the Earned Income Tax Credit and new standards for juvenile solitary confinement.

The physician-assisted suicide bill is not expected to be revisited but there are a number of parliamentary tricks proponents could employ.  Californians Against Assisted Suicide, the coalition of disability-rights, medical and faith-based groups, opposed to the bill remains on the watch for any movement this year.

Catholic Relief Services Lends a Hand during Special Olympics

More than 40,000 spectators cheered for the efforts of more than 6,500 athletes in the Special Olympics which just wrapped up in Los Angeles. 

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an ardent supporter, volunteered extensively at the games and has partnered with the Special Olympics in an endeavor to help children ages two to seven with intellectual disabilities. CRS’s Young Athletes Project (YAP), for instance, is taking shape in East Africa where parents can obtain services for their children and get support from other parents who struggle with the challenges of finding help for their children.

Janet Froetscher, President of the Special Olympics, sees these games as a time to bring lasting change. “See them as the world has seen them these past few days, don’t let them return to the isolation, stigma, neglect they’ve received all their lives. They deserve better. They’ve earned it.”

For more information on CRS’s partnership with Special Olympics in African countries, click here.  For a summary of the games, visit the Angelus, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

World Day of Prayer for Creation – September 1

Pope Francis has decided to set up a “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which will be celebrated on September 1st annually.

He made the announcement in a letter to the heads of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

For more on the Pope’s encyclical on the environment – Laudato Si – visit our Care for Creation page.  At the end of the letter, Pope Francis has written two prayers – one for Christians and one for people of all faiths.

The California Legislature reconvenes from its summer recess on Monday, August 17.


August 14, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 29