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Insights: Whole Person Care Initiative; 2018 Farm Bill Debate

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March 2, 2018

DACA Status and Call-in Day Response

Thank you to the hundreds of readers who called their lawmakers this past Monday for National Catholic Call-In Day, aimed at urging lawmakers to take action to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and “Dreamers” – children who were brought to the United States by their parents and are not U.S. citizens. 

Last week, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops (CCC) released a statement asking the 12 million Catholics throughout the state to participate in the call-in by asking elected officials to “demonstrate good sense and a sound conscience by standing in solidarity with the Dreamers.

Actions in support of Dreamers took many forms.  For instance, while many throughout the state were busy making calls to their legislators, a Catholic-led demonstration in Washington, D.C. resulted in the civil disobedience arrest of 100.

Congress has yet to come to a resolution on the issue but a Supreme Court ruling this week ensured that the DACA program will continue at least until the fall, giving a temporary reprieve for the 1.8 million Dreamers who feared deportation and Congress a window of time to find a permanent solution.

The USCCB released a statement earlier this week explaining, “Monday's Supreme Court decision does not reduce the urgency of finding an immediate legislative solution for Dreamers…. The anxiety and uncertainty that Dreamers and their families face remain unabated.”

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Care for the Sick and Dying:  CA Program Spotlighted at Vatican Conference

The end of life’s journey can be many things.  It is often a time of sorrow but it is also a time to celebrate the passage of a loved one into eternal life and remember a life well lived.  Creating an environment where the ill and dying feel loved, worthy and cared for is the effort of a new initiative jointly developed by the Catholic Bishops of California and the state’s Catholic health care systems.

Known as the Whole Person Care Initiative, the partnership has already started building capacity among diocese, parishes and Catholic health care ministries by offering training, promoting successful ministries and raising the standards of palliative care in Catholic hospitals and health care ministries.  The Initiative will also encourage people to discuss their desires through the end of life before they are ill and promote a thorough understanding of Catholic teachings and traditions.

Watch a video explaining Whole Person Care

Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, Dr. Ira Byock, medical director of Providence St. Joseph’s Institute for Human Caring, and Lori Dangberg, the Alliance for Catholic Health Care are among the representatives in Rome this week participating in the Pontifical Academy of Life’s 2018 Palliative Care Congress.  As members of the group developing the Initiative, the three are explaining the concept to medical and other specialists from around the world. 

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Congress Set to Debate 2018 Farm Bill

“Hunger is criminal; nourishment is an inalienable right,” proclaims Pope Francis.  “It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world! It is not just a question of responding to immediate emergencies, but of addressing together, at all levels, a problem that challenges our personal and social conscience, in order to achieve a just and lasting solution.”

The U.S. Congress will be addressing the issue of hunger and more agricultural-related questions in the coming weeks as it works to pass the 2018 Farm Bill.  Originally developed during the Great Depression, the Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years and includes hundreds of programs from school nutrition and support for rural communities to international food aid and safety nets for the nation’s farmers.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in conjunction with Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Rural Life and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, has identified several key priorities in this year’s bill.

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Annual CRS Collection on March 11

The annual Catholic Relief Services Collection will be held in many dioceses across the country on Laetare Sunday, March 11.

The Catholic Relief Services Collection supports Catholic organizations that carry out international relief and solidarity efforts. Programs include relief and resettlement for victims of persecution, war, and natural disasters; development projects to improve living conditions for the poor; legal and support services for poor immigrants; peace and reconciliation work for people suffering from violence; and advocacy on behalf of the powerless.

"Christ is standing at the door of our hearts, knocking, seeking relief from pain and suffering around the world. He comes to us bearing the disguise of vulnerable immigrants and refugees, the poor and marginalized, the sick and lonely. 

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On the Web

Bill Seeking to Mandate Abortion Pill on College Campuses -Click here to voice your disapproval of SB 320 (Leyva, D-Chino), which would require public universities in California to offer abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486.

The bill also inappropriately requires the State Treasurer to accept donations and administer an abortion promotion fund.

Don’t let this bill get further than it already has. Click here now.

Online Tool for CalEITC Tax Credit - California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) could benefit many families this tax season. The CalEITC is a refundable state tax credit, modeled after the federal EITC, which boosts the incomes of low-earning workers and their families and helps them afford basic expenses. 

While parameters for qualification for the tax credit may seem daunting, there is an online tool available to help determine eligibility. For more information on this and the CalEITC, click here.


March 2, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 8

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