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Insights: Catholic Social Ministry Gathering and March for Life; Serving Moms in Need

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January 24, 2020

Catholic Social Ministry Gathering and March for Life in D.C.

Catholics from around the nation are gathering in Washington, D.C. over the few days to take part in the March for Life 2020 and advocate for Catholic values as part of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) 2020.

This year’s theme for the March for Life is “Life Empowers.” The three-day event began on Thursday and includes an expo, conferences, concert, youth rally, and a dinner in addition to the march starting at the National Mall and continuing up Constitution Ave.

This year’s theme for the CSMG is “Bearing Witness: Life and Justice for All.” Our faith calls us all to bear witness, to work for justice, promote healing and restoration, defend human life and dignity, and work for the common good of civil society. Participants will be meeting with Senators and members of Congress early next week to discuss issues including gun violence, Deferred Action Childhood Action (DACA), humanitarian assistance, social assistance programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). There are 37 California delegates attending.

The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is an annual major gathering organized by the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in collaboration with 10 other USCCB departments and 16 national Catholic organizations. This central gathering of Catholic social ministry leaders in the U.S. annually brings together hundreds of participants whose faith inspires them to respond to pressing current domestic and global challenges.

The Gathering will also be an important collaborative opportunity to bring together colleagues from around the country who work on issues impacting life and human dignity.


USCCB Asks Faithful to Serve Moms in Need on Anniversary of Roe V. Wade

This past Wednesday was the 47th anniversary of Roe V. Wade – the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states. January 22 was also the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.

To mark the day, President Trump signed a proclamation declaring January 22 National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2020.

“Every person -- the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly -- has inherent value.,” President Trump stated in the signed proclamation on Monday. “Although each journey is different, no life is without worth or is inconsequential; the rights of all people must be defended.”

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, USCCB Chairman of the Committee of Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement regarding the anniversary and laid nationwide plans to effectively reach expectant mothers in each community:

“January 22 marks the sorrowful anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. The Church will never abandon her efforts to reverse these terrible decisions that have led to the deaths of millions of innocent children and the traumatization of countless women and families. 

“As the Church and growing numbers of pro-life Americans continue to advocate for women and children in courthouses and legislatures, the Church’s pastoral response is focused on the needs of women facing pregnancies in challenging circumstances. While this has long been the case, the pastoral response will soon intensify.



San Bernardino Diocese Takes Part in Violence Prevention Program

The Diocese of San Bernardino has joined the City of San Bernardino’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP) to support those at the highest risk of falling into crime, and to reduce homicides and non-fatal injury shootings citywide.

To do this, the SBPD analyzes high crime areas of the city and develops an appropriate response of communication, intervention, and enforcement. The goal is to identify those most at risk of committing violent crime and offer them a better path.

“Collaboration is the key to our success and that’s what VIP is all about,” said Fr. Leonard Pasquale, pastor at St. Bernardine Catholic Church. “City leaders, nonprofits, police and the faith community all have a part. It will take all of us working together to turn this tide of violence and install hope for the youth and future of our city.”

Activities for those that would like to participate include in monthly peace walks, VIP Information Night, attend City Council Meetings, write letters to elected officials, and joining local prayer groups.

“Our faith traditions teach us that all life is sacred and that we have a responsibility as a community to work for peace,” said Diocese of San Bernardino Bishop Gerald R. Barnes. “Let us go forth together as people of faith and bring hope to our community of San Bernardino because losing even one previous life is too many.”

View a video on the program here.


Blaine Amendments Taken Up in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in the case of Espinoza v. Montana on Wednesday.

Kendra Espinoza is a single mother who had been working three jobs to send her daughters to a private religious school but the state of Montana denied her daughters a scholarship available to all others because the funds would be used for a private religious education.

The State cited the “Blaine Amendment,” a provision held by 38 states that prevent public funds from being controlled by a religious entity.

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, have issued a statement:

“The case before the Supreme Court today concerns whether the Constitution offers states a license to discriminate against religion. Our country’s tradition of non-establishment of religion does not mean that governments can deny otherwise available benefits on the basis of religious status. Indeed, religious persons and organizations should, like everyone else, be allowed to participate in government programs that are open to all. This is an issue of justice for people of all faith communities.

Read more at or view our previous article here.


January 24, 2020
Vol. 13, No. 3