Skip to main content

Insights: Dr. King, Mercy and Referendum

Printer-friendly version
November 13, 2015

Dreams that Lead to Action – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important African-American leaders in U.S. history and one of the iconic figures of the civil rights movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s.  King's fight against discrimination and segregation changed American history and gave hope to millions.

One of the most inspiring moments of King's life was the August 28, 1963, March on Washington, and his "I Have a Dream" speech, where he stated, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Read the Entire Series on the Americans
Highlighted by Pope Francis in his Address to Congress

Pope Francis noted the importance of King's dream, one that continues to inspire Americans and people from around the world to this day:

"Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans.  That dream continues to inspire us all.  I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”.  Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment.  Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

Continue Reading

Referendum Seeks to Overturn Assisted-Suicide Law

Many parishes in California over the next few weeks will see volunteers gathering signatures for a referendum to overturn the new physician-assisted suicide law signed by Gov. Brown last month.

The new law – which the Bishops of California have called a “travesty of compassion” – fundamentally changes the physician-patient relationship.   It is especially dangerous for the most vulnerable members of society.  (See complete coverage here.) 

The effort to legalize a doctor writing prescriptions for a lethal dose of drugs highlights the “throw-away culture” Pope Francis has warned us against.  In speaking to doctors last year, His Holiness spoke clearly of the dangers of such a policy:

“The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a "false compassion", that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to "produce" a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others.”  

Other initiatives of particular interest to Catholics are also circulating but they have more time to gather signatures. Information on some other efforts will be available in the coming weeks.

For information on referendum signature gathering efforts in your community, contact your diocesan respect life or social action director.

Send Us Your Stories of Mercy

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will commence on December 8, 2015 and conclude on November 20, 2016. The Jubilee gives all of us a chance to explore what mercy means and how we can be more merciful like the Father (Luke 6:36).

By performing works of mercy, we help alleviate human misery including suffering in poverty, spiritual desolation, loneliness, oppression, physical and psychological illness and emotional distress.  Misery does not discriminate – it afflicts all at some point, the choice is ours on how we improve our situation.

Everyone is able to perform the works of mercy. It is the everyday deeds one performs- taking care of children, teaching adults and children about faith, caring for an elderly parent or visiting a sick friend in the hospital. If done in the name of Jesus, these are all true works of mercy.

The Conference would like to highlight the mercy that takes place all around us. During the next year, we are asking our members to submit stories about the mercy they witness in their churches and communities.  Give us a heads up on the extraordinary works of mercy that occur every day in your parish and your communities. Please submit your story to


Family as “First Church” – Parents of Saint, Named Saints

On Oct. 18, Pope Francis canonized Louis and Zélie Martin, the first married couple to be jointly elevated to sainthood.  While they are best known as the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Louis and Zélie lived such simple, humble, and holy lives that the Church has recognized that they, like their daughter, are outstanding examples of heroic virtue.

Providentially, their canonization took place during the recently-concluded Synod of Bishops on “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”.  During the synod, the fundamental importance of marriage was affirmed, and the canonization of Louis and Zélie Martin presented Catholics, especially married Catholics, with a truly saintly ideal of marriage and parenthood.

The French couple met in Alencon and were married in 1858, following a three-month courtship.  For the first ten months of their marriage, they lived a celibate married life.  However, after spiritual direction the couple decided to raise children for the glory of God.  Zélie subsequently gave birth to nine children (all girls), but four of their daughters died in infancy. 

                                                                                                                                                                        Continue Reading

On the Web

Thanksgiving Days is a parish resource guide to help examine the experiences, challenges and hope of our immigrants.  The program is designed to be used during the Feast of Christ the King liturgies and afterward in the homes of parishioners. 

Thanksgiving Days encourages pastors to invite immigrants to share their stories with the congregation, offers sample Prayers of the Faithful and suggests ways to involve young people in Thanksgiving celebrations.  The material is available in English and Spanish.

Chaplaincy in State Prisons - The California Catholic Conference is seeking a specialist to work with dioceses in California to educate, train, certify, support and network the next generation of chaplains working in the state’s correctional institutions.  In the years ahead, chaplains will largely be lay men and women who are called to the restorative justice ministry and will need  professional development and formation.  

The two-year contract position will work with dioceses to develop individualized pastoral plans for assessing needs, evaluating and supporting new and current chaplains. 

See the job description here.  Interested individuals should contact Debbie Mc Dermott at

November 13, 2015
Vol. 8, No. 39

En Español