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Insights: National Marriage Week; Lenten Resources Available

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February 9, 2018

2018 National Marriage Week

National Marriage Week 2018 will be celebrated February 7 through the 14 in a variety of ways including a seven-day virtual retreat.

The annual observance of National Marriage Week in the United States encourages a conversation on how strong marriages promote and sustain strong societies by curtailing poverty and benefiting children.

The website for National Marriage Week offers helpful ideas for building up your own marriage, recommended readings, supporting marriage in the community and much more. There are daily marriage tips to inspire and encourage the strengthening of relationships, as well as the brand new podcast series “Made for Love” at the USCCB Marriage Unique for a Reason. You can even enter the online contest on the For Your Marriage Facebook page.

There are more resources on the USCCB National Marriage Week page, including a preaching resource for clergy and a bulletin insert for your parish. There are resources for married couples as well as dating and engaged alike.

For more information, visit


We Can Help Every Child Get a Strong Start by Exercising Their Brain

There are major learning gaps in California schools that have not closed significantly in over a decade.

Really well-meaning and good-hearted people have been trying hard to close those gaps in all of those settings, and they have failed.

Current evidence reveals why they have failed. Powerful and useful new brain science now teaches us we need to make children ready and able to learn at fifteen months, rather than fifteen years.

New science from Harvard, UCLA, Columbia, and other research organizations tells us the first three years of life are when billions of neurons connect in each child’s brain — and well-exercised brains in those first months and years become stronger.

Physical exercise builds strong bodies. Brain exercise builds strong brains.

Parents need to know the specific brain exercise each child needs. Simply talking directly to children in those first months and years connects billions of neurons in the brain. 

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Physician-Assisted Suicide Paradox: Focus Not On Patient Care

At the core of the push to legalize physician-assisted suicide is a fundamental misunderstanding about treatment timeliness and options as well as the dignity of patients, according to Dr. Ira Byock, a palliative care physician and chief medical officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health based in Torrance, Calif. 

In an opinion piece featured in Stat News, Dr. Byock writes, “It’s easy to understand how people in such situations would want to be freed from such anguish. Yet so much of that kind of suffering could have been avoided with good care.”

Dr. Byock identifies the disconnect physicians are creating when end-of-life options are on the table. Instead of creating treatment plans that favor life-giving care and palliative options, doctors are overlooking how we can die with dignity and compassion.

Read the article here.


Bishop Soto: Mass of Reparation Homily

Bishop Jaime Soto, from the Diocese of Sacramento and president of the California Catholic Conference, delivered this homily during the Mass of Reparation on January 22, 2018, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:

Many women across the country are expressing their anger and frustration after years of enduring silently the humiliating abuse and harassment of men in power.  From the centers of power and influence in California – Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Sacramento – women’s voices are being raised to denounce a culture of domination and degradation that has wounded and embittered them for years.

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Create Fruitful Lenten Season with Resources Available Online

The 2018 Lenten season begins February 14 and continues through Easter Sunday on April 1.

The USCCB has published a variety of resources to assist in a fruitful observance of Lent, when Catholics are called to recognize the link to baptismal renewal. All are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but also to true conversion of hearts and minds as followers of Christ.

There are prayers, videos and other guides to help all no matter what their current state of faith. Visit the USCCB to "raise up," "sacrifice," and "offer" during this Lent and to embrace your baptismal commitment.


Next Week Is Earned Income Tax Credit Week

California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Week runs from Monday, Feb. 12 to Friday, Feb. 16 this year. The EITC is an effective tax credit tool used to pull families and children out of poverty. Click here for more information and to see if you qualify for EITC this tax season. 

There will be no issue of Public Policy Insights next week in observance of the President’s Day holiday.

February 9, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 6

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