You are on page 1of 7

Quarterly Newsletter – summer 2012

The Catholics Confront Global Poverty quarterly newsletter strives to provide you with concise updates and easily accessible resources to strengthen your grasp of global poverty issues. We hope this newsletter is helpful for you as you continue to advocate with and on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are poor and marginalized.

Caring for the Earth Helps Confront Global Poverty
Climate change takes a toll on weather patterns, sea levels, growing seasons and cycles of flooding and drought. It has also has an impact on the Catholic Church’s work. For Catholic Relief Services, responding to climate change means helping vulnerable communities adapt to its effects and decrease its impact. In the United States that means helping Catholics to understand how recognizing the sources of climate change in their own lives is a matter of faith and a call to action. The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, a CRS partner, provides dioceses and parishes in the U.S. with the resources they need to make that connection and make a difference. The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change receives the support of 27 national Catholic organizations, including CRS and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Its key initiative, the Catholic Climate Covenant, calls upon Catholics to pledge to take action in their families, parishes, schools and communities to “reduce our carbon footprint, care for “the least of these” (Mt 25) and raise our voice on behalf of Creation and the poor.” Participants can officially take the pledge on the climate covenant website (http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/). There they can also find resources for how they can pray, learn, assess their impact on the climate, act to make local changes and advocate for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions. The Catholic Church has been a strong voice in advocating for policies that protect the poor from climate change, and in leading by example, said executive director Dan Misleh. “The Vatican is one of the first carbon neutral nations in the world,” he said. “The pope has said a lot about the environment and climate change.” But addressing climate change has a local component as well. “How about we save money?” Misleh said. From small changes such as turning off lights, to adding energy efficient insulation to putting in energy efficient boilers, all can help a church become more energy efficient and cut costs in the long run.

“The parishes like to see their energy costs go down,” he said. “As you do that you make it a teachable moment. Part of Catholic teaching is caring for God’s creation. There’s a connection to the rest of the world.” And that teachable moment can help Catholics in the U.S. deepen their solidarity with people in poverty. Addressing climate change has been one of the key goals of the Catholics Confront Global Poverty Initiative. The Coalition on Climate Change has helped develop a toolkit for Catholic colleges and Universities to use to implement policies around sustainability (http://newswire.crs.org/national-groups-promote-environmental-sustainability-in-catholiccolleges/). No matter whether you are a concerned individual or are ministering to a parish, school, diocese or university, the coalition website has resources to help people wake up to the threat of climate change on God’s creation.

Caption: Colombian coffee farmer Mariola Cifuentes received new coffee plants through CRS’ three-year CAFE Livelihoods project, which is helping more than 7,000 farmers in Latin America improve their income through coffee production. One element of the program is to mitigate the effects of climate change on coffee production.

Sun, Summer and Social Change
If things slow down in summer, why does it go by so fast? While you’re taking a break from school or a vacation from work, remember that social change doesn’t take a holiday. Although summer legislative work on reducing poverty will likely slow down as Congress turns its focus to the 2012 congressional and presidential elections, summer is a great time to learn more about global poverty issues by visiting www.crs.org or (add link to CCGP) and by bolstering legislative networks in your faith community. One simple way to spread the word is to create a list of

friends, family and colleagues to whom you can forward action alerts from the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative. If you are not already a member, sign up now.

Raise Your Voice! Take Action using our latest Action Alerts:
 Tell Your Representative to Protect Food for the Hungry! Urge Your Representative to Oppose Any Amendments to Cut Food Assistance in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill!  Tell Congress, Careless Cuts Cost Lives! Continue to raise your voice and take action today to ensure that povertyfocused international assistance that is saving and changing lives for millions of our brothers and sisters is protected in the fiscal year 2013 federal budget.

Urge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stand with the Sudanese people.

Take action for peace in Sudan and South Sudan now!

Advocacy Accomplishments: Celebrating Your Advocacy Efforts!  Your voice was heard in Congress: Careless cuts to poverty-focused
international assistance cost lives! This summer, Congress continues to make
important decisions about how much funding to make available for programs that are saving and changing lives around the world. The House and Senate Appropriations committees each passed their versions of this budget in May. Thanks to you and thousands of other Catholics throughout the country, poverty-focused international assistance supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops and Catholic Relief Services was spared from drastic cuts. In fact, the Senate slightly increased funding for the accounts we prioritize. Congratulations! While we’re encouraged by this small victory, the legislative process continues and so does our work. Your advocacy efforts are needed this summer to support the tiny portion of the budget that saves millions of lives globally by providing food to the hungry, shelter to refugees, helping small farmers grow more crops, and educating children. Please contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to support poverty-focused international assistance in the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills at the Senate levels. While it is unclear exactly when the bill will be finalized due to the upcoming Presidential election, ongoing calls and letters from you will continue to solidify support for these poverty-focused humanitarian and development accounts.  You protected food for the hungry in the first stages of the 2012 Farm Bill! Thanks to you raising your voice earlier this spring, the Senate passed a Farm Bill that includes some important provisions that will help maintain our nation’s leadership role in the world to confront global hunger. While every single provision we sought was not ultimately included in the Farm Bill, with your help, we raised the profile of our concerns and ensured that our elected officials heard our position based on our faith’s teachings. Some of the important improvements regarding global hunger that were included in the Senate-passed Farm Bill are:

 

Increased resources to purchase food closer to hunger-affected communities rather than shipping it from far away; Increased cash resources to support long-term development food assistance programs (also known as "safe box" programs) such as providing meals at school to boost enrollment thus creating greater efficiency and flexibility to meet the needs of those who are hungry; and A step in the right direction towards increased funding dedicated to nonemergency programs that address persistent hunger, also known as the safe box. This amendment, introduced by Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and adopted in the final bill, improved the funding prospects for the safe box programs, but did not solve overall underfunding in the Senate bill.

For a review of how the domestic nutrition and environmental issues that our Church community advocated for fared in the Senate Farm Bill, click here.

 Find out more about how CRS is responding to the ongoing crisis in the Sahel Region of West Africa, thanks to your efforts!

Advocate Spotlight: Making the connections between Advocacy and Fair Trade
In this edition, we’d like to highlight the efforts of Tom Ruggaber from St. Michael Parish in Wheaton, Illinois. Tom is a CRS Fair Trade Ambassador and a member of the Joliet Diocese Social Justice Coalition, where he serves on the leadership team. He is always looking for new opportunities to educate fellow community members about CRS Fair Trade and Catholics Confront Global Poverty. One way Tom is able to share his passion for fair trade and advocacy is by offering presentations on the subjects to various groups within the diocese, including colleges and high schools. A best practice that has served Tom well in his outreach efforts is to encourage those who attend his presentations to sign up to become a part of Catholics Confront Global Poverty. By signing up to become a part of a legislative network, people are given an opportunity to use their voice to advocate with and on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are poor and marginalized. Tom cherishes his family and his relationship with God. He lives in Wheaton with his wife, has four children, and twelve grandchildren – with a thirteenth grandchild on the way! He enjoys reading and traveling – and especially enjoys reading about the places where he has had the opportunity to travel, including recent trips to England and Israel. The Joliet Diocese Social Justice Coalition seeks to create a network among parish representatives who have an interest in working to raise awareness, and in taking action to create a just world locally, nationally, and internationally. Thank you, Tom and Coalition members for all of the great work you’re doing!

In the Know - Upcoming Issues and Events:
 Webcasts offer a primer in global issues and are a great training tool! CCGP webcasts provide first-hand information from CRS and USCCB advocacy experts on poverty issues and strategies to address them. Consider gathering a group or listen privately.

 Mark your calendar for upcoming webcasts! Registration information can be found on our webcasts page, or through email invitation, so watch your inbox.    Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Confronting Global Poverty as Faithful Citizens Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Faithful Citizenship Beyond the Election Wednesday, October 17, 2012 Pursuing Peace and Stability for the People of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Do you know a young adult making a difference? If so, nominate them for the the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, which is given annually to a Catholic young adult (age 18-30) engaged in efforts to end the root causes of poverty in the United States. We need your help identifying deserving young adults! Nominate young persons from your diocese by July 31, and get the word out about the award to other potential nominators. Access the nomination form here.

 Join the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops for a special webinar on the Two Feet of Love in Action on September 20, 2012 – register now.
 A Special Way to Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis on October 4, 2012! The coalition is encouraging Catholics to show and view the movie, Sun Come Up, which explores how inhabitants of the remote South Pacific Carteret Islands seek a new home when their island is threatened by sea rise from climate change. A Catholic parish in Bougainville takes them in. Learn more about the movie, which will also show on HBO Oct. 12, at http://www.suncomeup.com/film/Home.html.  Your Catholics Confront Global Poverty team is launching a new website at the

end of the summer! Check it out and let us know what you think.

Tools YOU Can Use:
 Check out previously aired webcasts from May and June 2012 - once aired, you can access these recorded sessions again and again. Use these spring sessions to help inform your summer advocacy efforts:  Is Peace Still Possible One Year Later: Commemorating the Anniversary of South Sudan’s Independence. The live web chat first aired on July 11, 2012.  Access the transcript of the web chat.  Presenters: : Alfred Okech (CRS South Sudan), Chris Wake (CRS South Sudan), Dan Griffin (CRS), Kathleen Kahlau (CRS), and Dr. Stephen Colecchi (USCCB)

 When I Was Sick, You Cared for Me: Protecting Life-Saving Treatment in the Federal Budget first aired on June 20, 2012.  Watch a recording of this webcast  Download a copy of the presentation  Presenters: Virginia Farris (USCCB) and Michele Broemmelsiek and Kathleen Kahlau (CRS)  Careless Cuts Cost Lives: How You Can Prevent Drastic Cuts in the Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Budget first aired on May 23, 2012.  Listen to a recording of the session through your telephone tollfree. Call 1-888-203-1112 and enter access code 75816025#.  Download a copy of the presentation used as a complement to the discussion.  Presenters: Steve Hilbert (USCCB) and Jean-Marie Adrian, Jill Marie Gerschutz Bell and Paul Miller (CRS)  Reauthorizing the Farm Bill: What You Can Do to Prevent Hunger first aired on May 2, 2012.  Watch a recording of this webcast.  Listen to the recording through your telephone toll-free. Call 1888-203-1112 and enter access code 71474432. Please note that the line will be silent for a minute or two, but then the session will begin.  Download a copy of the presentation.  Presenters: Jim Ennis (National Catholic Rural Life Conference), Ron Jackson (Catholic Charities USA), Anthony Granado (USCCB) and Emily Wei and Eric Garduno (CRS)  Subject the rhetoric of the upcoming national elections to the critical lens of Catholic Social Teaching by studying Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States. This document helps Catholics apply the church’s teaching to the issues that are discussed in campaigns and debates. The document can be downloaded from the USCCB website, where you can also find additional resources for education and prayer.  August is the perfect time to visit your elected officials since they’ll be home on recess and likely hosting Town Hall meetings. You can find out more about your elected officials’ schedules by visiting their websites, or visiting the House of Representatives and the Senate websites.  Relax this summer and watch a few videos online! These Online Videos tell the story of how your efforts are making a difference throughout the world!  Cholera in Haiti: Watch this video to learn about Haiti’s problems with cholera and what CRS has been doing to help. (http://newswire.crs.org/cholera-in-haiti/)

 Laptops for Cassava disease: Check out this video to discover how laptops provided by CRS have helped farmers in sub-Saharan Africa protect their cassava plants (a primary food staple in the region). (http://newswire.crs.org/how-can-a-laptop-save-an-essential-africancrop/)  Gaza Grads: This video describes some CRS projects designed to help college graduates in the Gaza strip find jobs, including through a professional internship program. (http://newswire.crs.org/how-is-crshelping-to-nurture-the-next-generation-in-gaza/)  Stay Connected! You can email your Catholics Confront Global Poverty team at globalpoverty@crs.org . We welcome your feedback and suggestions!  Stay tuned - the next edition of the newsletter is scheduled to come out in October 2012.  Take us with you on the go! Follow us on the following the sites:     USCCB Twitter CRS Twitter USCCB Facebook CRS Facebook