Inside this issue
  Tuition Equity for Children of Immigrants Becomes Law  
  On Monday, June 9, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 851 into law. Passed by the Florida legislature during their spring session, the new law allows all students who meet certain residency and graduation requirements, including the children of undocumented immigrants, to qualify for in-state tuition at Florida public colleges and universities. The measure also expands tuition waiver benefits for recipients of a Purple Heart or other combat decorations. In addition, it restricts automatic increases in tuition and fees for state universities.

Podcast: Ingrid Delgado, FCCB associate for social concerns/respect life, speaks about the bill and advocacy efforts in an interview by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).

Comprehensive Immigration Reform
At the federal level, the bishops continue to support improvements in U.S. immigration laws. On May 21, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice contacted Florida members of the U.S. House of Representatives to urge their support of just immigration reform that advances both the rights of peoples to migrate and sovereign nations to control their borders. The correspondence calls for reform that provides:
  • A path to legalization for those currently present in the United States in undocumented status.
  • Increased fair and transparent worker visa programs for low-wage immigrants.
  • Adjustment to legal status for DREAMers, who have spent most of their young lives in the United States and whose decision to enter the country was made for them by their parents.
  • Expanded family reunification visas.
  • Reasonable, enhanced interior enforcement and border protection.
Similar to the April 1 Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border, members of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration, celebrated a Mass for immigrants and their families on May 29 at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill. Following the Mass, principal celebrant Archbishop Wenski and bishop concelebrants participated in a press conference and visited several members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Calling our current immigration system "a stain on the soul of our nation," Archbishop Wenski spoke fervently in favor of a "humane" system and urged the House to take immediate action on immigration reform legislation already passed by the U.S. Senate.

National Call-in Days for Immigration Reform
Thank you to all FLCAN subscribers who participated in the National Call-In Day for Immigration Reform on May 29. An additional call-in day will be held Friday, June 13. Please call the toll-free number 1-855-589-5698 and ask your member of Congress to "move immigration reform to the House floor."


  Bishops Maintain Marriage is Between One Man and One Woman  
  On May 12, 2014, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, on behalf of the bishops of Florida, filed a legal brief to defend marriage as defined in Florida's Constitution:

Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

"Marriage is the lifelong commitment of exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman which helps to assure that children arising out of that relationship will be cared for by their biological parents," states the brief. "Because of their sexual difference, only the union of a man and woman can create new life. Sexual relations between two men or two women, on the other hand, can never be life-creating. No matter how powerful reproductive technology becomes, the fact will always remain that two persons of the same sex can never become biological parents through each other."

National March for Marriage
Marriage: Unique for a Reason, an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is one of several sponsors of the June 19 March for Marriage in Washington, DC. In addition to the march itself, which begins near the Capitol and ends at the U.S. Supreme Court, the event will include music and speakers. For those unable to be in our nation's capital, there is a virtual march available. For more information, see


  Governor Scott Urged to Commute Death Sentence  
  The Florida Catholic Conference appeals to Governor Rick Scott to commute the sentence of John Henry to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Mr. Henry is scheduled to be executed at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, for the 1985 murders of his estranged wife, Suzanne Henry, and her son Eugene Christian. We join in prayer for them.

The Conference acknowledges the severity of the crimes for which Mr. Henry has been found guilty; however, taking his life is unnecessary and promotes revenge under the guise of justice. A life sentence without possibility of parole punishes the offender, allows for both repentance and forgiveness, and acknowledges that all human life is sacred. So long as society can be protected, a sentence of life, rather than a sentence of death, is the proper course of action.

Pope Francis reminds us of the capacity of people to repent and the need to rely on God's merciful judgment rather than on the human desire for revenge. The Holy Father stated in his 2014 World Day of Peace message, "...human beings can experience conversion; they must never despair of being able to change their lives. I wish this to be a message of hope and confidence for all, even for those who have committed brutal crimes, for God does not wish the death of the sinner, but that he converts and lives" (cf. Ezekiel 18:23).

Community Called to Pray
Catholic faithful and members of the community are invited to gather in solidarity to pray for the victims of violent crimes and their families, for persons on death row awaiting execution, and for the end to the use of the death penalty. Click here for a list of prayer services in Florida's dioceses.


  Catholics Celebrate Annual Fortnight for Freedom  
  June 21 begins the third annual Fortnight for Freedom. This year's campaign revolves around the theme Freedom to Serve and focuses on the Church's imperative that her members help the poor and vulnerable, even when faced with persecution and other challenges of the world. 

A special Mass opening this national celebration will be held in Baltimore (June 21), with a  closing Mass taking place in Washington, DC (July 4). Both Masses will be televised nationwide on EWTN. 

For resources and more information visit: Check with your parish and/or diocese for local events.


June 12, 2014

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Words of Wisdom

"Fraternal relations between people, and cooperation in building a more just society--these are not an idealistic dream, but the fruit of a concerted effort on the part of all, in service of the common good. I encourage you in this commitment to the common good, a commitment which demands of everyone wisdom, prudence and generosity."

Pope Francis
July 27, 2013
Rio de Janeiro

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