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Clergy Penitent Privilege: Help Inform Your Legislators

During the 2022-2024 legislative biennium session, legislators sought to ensure that all clergy members are mandatory reporters for reasonable suspicions of child abuse. The Senate passed bills that would have provided a limited exemption from the reporting requirement for clergy members receiving information in the purely religious setting of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or a similar situation for other denominations. House members objected to any exemption. No bills passed during the session.

The 2025 legislative session is likely to include similar efforts once again. The WSCC encourages Catholics to reach out to their Senators and Representatives during the summer months to discuss the importance of the penitential exemption for Catholic priests and laity. Now is a great time to talk to your elected officials! 

You can find a brief explanation of the issue and talking points here.  To find your legislators and their contact information, enter your address here. If you know who your legislators are, click for House and Senate to send an individual email. 

 Spotlight: The Common Good

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) publishes Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which speaks to our political responsibilities as Catholics. We are spotlighting various principles of this teaching document. This month’s topic is the common good. Learn more from this USCCB handout, and watch this brief video on the topic: Catholics Promote the Common Good.

Year-Round Advocacy

Each year, the state legislative session begins in January and concludes in March or April. It is important to be a Catholic voice both during and outside of the legislative session. We invite you to engage in year-round advocacy and to meet with your legislators outside of the legislative session. The months between sessions provide opportunities to engage with the representatives in your district without the session's time pressures. Click here to read more about how to engage in year-round advocacy. 

Guidelines for Parishes and Agencies on Political Activity 

Parishes are encouraged to discuss public policy issues. However, the Church does not endorse candidates nor political parties. The WSCC highly encourages advocacy, but some nuances may be confusing. As we are called to faithful citizenship, please consult the WSCC’s “Guidelines for Parishes and Agencies on Political Activity” to determine what activities may occur at your parish. The WSCC can be reached at to provide further guidance.   

Good News from Around the State:

Catholic Healthcare

Left: News, Inclusive Health (SOW Photo),, Center: Emergency Department Expansion (PeaceHealth photo),, Right: Annual Report to Our Communities (Providence photo)

Catholic health care is unique, serving individuals and families as a continuation of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. A few highlights demonstrating the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their work:

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health: Special Olympics Washington announced a new initiative, “Alliance for Inclusive Health,” designed to provide people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in Washington state greater access to inclusive health care. Led by charter member Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH), the Alliance for Inclusive Health will bring together a statewide coalition of health and wellness organizations who are aligned with the vision of health equity for all.   

As the first alliance partner, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health will kick off its support by hosting inclusive health trainings for its workforce and staffing health screenings for individuals with IDD. VMFH will also lead key efforts within the Alliance to support health equity for all, including engaging more partners to help close the significant knowledge gap in treating people with IDD. Source:

PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth will open its new Southwest emergency department July 16. The LEED Certified facility will double the size of the current Emergency Department that currently experiences nearly 77,000 patient visits annually. It is considered the busiest Emergency Department on the West Coast and serves as the only Level II trauma center in the Southwest Washington region overseeing trauma care for six counties. It will also be home to the Community Health Hub (CHH), a unique, first-of-its-kind model of care that will provide non-medical care to Emergency Department patients experiencing behavioral health issues, addiction, homelessness, food insecurity and domestic violence. Source:

Providence: During 2023, Providence ministries and affiliates invested $885 million in community benefit across Washington. For example, Providence Inland Northwest Washington’s Family Promise focuses on comprehensive solutions for housing families. Providence's $150,000 community benefit investment in 2023 helped the organization fund homelessness prevention, emergency housing and long-term stabilization services in Spokane.

Since 2020, Providence Swedish’s Cultural Navigation Program has focused on access to care for underserved communities. In 2023 alone, the program served more than 955 patients with identified language or cultural barriers; co-hosted five mobile mammogram events; served more than 1,100 neighbors at community events; and attended more than 35 community health events to support vaccination and screening efforts. Source:

Upcoming Events

The Hispanic Ministry of the Archdiocese of Seattle, in collaboration with the ecclesial movements present in our archdiocese, cordially invite you to the celebration of the twenty-seventh Camp for Families 2024. Camp will be conducted in Spanish.

Learn more and register here

July 14 is the Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, a saint with a unique connection to Washington state.  As reported in NorthWest Catholic, "St. Kateri’s connection to the Archdiocese of Seattle is through the miracle that was needed to elevate her to sainthood in 2012 — the 2006 healing of 6-year-old Jake Finkbonner of Ferndale, a Lummi descendant, from flesh-eating bacteria that doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital thought would claim his life." 

Join us in a prayer by Harold Caldwell from the Tekakwitha Conference:


O Saint Kateri, Lily of the Mohawks,
Your love for Jesus, 
so strong, so steadfast, 
pray that we may become like you.

Your short and painful life 
showed us your strength and humility.
Pray that we may become 
forever humble like you.
Like the bright and shining stars at night,
we pray that your light
may forever shine down upon us,
giving light, hope, peacefulness
and serenity in our darkest moments.  
Fill our hearts, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
with your same love for Jesus
and pray that we may have the strength and courage
to become one like you in Heaven.  
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

WSCC staff

We invite you to contact us at any time.

Jean Welch Hill, Executive Director                               

Tracey Wilson Yackley, Operations Manager


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