In May we witnessed mass shootings in a school in Ulvade, a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, and a church in Laguna Woods. Pope Francis and national and local Catholic leaders call for action and prayer. Click on the following for messages from Pope Francis, Archbishop Paul Etienne, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Miller of the Diocese of San Antonio, and the USCCB.
Use this Action Alert to urge Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and your US representative to strengthen the Child Tax Credit. Last year 36 million families received a monthly payment through an expanded Child Tax Credit program, reducing child poverty by close to 30%. However, the program expired at the end of the 2021. In this letter to Congress, USCCB bishops outlined recommendations for improving the Child Tax Credit so that low-income families can fully qualify for benefits. As inflation continues to impact the economy, relief for families is needed now more than ever.
In December the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, and a decision is expected this month. The Supreme Court will have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to determine their own laws on abortion and protecting the unborn. In response to the leak of a draft opinion of Dobbs, the USCCB released this statement calling for prayer and emphasizing that the Church will "stand ready to help all pregnant women in need in each of our communities." Click here for additional background on the Dobbs case. Prayer resources for individual and parish ministry use may be accessed at PrayforDobbs.com.
In anticipation of the Dobbs decision, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued this statement in March affirming the Church's commitment to serving vulnerable populations, including mothers and children in need. The bishops urge dioceses, parishes, and Catholic agencies and institutions to redouble efforts to accompany women and couples facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies. Be sure to read the statement for more on how the Church and the faithful are called to serve women and families.
In Washington we can particularly heed this call to serve by participating in and contributing to the Pregnancy and Parent Support Program, or PREPARES. This program provides meaningful, local, sustainable support to mothers, fathers, and families as they nurture their children. As we await the Dobbs decision, now is the time to join or start this ministry at your parish.
If Roe is overturned, abortion will remain legal in Washington due to state law. Abortion was legalized in Washington in 1970, prior to the Roe decision. Additionally, HB 1851, a bill affirming access to abortion, was passed into law earlier this year. The new law also expanded who may perform abortions. A physician is no longer necessary to perform an abortion; physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other health care providers are now also authorized to perform the procedure. The WSCC opposed HB 1851.
Juneteenth commemorates the abolition of slavery and recognizes the contributions of Black/African Americans. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation. On this date, word reached Galveston, Texas that the Civil War had ended, and enslaved people were freed. In April 2021 the Washington state legislature passed House Bill 1016 (HB 1016), designating Juneteenth as a holiday, and this is the first year the date will officially be recognized as a state holiday. In accordance with the bishops' racial justice legislative priority, the WSCC supported HB 1016. In June 2021 President Biden also signed a law recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
June 20 marks World Refugee Day. Visit the USCCB's Justice For Immigrantswebsite to learn more aboutCatholic Social Teaching on migration and the Church's work to advocate for immigrants. Catholic Relief Servicesalso provides information on World Refugee Day and how the faithful can help refugees. Additionally, the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be occurring on September 25, and Pope Francis' message to mark the day, "Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees," may be found here.
Religious Freedom Week begins June 22, and this year's theme is "Life and Dignity for All." Religious freedom issues can range from the freedom to serve women facing unexpected pregnancies to worshipping in countries where Christianity is under attack to the freedom to aid refugees and immigrants, regardless of their status. Visit the USCCB's Religious Freedom Week webpage to learn more about how we can pray, reflect, and act for religious freedom. The USCCB also invites you to sign up for their monthly Religious Freedom Newsletter.