July 21, 2021
Mindful that our brothers and sisters in nearby Haiti and Cuba are experiencing uncertainty and unrest, we begin this alert with Pope John Paul II’s prayer for peace:
Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, who are Yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, “Peace to you” – please grant us peace.
Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace. Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.
May all peoples on the earth become as brothers and sisters.

May longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all. Amen.
Mobilization around Hyde and Weldon Amendments

Advocates, including the US Catholic Bishops, Catholic Health Association, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic legislators, are urging Congressional leaders to retain the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment, which the House Appropriations Committee has removed during the appropriations process. The former prohibits the use of federal funds from certain departments to be applied toward the cost of some abortions, while the latter allows medical professionals who morally object to providing abortion services to refrain from participating. 

Prior to the mark-up last week, two USCCB committee chairmen, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, wrote a joint statement imploring the House Committee on Appropriations to change course. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking people to sign a petition opposing the proposed change.  
The CEOs of Catholic Health Association of the United States and Catholic Charities USA also authored a joint letter on July 14 urging specific measures to support low-income Americans while also stating clearly, “Catholic health and social service organizations represent one of the oldest and largest traditions of voluntary public service in our nation. We, as well as other faith-based providers, should continue to be afforded adequate legal protections to ensure we can continue to provide care and service that are not contrary to our fundamental moral values. We urge you to include the Hyde and Weldon Amendments, which provide critical protections, in the final legislation.”  
Surprise court ruling on DACA demonstrates need for Congressional action for Dreamers
In a stunning development on Friday afternoon, a U.S. district court in Texas ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unlawful.
President Biden’s response called on Congress to act for a long term legislative solution. These words were echoed by USCCB migration committee chairman Bishop Mario Dorsonville, who noted, “This ruling is simply the most recent development in a long list of events warranting action by Congress. The Senate currently has multiple bills before it that would grant permanent relief to Dreamers, including the American Dream and Promise Act passed by the House of Representatives in March.”
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) reports the following in the wake of the decision: “Current DACA recipients may keep their deferred action and work authorization. Current DACA recipients and those who have been granted DACA in the past may continue to renew.”

Vatican News also reported on the ruling.
The most urgent practical impact will be felt by new applicants. However, the psychological toll of the constant litigation is felt by current recipients and their families who have lived with tenuous provisions for work authorization and stays of deportation for nearly a decade. 
Clergy support laborers and discuss the possibilities of the PRO Act

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act proposes strengthening federal laws that govern how workers can mobilize collectively for their own safety and benefit. According to the Catholic Labor Network, the Interreligious Network for Worker Solidarity recently gathered signatures from 240 Catholic priests, religious, and lay social ministers who support the legislation that is currently before the Senate, having passed the House in March. Bishop of Lexington (KY) John Stowe, OFM Conv., signed the letter and has spoken out about the issue in the context of the Church, saying, “It would be hard to overestimate the centrality and the importance of dignified labor to Catholic social teaching, and hand-in-hand with dignified labor comes the right to organize.” 
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Recap of Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University Laudato Si Conference
More than 2,500 people participated in the virtual conference last week that brought together various sectors to discuss, pray, and act on issues related to climate change, specifically in the context of Laudato Si. The opening keynote, featuring Cardinal Blase Cupich and Dr. Maureen Day, is available to view on video.
This article in National Catholic Reporter offers a compelling recap of several key components of the conference that are relevant to all LSAP promoters in the United States. This includes:
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Other highlights included a Wednesday evening panel with representatives from six of the seven LSAP sectors, including CMSM and LCWR representing religious orders in the U.S. The session illustrated many concrete ways that congregations can collaborate and integrate their efforts with those from education, parishes/dioceses, healthcare, economics, and community-based organizations/social services. 

To explore sector activity in the U.S. further, visit https://godsplanet.us/sectors where many different examples of existing and planned work are shared in the form of news items and videos. To see the global reach of these sectors (and the working group leads), visit the Laudato Si Action Platform itself and click on “Community” to explore the groups and individuals involved in this truly comprehensive endeavor.
Summer small group conversations continue for LSAP promoters
The next opportunity to discuss your congregation’s work with the larger LSAP US Religious Orders group is on Thursday, July 22, 11 a.m. ET. You can see the Zoom link for this and future conversations here. Future dates include July 30, Aug. 4, and Aug. 10. Click here for notes on the first discussion.
Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB) webinar
July 21, 3 p.m. ET

All are invited to a webinar to learn more about the report, A Vision Forward: Policies Needed to Protect the Best Interests of "Category 4" Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, which explores the current system for protecting unaccompanied children whom the government has determined do not have viable sponsors. Click to join via Zoom
Online dialogue: Communion, Catholics, and Public Life: Where Do We Go From Here?

In June 2021, U.S. Catholic bishops vigorously debated and then voted to proceed with a document on “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.” This discussion and decision have generated considerable conflict, confusion, and controversy, especially related to the question of communion for public officials.
Georgetown’s Initiative on Catholic Thought and Public Life is hosting an online dialogue on Wednesday, July 28, 12:30 p.m. ET with key bishops and lay leaders. Participants will briefly review what happened and what did not, and then will look ahead to the challenges U.S. bishops and U.S. Catholics face in the months to come. This conversation will examine why this matter has affected so many Catholics so strongly, and explore the choices facing the bishops, public officials, and the U.S. Catholic community as a whole. Free, please RSVP here.
Report debuts on Catholic immigration work in the last year

The Center for Migration Studies administered the Catholic Refugee and Immigrant Service Integration Survey (the “CRISIS Survey”) from Dec. 14, 2020 through Feb. 5, 2021. The CRISIS Survey documents the reach, diversity, and productivity of Catholic institutions that worked with immigrants and refugees during a pandemic that particularly devastated their communities and an administration whose policies and rhetoric made their work far more difficult. You can view the results at: The CRISIS Survey: The Catholic Church's Work with Immigrants in the United States in a Period of Crisis.  
We are grateful to the new and returning writers who provided reflections for the Lenten and Easter season! This summer we will feature reflections initially prepared during the last Cycle B in 2018. They are being added here.

New submissions are welcome for the fall. Contact Bethany Welch at bwelch@cmsm.org to inquire about a specific set of Sunday readings. 

You can access the lectionary reflections year round at csmsm.org/homilyresources.

Bethany Welch, Ph.D., CMSM Fellow for Justice and Peace
Visit us online: cmsm.org/justiceandpeace