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I grew up in New Jersey. Every winter morning that I waited for the school bus to arrive, my nose and lungs would freeze because of the cold, dry air.

It's hard for me to believe that it is already February. Going outside is not like those days back on the East Coast. I can take long, deep breaths and sometimes catch a bit of salt in the air. 

Every February, we mark Black History Month. Let us reflect on the events of this past year, of the need to address the lack of Racial Equity in our nation, that so many of our Black sisters and brothers can't breathe. 

May we act and pray for a world in which every single person is truly seen as created in the image and likeness of the Divine.

Patrick Barredo
Director of Social Outreach and Advocacy
PARISH VISION SURVEY
Share how important social outreach and advocacy is to your faith!

Father Ryan invites you to complete a survey about your experience of the Cathedral parish: what's working, what's not? What could we do better? What should the Cathedral's priorities be as we look to the future? The deadline to complete the survey is February 22.  

Click here to take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cathedralvision
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
By Most Reverend Jeffrey Haines

The U.S. Bishops Conference offers a series of four articles on the expression "Black Lives Matter". They are posted in the hope of providing background information which might help clarify what sometimes can be a controversial topic and serve as a stepping stone toward further reflection and dialogue on the important matter of racial justice.

Click HERE to read the articles. 
Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 7pm - 8pm

In this event sponsored by the Collegium Institute, Fr. Stephen D. Thorne will share his reflections on the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African-American priest to be ordained in the United States, whose cause for canonization is under way. Sponsored by the Collegium Institute.

Moral Mondays at SU | Black History//Black Present: A Black History Reading Group offers a short reading that illuminates current social justice issues facing the Black community:  

Black Feminism Monday, February 8 | 12-1 pm

Black Power  Tuesday, February 16 | 12-1 p.m. 
Reading: Power and Racism: What We Want by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael 

Black Reconstruction in America  Monday, February 22 | 12-1 p.m. 
Reading: Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. DuBois

Join the Seattle University community on Zoom (password OMABHM21) for community, conversation and critical engagement. 
FOOD & HUNGER ISSUES
COVID-19: Food Insecurity
(from the Food Research and Action Center)
As hunger increased, SNAP benefits surged, new data shows, The Washington Post, January 28, 2021

According to the latest USDA data released last Wednesday, the number of hungry Americans relying on food benefits from the federal government jumped 14 percent in September 2020 compared with the same month in the previous year. In a statement, Luis Guardia, the president of FRAC, noted the latest numbers "show that things would be far worse" without SNAP and other federal programs. But Guardia also emphasized that "the administration and Congress must make greater strides to ensure millions of struggling households get the nutrition they need and hasten economic recovery."
St. James Covid-19 Meal Ministry

Normally this time of year, participation in a church's life tends to slow down, perhaps as many people settle into the winter sleep. However, many on the streets and in shelters don't have the means to settle in, constantly concerned about their safety and well-being. 
 
St. James Cathedral continues to receive food donations on Tuesdays, 9am to 11am. Come to Cathedral Hall (Columbia St., between 9th and Terry Ave.).  Suggested items for donation include:

  • Canned chilis and stews with pull-tab lids
  • Ingredients to make sandwiches: Sliced bread, deli meats, sliced cheese, condiments. (Must be unopened.)
  • Pre-packaged, store-bought, frozen or restaurant-prepared casseroles (ie lasagna)
  • Other ready meals like ramen noodles, easy mac n cheese, canned ravioli.
  • K-Cup coffee, cocoa and tea.
  • Individual drinks.
  • Snacks such as individual chips, candy, crackers.
  • Breakfast items such as cereal cups and granola bars.
  • Fresh fruit, preferably soft, such as bananas and orange and grapes.
HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS
Vigil to Remember the Deceased Homeless 
Wednesday, February 10, 12pm - 1pm, Seattle City Hall

"Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living" - Mother Jones

Join Women in Black and stand vigil for THIRTEEN more of our homeless sisters and brothers who've died outside, in public, or by violence just in January and early February.  

Of these, SIX were deaths of despair (two by suicide, four by OD), two died of hypothermia, and FOUR were women.
Federal Advocacy

The U.S. Congress is working with President Biden to put together another emergency spending bill to address the widening pandemic and deep recession. This proposal must include critical resources for affordable housing and homeless assistance:
  • $6.1 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants
  • $30 billion for emergency rental and utility assistance
  • $28 billion for 500,000 rental vouchers
  • $44 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund
Congress must hear from you about the importance of including housing and homeless assistance in the next COVID emergency bill. 
 
Washington State Advocacy


Urge your lawmakers to vote YES on SB 5160/Kuderer and HB 1236/Macri, two good bills that will protect tenants, help them and landlords access rental assistance to address the backlog of unpaid rent due to the economic crisis, and prevent a wave of evictions that could lead to drastic increases in homelessness. 


Learn how to be a powerful voice for Housing Justice!

FREE Speak Up Pop Up advocacy sessions, Tuesdays, 5:30-6:30pm via Zoom

Learn how to take VIRTUAL action! Each week, there will be a review of key housing proposals. Learn how to look up your lawmakers, receive sample messages and talking points, and practice your advocacy skills. 

Click here to register and spread the word.

CARE FOR CREATION
A Laudato Si' Lens on Environmental Justice, Part 1


The Catholic Climate Covenant's webinar,  A Laudato Si' Lens on Environmental Justice, Part 1, is now available! Dr. Catherine Wright, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Executive Director of Collaborative for the Common Good, Wingate University, unpacks the meaning of environmental justice and how Catholic Social Teaching (in particular Laudato Si') gives us a helpful lens to view and act on this important issue. Veronica Coptis, Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice, presents on her organization's collaboration with area residents living with the daily impacts of fossil fuel extraction, to improve oversight of and accountability for fossil fuel extraction and use, and protect public and environmental health. Watch the video here.
Time to Discern; Connecting the Dots on Climate Emergency 
Mon., Feb. 15, 7 - 8:15 pm via Zoom

Sponsored by Our Lady of Guadalupe and Holy Rosary parishes

Dr. Barak Gale, chair of the Washington state chapter of the Climate Reality Project, is the presenter, with an opening by Keith Warner OFM, director of the the Global Social Benefit Fellowship at Santa Clara University. 
 
To join, contact Lucy Johnson (littleru1@aol.com).
 
"You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?" - Luke 12:56

Action Alert: Contact the Appropriations Committee about the Clean Fuels Bill (HB 1091)

If it's not too late, click here to sign in as "pro" for the Clean Fuels bill, Washington State House Bill 1091 (HB 1091).  HB 1091 was scheduled for a hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations on February 4.  The Clean Fuels Bill reduces the carbon intensity of transportation fuel to reduce greenhouse emissions gas. Its Senate companion bill is SB 5231. In accordance with Pope Francis's call to care for God's creation in Laudato Si, the WSCC supports HB 1091.
END OF LIFE
Faith & Action First Fridays to End the Death Penalty

The Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) invites Christ's mercy to transform our broken criminal legal system and eradicate the use of capital punishment.

First Friday Virtual Prayer Vigils for Executions offer timely anti-death penalty actions and resources. At the center of these devotions is the recognition that people desire to draw closer to and learn from the Sacred Heart of Christ, which is full of love and mercy for humanity.
Action Alert: Stop the Expansion of Assisted Suicide

Please click here to urge your State Representatives to oppose expanding assisted suicide.  House Bill 1141 (HB 1141) increases access to physician assisted suicide and accelerates the process.  The bill broadens the definition of "qualified medical provider" and loosens the definition of those who can provide counseling.  Additionally, this bill decreases the amount of time that a patient is required to wait between making a request and receiving a prescription to terminate his or her life.  The Washington State Catholic Conference
 opposes HB 1141.
UPCOMING ADVOCACY DAYS
Join us for the first-ever virtual Catholic Advocacy Day in Olympia on Tuesday, March 23, 2021!  Our theme this year is Catholics for Equity & Life. In this time of COVID and the call for economic and racial equity, we invite you to join with Catholics from across Washington State to raise our voices for a society in which all people and Earth can thrive. Issues we plan to address include economic recovery, affordable housing, racial equity and the environment. The priority issues may change based on developments during the legislative session, and we will have updated information closer to the day itself.  

Register online by March 9 or call 206.223.1138.
Washington State Catholic Conference Advocacy Bulletins

Now that the Washington State legislative session is in full swing, don't miss out on news about key legislation. Sign up HERE to receive the weekly Washington State Catholic Conference Advocacy Bulletin.
Interfaith Advocacy Day
 
FAITH ACTION NETWORK's Virtual Interfaith Advocacy Day brings voices of compassion and justice to our elected leaders. We partner for the common good with people of faith and conscience who stand up boldly for our shared values. Meet virtually with your legislators and their staff, and put your faith into action! Registration closes on Friday, February 5, so REGISTER TODAY!
 

FEBRUARY BOOK RECOMMENDATION
The History of Black Catholics in the United States
By Cyprian Davis

"The story of the black Catholic community in the United States begins with the story of the Catholic church in Africa.'' 

With this historical overview, Davis, professor at Indiana's St. Meinrad School of Theology, begins his task--"to retrieve a mislaid memory'' of the black Catholic presence in the United States for the last 300 years. The issue of slavery--including the uneasy responses of America's first bishop, John Carroll, in the late 18th century, and the pro-slavery views of John Hughes, outspoken archbishop of New York during the Civil War--is positioned within the political and social fabric of those centuries. Yet, as shown in this masterfully concise history, the faith flourished among such black Catholics as Pierre Toussaint, the 19th-century New Yorker now proposed for sainthood. 

Studded with personal stories, this is a chronicle both sad and inspiring. Davis's groundbreaking research should pave the way for further exploration of the growing black Catholic community. 

(Review courtesy of Publishers Weekly)
Closing Prayer

MARY, FRIEND AND MOTHER TO ALL,
through your Son, God has found a way 
to unite himself to every human being, 
called to be one people, 
sisters and brothers to each other.

We ask for your help in calling on your Son, 
seeking forgiveness for the times when 
we have failed to love and respect one another.

We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son 
the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism 
and to build a just society.

We ask for your help in following your Son, 
so that prejudice and animosity 
will no longer infect our minds or hearts 
but will be replaced with a love that respects 
the dignity of each person.

Mother of the Church, 
the Spirit of your Son Jesus 
warms our hearts: 
pray for us. 

Amen.

This prayer is taken from Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduing Call to Love. A Pastoral Letter Against Racism by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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