Sunday, June 29, 2014

The June 24th Fortnight event featured mass and a special patriotic rosary, followed by a fabulous Mexican dinner, and then our guest speakers from Vocare -- Anne Marie Kelly & John Geis who spoke about the challenges we face protecting our religious liberties and the need for Catholics to "engage in the public square" as our Holy Father and the U.S. Catholic bishops are encouraging us all to do.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

At the urging of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, we will be sponsoring "Fortnight for Freedom" events at St. Stephens parish from June 21st through July 4th to pray, fast, and act on behalf of our First Amendment guarantees to freedom of religion.  The details are published in the weekly bulletin (also on the parish website).

The key elements of our Fortnight events include:
1) saying the novena prayer daily (found in the bulletin and on the website), as it will also be said during or after everyone mass during this two week period;
2) June 23rd 6:30pm mass celebrated by Fr. Gary Zender of St. Anthony's, to be followed with a holy hour lead by Fr. Ed White;
3) June 24th 6:30pm mass, followed by praying of the Patriotic rosary (really beautiful, if you haven't done this before).  Immediately after that, we will be hosting two guest speakers in the narthex - Anne Marie Kelly (Board Chair) and John Geis (President) from Vocare, a Catholic lay organization in Washington - who will be speaking on the topic of religious freedom and engagement in the public square.  Food & drinks will also be provided.
4) then on Wednesday evening through Friday evening after the 6:30pm masses, Bro. Mauricio Torres will be speaking about consecration -- to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Friday (June 27th) is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; so Bro. Mauricio will be leading the congregation in making a consecration as well.  Saturday (June 28th), following the 8:30am mass, Bro. Mauricio will then lead in consecration to the Immaculate of Heart of Mary (the feast that day)!
5) finally, on Tuesday evening, July 1st after the 6:30pm mass, we'll be praying the Divine Mercy chaplet.

The other key component of the Fortnight, along with all of these prayers, is for us to 'take action'.  We will have a table in the narthex starting June 21st through June 29th with information and postcards that people can sign for mailing to our Congressional representatives in Washington DC, specifically regarding the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.

Also keep in mind that our U.S. Supreme Court is currently deliberating on two critical cases regarding our First Amendment right to religious freedom.  Their decisions could be rendered any day now, but certainly not later than the last Friday in June (the 27th).  PLEASE PRAY for these justices to stand firm on preserving our religious freedoms!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

End of the 2014 Legislative Session in Olympia, WA

The 2014 session ended this past week, and overall the results were pretty positive from the Catholic perspective.  Two key bills were defeated: the Abortion Insurance Mandate, and the "Telemedicine" bill that would have required insurance coverage for chemical abortions.  Other partially good news in this session: the Parental Notification of Abortion bill and the Anti-Human trafficking bill both passed in the Senate Law & Justice committee, although they never made it to a floor vote in the Senate.  From what we've heard, this is the first pro-life legislation to have even made it through a committee in Olympia in decades!  So again, generally good news from the efforts in Olympia this year.

Now the focus for our ministry shifts to the national scene, and the U.S. Congress.  Important bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate that need our action to encourage our Senators to support:
1) the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,
2) the No Taxpayer Funds for Abortion Act, and
3) the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act. 
Please contact your Senators asking them to support and pass these critical bills.  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

On the home front, we're starting plans for the 2014 Fortnight For Freedom events at St. Stephens coming up the two weeks before the July 4th holiday.  We'll be issuing more details as we approach that time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The pro-abortionists are trying to sneak in another bill before the end of the 2014 session, and the final vote for passage could happen as early as Friday morning, March 7th!  This one is called HB1448 Telemedicine, that would require (once gain) EVERYONE to pay for 'web cam abortions' induced with drugs through their insurance policies (these people truly never give up on new ways to harm women and kill babies).

So here's what you should do: send emails first, then follow-up with phone calls.


Dear Sen. _______:

We just received a notice that the state Senate is about to pass a law allowing webcam chemical abortions (HB1448).  PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT PASSAGE OF THIS BILL, unless it has been amended to clearly remove ‘web cam abortions’!

This change is urgently needed to protect women.  The FDA has reported women dying from this.  This is yet another outrageous attempt by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry to kill more children, and make more money!

We continue to need your courageous stand, along with your fellow Senators and the Majority Caucus, to stop these attacks on women and their babies.

 Thanks.



jan.angel@leg.wa.gov


linda.parlette@leg.wa.gov



barbara.bailey@leg.wa.gov


randi.becker@leg.wa.gov


bruce.dammeier@leg.wa.gov

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Latest in Olympia...

The state Senate Health Care committee did NOT hold a hearing on the House-passed abortion insurance mandate (HB2148 "Reproductive Parity Act") by Friday's deadline (February 28th).  This SHOULD mean the bill will die again in the 2014 session, which officially ends on March 13th.  However, it is NEVER over....and there are some old rules that COULD enable the Senate to pass this bill anyway; but that appears unlikely.

So thanks to everyone who called and/or wrote to their state Senators, and more specifically to the members of the Senate Health Care committee (the majority of whom are pro-life)!  But remember...it's never over 'til it's over, and that is not until March 13th when this session formally ends.  There is a somewhat obscure rule in the state Senate called the "Ninth Order" of business which allows a committed majority of Senators to suspend all the Senate Rules and make it possible for that same majority to call any bill to the floor for an immediate vote, including HB 2148.  So we'll continue to keep an eye on this situation.

Meanwhile, for the last 2 weeks of this session, we are focused on supporting passage of SB6434 to curb human trafficking and the sex trade in the state of Washington.  Please contact your state Senators encouraging them to promote passing this important legislation.
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

As the 2014 legislative session in Olympia comes to an end in mid-March, our focus legislatively will shift to the federal level with bills going through the U.S. Congress.  A bill entitled the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" was passed earlier this year in the House (in the Senate it's referred to as bill "S1670") that would protect unborn babies capable of feeling excruciating pain beginning at 20 weeks, or more than halfway through pregnancy.  Please contact your U.S. Senators to support passage of this bill.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

SSTM Legislative Advocacy Ministry meeting on Thursday, February 13th at 7:00pm.

We have a special guest coming, John Geis, the President and Founder of Vocare (http://vocaremovement.org/).  John will be sharing with us the vision and mission of Vocare, information on their recent activities, as well as the potential for forming a chapter of Vocare at St. Stephens.  This meeting is open to all.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

To no great surprise, on Wednesday, February 5th - while most of the state of Washington had their attention focused on the Seahawks Super Bowl parade - in Olympia the state House held a floor vote on HB2148, the Abortion Insurance mandate. Again, no surprise: the forces beholden to Planned Parenthood passed this legislation with a 10 vote margin.  Here’s the House debate on this bill
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014020019#start=1124&stop=3801

So now the battle moves to the state Senate (under SB6359 -- their version of the Abortion Insurance Mandate). This is where the margin is VERY SLIM, so it's critical that everyone you know starts calling state Senators.  If this bill doesn’t make it out of the Senate Health Care Committee, then it won’t get a vote on the Senate floor.  So step 1 is to CALL as many members of this committee right away and ask that it not receive a public hearing and not be passed out of committee (http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/HLTH/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx ).  There’s maybe a 1 vote margin in this committee.  PLEASE CALL these state Senators asking them to OPPOSE passage of this bill. You can simply say "Please vote no on SB6359/HB2148 because I do not want to pay for abortion!"

For more information on the details of this bill, please scroll down to the January 27th blog posting under "Olympia".

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, two other important matters were addressed this past week in the state Senate.

First, the Senate Law & Justice committee passed SB5156, Parental Notification of Abortion prior to abortions performed on girls under the age of 18, requiring a doctor to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion on an underage girl. (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5156&year=2013 ).  Please contact your state Senators to urge a YES/Support vote on this bill on the Senate floor.  Here’s the video of the committee hearing (http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014021042 ).

Second, a public hearing was held on SB6434 that is legislation focused on curbing human trafficking in our state. While you are contacting your state Senator on the Abortion Insurance Mandate and Parental Notification of Abortion, be sure to tell them you want them to SUPPORT passage of SB 6434 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6434&year=2013). This bi-partisan bill (sex-trafficking) would further empower law enforcement by subjecting "certain property to seizure and forfeiture for patronizing a prostitute."  Vocare board members Angela Connelly and Annmarie Kelly provided power testimony in support of this legislation (minutes 48 thru 54 of this video). http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014021042#start=0&stop=0    

You can find your legislators at http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Please continue reading the rest of this blogsite for other key legislative issues being addressed.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Catholic Advocacy Day in Olympia on February 21st

This is an opportunity to hear speakers and meet with legislators on issues of importance to the Catholic church at large (including economic justice, housing, access to health care, child welfare, life issues (abortion, assisted suicide, and death penalty), environment, criminal justice. If interested, please refer to the January 26th bulletin for details.

National (Washington D.C.) and State (Olympia, Washington) legislative items There are a number of important issues of immediate interest (and needing action) at both the federal and the state levels. Below are details on some of the issues, and how to contact your legislators on matters that are important to you and the Church.



U.S. Congress  Find your House Representative at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and contact them immediately on these issues.

Your U.S. Senators (Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray for Washington) can be contacted through this website  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

H.R. 7…"No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" with more than 145 co-sponsors in the House, this legislation would ensure that you and I aren't reluctant shareholders in the nation's abortion business -- in ObamaCare, domestic spending, and even foreign aid. This is important because the current “Hyde Amendment” is not permanent.  This bill has passed in the House.  Please contact your U.S. Senators now and ask them to also pass this bill.  https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/34333/Respond


“Health Care Conscience Rights Act”
Under the new health care law (ACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women,” including drugs and procedures that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable items include sterilization, FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, “morning-after” pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity,” including minor girls. Under the final rule released by HHS, the mandate allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer,” chiefly aimed at what HHS calls “houses of worship.” Other religious organizations offering education, health care and charitable services do not qualify for the exemption. The mandate will be enforced beginning January 1, 2014, under an “accommodation” that only changes the way the objectionable items must be provided to all employees and their dependents. There is no exemption or delay for individuals, for non-religious pro-life organizations, or for businesses owned and operated by families with moral or religious objections. Please support passage of this legislation. https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/33887/Respond
 
H.R. 3133, the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” –
would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether non-profit or for-profit, based on their religious beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman, or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. H.R. 3133 would prohibit the federal government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, or contracting against such groups and individuals. It would also prohibit the federal government from making tax-exempt status contingent on a group’s beliefs about marriage. Please support passage of this bill.
    
Internal Revenue Service
Contact the IRS to OPPOSE proposed regulations found in REG-134417-13. It would restrict good citizenship by redefining voter registration, non-partisan voter guides, legislative records, candidate debates or forums, get-out-the-vote reminders, even the mention of any issue that has been raised by a candidate as regulated political activity. This is yet another serious First Amendment issue.
http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=IRS-2013-0038-0001


Olympia, Wa  
Find your state legislators http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/   and contact them immediately on these issues.

OPPOSE HB 2148 Abortion Insurance Mandate. Concerning health plan coverage for the voluntary termination of a pregnancy, is now moving on to the House floor for a vote. It is also now being taken up in the Senate (SB 6359). This bill is a reintroduction of a nearly identical bill which passed the House but failed in the Senate in 2013. Advocates raised concerns that the abortion coverage mandate not only violated a fundamental right to religious liberty, but also stood in violation of the Hyde/Weldon Amendment of the federal Labor/HHS appropriations bill.
HB 2148 presents a clear challenge to the conscience rights of those who do not wish to participate in health plans which offer abortion coverage. This bill does not offer conscience protections for employers who do not wish to provide insurance coverage for abortion services. It also does not offer an exemption to an employee or anyone who do not wish to support abortion through their insurance premiums.

Please contact your state Senator and Representatives to OPPOSE this bill.
https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/34227/Respond


SUPPORT SB 5156 (& HB 1257) Parental Notification for Abortion…
this bill would require parental notification prior to abortions performed on girls who are unemancipated and under 18. Unless the parent or guardian has waived their right to notice, or there is a medical emergency, the abortion practitioner must give notice to one of the minor’s parents or legal guardian at least 48 hours before the procedure. An exemption, known as a judicial bypass, would allow minors to undergo an abortion without parental notification. Petitions for judicial bypass are confidential and free. If the court finds the girl to be “sufficiently mature and well-informed” or a victim of abuse, or if the court fails to rule within 48 hours, the petition is granted. https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/30547/Respond

Please contact your state Senator and Representatives to SUPPORT passage of this bill.

SUPPORT HB 2174 – Upholding Parental rights.
Recognizing that the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the care, custody, supervision, and administration of his or her child is a fundamental right. (please “Support” this legislation). Ask for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.


Local
With all of the debate that continues to rage around the country, and particularly here in the Seattle area on the issue of “marriage”, have you asked yourself recently ‘just what DOES the Catholic church teach about marriage’?

Of course, the best place to start researching this topic is in the Holy Scriptures, since it is the official source of Catholic teaching. On this specific matter, both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 19: 4-6, 12; and Mark 10: 6-8) document what Jesus had to say on this very important topic: “…from the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh… Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”.

Needless to say, what Jesus (Our Lord & Savior) said about marriage is what the Catholic Church (and most Christian churches) teach about marriage (http://old.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt3art7.shtml). The Catholic Church is hardly in a position to 'change' what is such a direct and fundamental teaching of Jesus Christ and reality of our existence as the human family.  But it isn’t just what Jesus and Christianity says about marriage that is relevant. This is what science (biology specifically) states on this subject. “Human reproduction is a biological process by which descendants are created by combining of the parent's genetic material. Sexual reproduction involves two different adult sexes (male and female) that produce sex cells (sperm and ovum) ....Offspring are then produced following the fusion of the sex cells.” (creationwiki.org).  

To the point, scientific law (as well as natural law) states what we all know to be true: that ALL children are the product of the genetic materials (sperm from the father, and ovum from the mother) of their biological parents. Accordingly, consistent with natural law or scientific law or Scriptural law, there is no such thing as “marriage equality”. If it’s two men having sexual relations or two women having sexual relations, in neither case are they capable of producing children through their sexual relations and thus establishing a family.  As such, there is no equality when comparing heterosexual and homosexual relationships. This is not a discrimination of human origin; this is the fact of natural law, or God’s law, and there’s truly nothing that we as humans can do to change it.  This is also not a matter of judgment, but rather acknowledging what is fact and truth.

Just because people in some places have chosen to establish laws (of human origin) does not change basic reality. Just because it is a man-made “law”, doesn’t mean it has any basis in truth. Abortion is legal in our country. Up to 1865, slavery was legal in our country until President Lincoln and his party succeeded in passing the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Just because it’s a law, doesn’t make it right. When such man-made laws conflict with the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we have a direct challenge to consider and evaluate.

As the future Pope Francis wrote in 2010 when the debate about same-sex marriage was at its peak in Argentina, “Let’s not be na├»ve: This is not a simple political struggle, but an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill, but a move of the Father of Lies, who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Further, Jesus said…"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18: 6). Our Holy Father points directly at the devil for creating confusion and deception, but Jesus goes further to warn anyone who misleads His children of the serious consequences.

Pope Francis has frequently been quoted as saying ‘who am I to judge’, just like Jesus said ‘do not judge others’. Paul said that ‘all sin and fall short of the glory of God’. Lucky for us all, in John 8:11 as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery… "neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, do not sin anymore."

We all sin, and need God's mercy that comes through the blood of Jesus. We are called to love one another, as Christ loves the Church.  We are to treat one another with the dignity as being the children of God. We are called to “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.’ As Jesus told the women caught in adultery…”from now on, do not sin anymore”. None of us are in a position to judge; Jesus is the judge. However, Jesus also said that we must acknowledge Him before men, or He will not acknowledge us before the Father. Therefore, we must stand up as Catholics for what we know to be true, as taught by Jesus himself and defended by the Catholic Church as truth.


http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2914/New-York-Times-Displays-Bias-Against-Catholic-Schools-Catholic-Teaching.aspx?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Photo+journal+of+March+for+Life&utm_content=New+York+Times+Displays+Bias+Against+Catholic+Schools%2c+Catholic+Teaching

http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2912/Catholic-Schools-Must-Be-%e2%80%98True-Alternatives-to-Government-Schools-%e2%80%99-SaysMonsignor.aspx?utm_source=WhatCounts+Publicaster+Edition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Photo+journal+of+March+for+Life&utm_content=Catholic+Schools+Must+Be+%e2%80%98True+Alternatives+to+Government+Schools%2c%e2%80%99+Says+Monsignor  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

URGENT Action to OPPOSE Abortion Mandate

Legislation to require all private health insurers in Washington State to cover abortion services, if they offer maternity care, has again been introduced in the Legislature. The Catholic Church, believing in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, has consistently opposed abortion, and stands in strong opposition to HB 2148.

HB 2148 will be heard on Monday, January 13th at 1:30 p.m. in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee (House Hearing Room B - John L. O'Brien Building). ALL ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND THE HEARING AND TO WEAR WHITE RIBBONS!


HB 2148 violates the fundamental right to religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. It does not offer a true exemption to employers who are morally opposed to abortion, nor to an employee or anyone who does not wish to pay premiums to cover abortion services.

Please visit www.leg.wa.gov for status, complete information and the option to send messages and/or phone your representatives and senators. OR phone a message to your elected officials at 800-562-6000. (FAST & EASY!)