Advocacy Day participants eager to lend voices

March 29, 2011

HOUSTON — April 6 is "Catholic Faith in Action Advocacy Day," when faithful from across the state will converge on the State Capitol in Austin to discuss important issues with Texas legislators. Participants will inform legislators about Catholic concerns regarding education, immigration, family life, health and human services and criminal justice reform.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo has urged all parishioners to participate in Advocacy Day in an effort to increase the presence from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which is the 12th largest diocese in the United States.

Recently, several faithful in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston took time to discuss with the Texas Catholic Herald the relevance of Advocacy Day and why they decided to get involved as they prepare to leave the pews of their home parishes and lend their voices to speak on behalf of those most in need.  

"As Catholics, it is imperative to get involved in the legislative process as Texas is in a serious financial crisis and we must be a voice for those that have no voice. We cannot stand back and let our representatives balance the budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable in our state — the elderly, undocumented immigrants, the unemployed and indigent women and children."

"[Through] this visit to Austin I hope to encourage dialogue among those representatives I see, [communicate] that cutting access to health care to the poor and vulnerable will only cost us more in the long run, as well as making sure that every person in our state is treated with the dignity that every human needs in order to participate in our community." 

"As a Catholic, I feel the effort to ‘get people out the pews' and involved in the legislative process is so important because it is a major part of the components of our Catholic Social Teaching. Also, it is a part of Our Lord's teachings taken from the Gospels of Mathew, Mark and Luke. If we are followers of Christ, we are to love and serve Him and the vulnerable such as widows, children, the elderly and those who are spiritually lost. The Lord has given all of us gifts and talents to be used for the good of His Kingdom."
"My personal hopes and goals for Advocacy Day are to reach the hearts and minds of those who are in power to make decisions that affect our everyday lives; to impact in some degree a process where all of us can feel that we have a say in what affects our families, such as health care and education. Most of all, I hope that we can join together as Christians to make this world a better place for all of us to live in and serve Our Lord." 

"As Catholics we share a concern for social justice, a responsibility for defending the poor, the sick and the needy. One essential and effective way of doing it is through an active participation in the political arena through supporting policies and laws that help the needy and hopefully deterring the initiatives that hurt them."
"[Our main goal is] to meet with the state senators and representatives or their assistants and engage them in a dialogue regarding a discreet number of crucial laws being considered in the current Legislature. We expect to convey our concerns politely and respectfully but clearly and firmly."

"There are two parts for Faithful Citizenship. First you must know the issues involved in elections and vote. But the second part is to hold the representatives accountable for what they have promised to do, and to let them know the importance of issues from their constituency. They do not know all the different impacts a bill might have, so we have to speak up for what we believe in. I work with people every day who come into our church looking for help. I want to go speak for them, so that the desperation they are experiencing will not be what their children have to look forward to as their future."

"Each person who goes to talk to a representative, or their aide, is seen as representing a large group of people. We cannot complain about what our representatives are doing unless we go out there and let them know what we think. Our opinions, morals and values should not be here to make a difference just on Election Day. It is our job to make sure they stick to their campaign promises, or try to let them see our own point of view."

"I am hoping that the new parishioners I am going with will be excited about the difference they see we can make, and that they, in turn, will be able to get other people excited about standing up for their Catholic faith. I also hope to make representatives and their aides think about the issue that we present to them. Texas Catholic Conference does a wonderful job with the issue papers, and I hope we can put a face to what these issues mean to the Catholics of Texas who we represent." †