Hundreds to descend on Austin for Catholic Advocacy Day

March 26, 2013

HOUSTON — According to industry reports gleaned by the Texas Catholic Conference, Texans paid $22 on every $100 they borrowed for a 14 to 30-day loan during the first quarter of 2012. The high cost of these loans, often issued by payday lenders, have left vulnerable families in a cycle of debt, where they are continually paying fees and interest without ever paying down the loan.

Issues such as this are why hundreds of representatives from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will be joining Catholics from across the state to advance the Texas Catholic Conference’s legislative agenda on what has become known as Catholic Advocacy Day, April 9.


For details of the legislative agenda, visit

To find out more about Catholic Advocacy Day, contact Deacon Sam Dunning at 713-741-8731, or Vice Chancellor Christina Deajon at 713-659-5461,

Catholics will descend on Austin by the busload for a rally on the steps of the state Capitol before meeting with legislators about the moral and social issues promoting life, dignity and the common good.

“We want to go as a unified group with one voice, and this is a good way to do this, by setting aside a special day,” said Deacon Sam Dunning, who with Archdiocese Vice Chancellor Christina Deajon is organizing this year’s trip.

Dunning, the director of the Office of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese, is hoping to recruit more than 300 people to meet with legislators in small groups to promote the issues laid out by the Catholic bishops of Texas. The issues pertain to the protection of life, from conception through death; strengthening of families; support for immigrants; protecting and providing for the poor and the vulnerable; and reforming the criminal justice system.

Part of that agenda includes shielding vulnerable families from predatory lenders by advocating for the creation of regulatory standards for payday and auto title lending as a statewide solution to end the cycle of debt.

To be effective, Dunning and Deajon are preparing would-be advocates, known as Archangels, to lead teams of five or six, who will talk with legislators and get their message across quickly and efficiently.

Did you know?

The Catholic bishops of Texas through the Texas Catholic Conference advocates for policies and programs that support the life and dignity of every one, from conception through death. Their position is rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church, to uphold the sanctity of life, lift up the poor and vulnerable and help promote the common good.

“If you are well informed and measured in your approach, you can have an impact,” Dunning said.

Groups are encouraged to focus on only two or three issues, but they do have flexibility about which ones they want to highlight.

“Some groups have a passion for immigration issues or issues that relate to supporting funding for alternatives to abortion,” Dunning said.

While Catholic groups have long been going en masse to advocate their positions during the biennial legislative sessions, it is only since the last one in 2010 that a special day was designated to unite Catholics across the state. And while it is late in the session, which started Jan. 8 and ends May 27, Dunning said they can still influence legislators to let bills at odds with the Catholic agenda die in committee and those that are in line come out of committee. 

“It’s about trying to identify legislators who are on the proverbial fence and trying to be persuasive there,” Dunning said.