Resources and information for parishes, activities & justice education
Resources and information for parishes, activities & justice education

Inside This Issue:

Call to Action - Tell Gov. Cuomo: No Budget Cuts!

Catholic Family Center, as a member of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), is encouraging everyone to take action and contact Governor Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo is considering across-the-board budget cuts of 20%. If this happens it will be devastating for families who are already struggling. You can help NOW to prevent these cuts!
  • 33% of low income residents surveyed by RMAPI said they could not pay their rent or mortgage.
  • 25% were worried how they'd catch up on housing and other bills.
Our community’s most vulnerable, such as the people served by CFC,  would be hit hardest by budget cuts. These cuts will impact people’s ability to receive the critical help they need to access food, connect to public assistance, and find appropriate public housing. Transportation cuts would limit options for people who need access to jobs, medical appointments, or child care. CFC and others providing mental health and substance use disorder treatment anticipate reduction to services and availability when the need for them is greater than ever. 

Click Here for Tips When Calling or Emailing

For more directions to walk you through emailing the govorner and other representatives
Use the images below for social media posts or for your bulletins!

Help Stop 2 Federal Executions This Week!

Please speak out today  in support of sparing the lives of Brandon Bernard and Alfred Bourgeois.  Even if you’ve done so already, please do it again, via email, tweet and phone call. There will be an online vigil at 2pm tomorrow for Alfred organized by Catholics Mobilizing Network.

In our name, the federal government is scheduled to execute two prisoners this week: Brandon Bernard TODAY Thursday December 10 and Alfred Bourgeois TOMORROW Friday December 11.  Please take a few minutes to advocate to save their lives.  There are several steps you can take.

Brandon Bernard is on death row for a murder he was an accomplice to when he was 18. He did not kill the people himself. But he was tried with the person who did and was given the death penalty along with him. Five of the jurors as well as the prosecutor who brought the death penalty against him believe this was the wrong sentencing and are urging President Trump to pardon him. His execution is set for this Thursday.

Alfred Bourgeois, 55, is scheduled to be executed Dec. 11 at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. In a Supreme Court filing Wednesday, his attorneys said his execution would be unconstitutional because he is intellectually disabled and therefore can't understand his punishment. They submitted evidence of IQ test scores of 70 and 75, as well as assessments by experts.

Start by calling the Dept of Justice: 202-353-1555 then press 9 to leave messages along these lines:

Hello my name is _________, calling from New York State on behalf of Brandon Bernard, an inmate on federal death row.  I am asking that you commute Brandon’s unjust death sentence to a sentence of life without parole.  Brandon does not deserve to be executed.  No one does. Thank you.

  Hello my name is _________, calling from New York State on behalf of Alfred Bourgeois, an inmate on federal death row.  I am asking that you commute Alfred’s unjust death sentence.  He is intellectually disabled and does not deserve to be executed.  No one does. Thank you.

Send around this message and post the images below on social media to spread the word.

Call our reps and ask them to speak out against these executions

Sen Schumer: (202) 224-6542

Sen. Gillibrand: (202) 224-4451

If you’re on Twitter, send tweets to President Trump to implore him to stop these executions and to our Congressional reps  to speak out against them.
Thank you for speaking out in defense of live.  Never let it be said that we were silent.

Take the Ignation Solidarity Network's

Advent Simplicity Challenge

This Advent, commit to simplicity. In a season that can mistakenly be focused on gifts and consumption, explore ways to live simply as we hopefully prepare for the coming of Jesus and the restoration of the earth.

Step one: Sign up for the challenge to receive reminder emails or texts to check the advent calendar which will be filled with daily inspiration to live abundantly and joyfully while healing the earth this Advent.

Step two: Set your intention for this season by pledging to focus on simplicity in a particular area of your life.

After a particularly painful year, let’s celebrate this Season of Hope by keeping it simple.

Hopeful News! Catholic Charities USA Commends Federal Judge’s Ruling to Fully Restore DACA

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) commends the decision by the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“This is an important victory for our country’s Dreamers,” said Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, president and CEO of CCUSA. “We commend this ruling which will protect the hundreds of thousands of individuals who know no other home than the United States, many of whom are essential workers and have been on the frontlines during this pandemic.”

An estimated 800,000 young people have received and benefitted from the DACA program. Loving parents brought these young people to the United States with a focus on providing their children with the hope, opportunity, and safety unavailable in their countries of birth. Catholic Charities agencies have served DACA recipients and their families throughout the program’s existence. Catholic Charities will continue to work with all immigrants, migrants and refugees as we have for over 100 years.

Tell Congress to ACT NOW to Provide Covid-19 relief before Christmas 

From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
It has been nearly eight months since Congress passed a COVID-19 aid package. Much of the aid from that legislation has already expired and more will stop at the end of this year. Congress must act quickly to pass a new COVD-19 relief package that addresses the needs of the poor and vulnerable. Families cannot wait any longer. Failure to act would leave millions struggling to pay rent, buy food, afford healthcare, maintain employment, and meet their basic human needs.
As we enter Advent, a season of waiting and longing for the birth of Christ, too many are left waiting for relief. Let us take action to support those most in need among us so that Christ’s vision of justice and mercy will be born again in us. Tell your Members of Congress it is time to come to an agreement and support those who are poor and vulnerable by:
  • Providing resources to meet the needs of those who are homeless and those struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
  • Increasing SNAP benefit amounts.
  • Enacting policies that encourage and support employers to retain and rehire workers, providing sufficient unemployment compensation, and considering additional stimulus payments.
  • Ensuring affordable healthcare access for everyone during this health crisis, but especially for the poor, uninsured, unemployed, and vulnerable populations including immigrants and refugees - without providing federal funding for abortion coverage.
  • Safeguarding those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 in our criminal justice system and increasing medical resources to care for those who do become ill while incarcerated.
  • Providing relief to all schools, including a ten percent reserve of K12 funding to provide tuition scholarships for families whose children attend nonpublic schools. Within the relief set aside for families that send their children to nonpublic schools, Congress should give special consideration to those families with greatest need.

    We encourage you to add your own personal story about the pressing need for COVID-19 relief.
    Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed a joint letter with Catholic leaders calling our lawmakers to action. You can read the letter here. You can learn more about the USCCB’s specific requests for policies that protect those who are poor and vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic here.

Spiritual Reflection & Support Group

At the beginning of the pandemic, we started a JustFaith reflection group.  As the events of the last few months have changed our society, it quickly became a group that supports and helps each other process how their faith is calling us to respond. If you are interested in joining, we meet virtually on Monday mornings from 10:30-11:30am.  Contact Marcus Ebenhoe at to be added to the invite list. Hope to see you there!

New Justice, Peace, & Life

The December issue of the Justice, Peace, & Life is now available.  This month's theme is "Stop Killing in My Name" and focuses on the Death Penalty along with other issues.  You can find a link to it on our archive page:

A Message from the Department of Pastoral Services and the Office of Life Issues

Walking with Mom's in Need

As part of the nationwide effort, Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service, the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities will be providing educational materials to help the Faithful reflect on the teachings of Evangelium vitae, Evangelii gaudium, and Laudato si'. 

  During this Advent season, we invite you to reflect upon these educational materials highligthing the Gospel call to go to the peripheries and bring hope and help to those in need.

  A two-page summary of Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life) that highlights the key themes and teachings of this prophetic document are available in both English and Spanish.

Consider beginning 2021 with a year of service, by “Walking with Moms in need!  Launch January 2021, in conjunction with the 9 Days for Life Novena and Roe Anniversary.  Share Walking with Moms in Need / a parish-based and nationwide process with friends and family members who want to help moms, too!

Fertility Care

The Creighton Model System teaches women/couples about their natural reproductive cycles so they can be an advocate for their own procreative and gynecological health. 

The method is medically safe, proven reliable, comparatively inexpensive, natural, and cooperative, a shared system between the spouses, and it is standardized. There are FertilityCare Practitioners throughout the United States and in different parts of the world.

Bernadette Palermo is a trained Creighton Method FertilityCare instructor. She will offer a virtual introductory session Friday, December 11th at 10:00 AM via Zoom.  Contact, or 585-678-3844 to register.  
Marcus Ebenhoe
Marcus Ebenhoe
Director of Advocacy and Parish Social Ministry
Catholic Family Center
Give people hope and they can do anything.
A regional agency of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester
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