Education

Catholic Charities through its Social Concerns & Advocacy Office works to educate parishioners, policy makers, and the broader public on issues affecting vulnerable human lives at all stages of life, from conception to natural death.  The organization promotes a greater understanding of the call of Catholic social ministry to work for both charity and justice, and advocates for action to create positive change in society.  Please see the other web pages of the Social Concerns & Advocacy Office on this Catholic Charities website which focus on: Catholic Social TeachingCRS & CCHDPublic Policy and Human Trafficking Awareness.  On can also find information here on Respect Life related issues, which is promoted by the Diocesan Office of Family Life.  

Pope Francis Discusses Building Lasting Peace in World Day of Peace Message

Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Peace, celebrated January 1, 2022, is titled Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace.  The message can be found here in many languages.  Pope St. Paul VI established the World Day of Peace in 1967, to be celebrated on the first day of the New Year when the Catholic Church also celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  The World Day of Peace was first observed on January 1, 1968.   Let us all pray that we might respond faithfully to the closing appeal of the Holy Father’s message that “we walk together with courage and creativity on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education, and work…strive daily, with quiet humility and courage, to be artisans of peace…and be inspired and accompanied by the blessings of the God of peace!

Resources for Advocating for the People of Afghanistan and for Afghan Evacuees in the USA. (From Catholic & U.S. Government Sources)

Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

CRS, the official relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), eases suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality.  CRS has set up an Afghanistan fund to support its ongoing work in the country: https://support.crs.org/Afghanistan.  Below is a link to CRS’s most recent press release on Afghanistan, demonstrating CRS’s continuing activity in Afghanistan: https://www.crs.org/media-center/news-release/afghanistan-brink-humanitarian-catastrophe-crs-warns.  For a step-by-step CRS resource guide to meeting with your Members of Congress, visit:

https://www.crs.org/sites/default/files/usops-resources/ccgp_set_meeting_us16107.pdf

The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

ICMC facilitates a global network of Catholic Bishops Conference & Catholic-inspired organizations working on migration and refugee issues at local and national levels.  To learn how ICMC members and church leaders are responding to the needs of Afghans, and advocating for their protection, visit: https://www.icmc.net/2021/09/14/icmc-members-respond-to-the-needs-of-afghan-evacuees/

Catholics Confront Global Poverty (CCGP)

The USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and CRS have joined together in an effort to reduce global poverty through learning and action.  Sign up to receive advocacy and legislative alerts by visiting: https://www.crs.org/usops-tags/catholics-confront-global-poverty

USCCB Justice for Immigrants (JFI) Campaign

In 2004, the USCCB committed to immigration reform as a priority of the U.S. Catholic Church, and to creating a culture of welcome in which all migrants are treated with respect and dignity. A diverse group of Catholic organizations joined the USCCB JFI Campaign to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of goodwill in support of immigration reform.  Go to www.justiceforimmigrants.org to sign up to receive the latest news and events shared by the JFI Campaign, including advocacy alerts.  Find a JFI Afghanistan Resource Page at: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/afghanistan/

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., (CLINIC)

CLINIC was founded by the USCCB and is governed by a board comprised of a majority of bishops, along with women and men whose professional backgrounds provide helpful context for its work. CLINIC serves as a legal support agency for diocesan immigration programs.  CLINIC has produced a Guide to Client Documentation and Benefits for Afghan Parolees, available at:

https://cliniclegal.org/resources/asylum-and-refugee-law/guide-client-documentation-and-benefits-afghan-parolees; and a toolkit to assist Afghans: https://cliniclegal.org/toolkits/assistance-afghans

U.S. Congressional Research Service & Department of Homeland Security

The Congressional Research Service, a U.S. government entity, provides a summary resource of Iraqi & Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programsdated 6/21/21.  Find that summary at: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R43725/17.   The Department of Homeland Security has produced a resource on assisting Afghan evacuees, Operation Allies Welcome. It is available at: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/21_0903_oaw-fact-sheet_508.pdf

World Day of the Poor

The message of Pope Francis for the 2021 World Day of the Poor, taking place on Sunday, November 14, is titled The Poor You Will Always Have With You.  Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, issued on 20 November 2016 to celebrate the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  In Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day of the Poor, he “appeals to us never to turn our backs on poverty for a series of reasons that are ethical, moral, pastoral, political, economic and social” says Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.  The Holy Father will celebrate Mass for the World Day of the Poor on November 14 in St. Peter’s Basilica.  Find out more about this day and find the Holy Father’s 2021 message here.

World_Day_of_the_Poor_2021_Logo_002.jpeg

World Day of Migrants and Refugees and National Migration Week

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WMDR), celebrated the last Sunday of September, will take place on September 26, 2021.  The theme for this year’s celebration, chosen by Pope Francis, is Towards an ever wider ‘we’”, a theme chosen to encourage focus on greater communion and unity among all people.  In his letter announcing this year’s theme, Pope Francis emphasizes that “this focus calls on us to ensure that ‘after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us’’ (Fratelli tutti, no. 35).  Find out more about this day here.  The USCCB’s celebration of the 2021 National Migration Week will take place September 20-26, which will flow into the Vatican’s celebration of the WDMR.  Please recite on this day a Prayer for Migrants and Refugees.

Resources to Celebrate the Anniversary of Laudato Si’

Find here a two page resource document to assist in celebrating the sixth anniversary of Laudato Si’

Pope Francis Shares Message on the 2021 World Day of Peace

In his 2021 World Day of Peace Message, “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace” Pope Francis invites Catholics to utilize the Church’s social doctrine as a compass to foster a “culture of care” for peace in the world.  The World Day of Peace takes place January 1, the same day that Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  In his message shared to mark the World Day of Peace, the Holy Father appeals to the international community and every individual to foster a “culture of care” by advancing on the “path of fraternity, justice and peace between individuals, communities, peoples and nations.”  Read the Holy Father’s full message in English and Spanish, and find a summary of the main themes in a recent Vatican News article.  More resources to mark this day, which falls on January 1, 2021, are available on a special USCCB World Day of Peace webpage.

The World Day of the Poor was held on November 15  

Celebrated on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, in this year’s World Day of the Poor message, Pope Francis reflects on Sirach 7:32 “stretch forth your hand to the poor.”  Find here weblinks to the message, in English and Spanish.

Third encyclical of Pope Francis Released on October 3, 2020

Fratelli Tutti- On Fraternity and Social Friendship, is the most recent encyclical of Pope Francis.  Read the encyclical in English and Spanish.  The encyclical was signed by the Holy Father and released to the public at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy on October 3.  Fratelli Tutti is the third encyclical of the pontificate of Pope Francis.  According to analysis provided by the Catholic Apostolic Center in Washington, D.C., Fratelli Tutti “offers profound insight into the fragmentation of our world today and a call to deeper encounter with one another individually and societally. The Holy Father uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to reflect on Christ’s teaching about our neighbor: “Jesus asks us to be present to those in need of help, regardless of whether or not they belong to our social group. In this case, the Samaritan became a neighbor to the wounded Judean. By approaching and making himself present, he crossed all cultural and historical barriers. Jesus concludes the parable by saying: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37). In other words, he challenges us to put aside all differences and, in the face of suffering, to draw near to us to others with no questions asked. I should no longer say that I have neighbors to help, but that I must myself be a neighbor to others” (81).  Find here an article published by Vatican News, which provides an in-depth summary of the major themes of the encyclical.  Find here a press release from the USCCB.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 – September 27

This year, on September 27, 2020, the Catholic Church celebrates the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  As the title and theme for his annual message for this day, Pope Francis has chosen “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”.  The Holy Father’s message seeks to focus on the pastoral care of the tens of millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs).  We are called to act with compassion and hospitality to migrants and refugees.  Christians believe that the young infant Jesus and his family experienced the desperate plight of displaced persons and refugees, for the Holy Family fled from Bethlehem in Judea to escape King Herod’s murderous wrath to find safety in the land of Egypt (Matthew 2: 13 -16).

According to a June 3 statement from the Holy See Press Office, issued in anticipation of this day, “Over the coming months, the theme will be developed in six sub-themes expressed by six pairs of verbs: to know in order to understand; to draw near so as to serve; to listen in order to reconcile; to share and thus to grow; to involve in order to promote; and finally, to collaborate and therefore to build.”  Coming months in the year of focus on this theme will see the release of further information.  Find resources to learn more about this day here.  The message of Pope Francis for World Day of Migrants and Refugees can be found here in English and Spanish.

Find here a USCCB provided “Prayer for Migrants and Refugees”

Watch this video from PBS Charlotte on REFUGEES FINDING HOME IN CHARLOTTE which highlights the refugee resettlement work of Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte.  Charlotte Regional Office Director Sandy Buck is interviewed.

2020 Labor Day Statement from the U.S. Bishops – released 9/1/20

Labor Day, a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the first Monday in September, honors the many contributions of all who work.  On Labor Day we celebrate laborers!  On Labor Day we pray for workers!  Please remember in your prayers all who labor, especially laborers facing unjust working conditions, and laborers who risk their safety and lives on behalf of others.  Find here a suggested prayer from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Each year the USCCB issues a statement to mark Labor Day.  This year, the statement of Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City is titled: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5)  Rebuilding a Dignified Post-COVID World.  (Read the full statement in English here and in Spanish here).  Find also on the website of the USCCB, a resource page for Labor Day which includes Primers, Backgrounders, and Educational Materials on a variety of work related issues.  Consider watching a Four minute video on what Catholic Social Teaching has to day about the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Laborers.

Calls for Healing, Justice and Prayers

On May 29, seven U.S. bishop chairmen of committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a joint statement in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd and the protests which have broken out in Minneapolis and in other cities in the United States.  This joint statement was followed by a May 31 statementfrom the President of the USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez.   Find also here related recent statements by Catholic Charities USA and The Sisters of Mercy.  The USCCB has developed a wide range of resources for adult learners in parishes and for students at various educational levels to fight against racism.  Find here a link to a page with these resources.

In his General Audience address given on June 3, Pope Francis stated:

I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media.  Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.

My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.  At the same time, we have to recognize that “the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating.  Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost”.

Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.  Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn.  May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world.  May God bless all of you and your families.

Find here a video of Pope Francis giving this June 3 statement.

CCUSA Policy Paper – Poverty and Racism: Overlapping Threats to the Common Good

Laudato Si’ Celebrates Fifth Anniversary on May 24

Pope Francis invites the Church to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’ (May 24).  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has provided bilingual resources to observe the fifth anniversary of the encyclical Laudato Si’ which can be found at: www.usccb.org/environment.  Find here a one-page resource sheet on Laudato Si’.  

Pray for Creation, Pray for Our Common Home

Pope Francis has asked Catholics each year to pray for creation on September 1.  Calling for this day each year to be a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis asks the entire global Catholic community to pray for our common home.  (Find here a “Common Prayer for Earth and for Humanity).  After leading the Angelus in Rome on August 30, 2020, the Holy Father commented on this day of concern for the Earth.  “The day after tomorrow, 1st September, is World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. From this date, until 4 October, we will celebrate with our Christian brothers and sisters from various Churches and traditions the “Jubilee of the Earth”, to commemorate the establishment, 50 years ago, of Earth Day.”  This World Day of Prayer for Creation also falls during a Special “Laudato Si” Anniversary Year, which runs to May 24, 2021.  Find links here to USCCB resources on environment justice, a special USCCB resource on the Season of Creation, and Care of Creation resources from Catholic Relief Services.

The Vatican released a video message to mark the September 1, 2020 World Day of Prayer for Creation.  The full text message of Pope Francis can be found here.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 27, 2020 theme has been announced.  The chosen theme for this year’s celebration is “Forced like Jesus Christ to Flee.”  For more information go to: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-03/pope-francis-theme-world-day-migrants-refugees-2020.html.  The basis for this reflection theme is the experience of Jesus Christ and the Holy Family as displaced persons and refugees.

Additional Resources 

January is Poverty Awareness Month (Find information HERE

2020 World Day of Peace Message from Pope Francis

January 5-11, 2020 – National Migration Week 2020 Theme: Promoting a Church and a World for All.  Find Info here

2019-2020 USCCB Respect Life Program Theme: Christ Out Hope: In Every Season

2019 U.S. Bishops Labor Day Statement – Go to www.usccb.org/jphd

U.S. Bishops Promulgate Pastoral Letter Against Racism

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism” was approved and promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 14, 2018.

Read the USCCB Press Release Regarding the Pastoral Letter Against Racism (in English) 

The USCCB has released in September 2019 three new educational resources to help combat racism.

Examining Our Subconscious Perceptions

Racism and Migration in the United States

Study Guide to Open Wide Our Hearts

Pope Francis Launches Share the Journey Campaign on Sept. 27

Pope Francis Encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praised Be) Released on June 18, 2015

On Care for Our Common Home (Laudato Si’) is the new appeal from Pope Francis addressed to “every person living on this planet” for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path. This encyclical is written with both hope and resolve, looking to our common future with candor and humility. (quoted from the USCCB website)

CLICK HERE for resources on Laudato Si’.

CLICK HERE for a video from America Magazine “Top Ten Messages of Laudato Si’”

CLICK HERE for the full text of Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, upon the release of Laudato Si’

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking – USCCB announces availability of resources

The first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking is on Feb. 8, the Feast Day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan. After becoming a religious sister, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting those who suffer. On Feb. 8, you can help raise awareness and act to end the violence and injustice that affect victims of modern-day trafficking. A flyer, sample intentions, the Become a SHEPHERD Toolkit, and a broad range of educational resources on human trafficking provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services, are available here, which links to the USCCB website anti-trafficking program web page.

ARCHBISHOP KURTZ, USCCB PRESEIDENT, URGES ALL TO PRAY, ACT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY IN MESSAGE FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY. READ ARCHBISHOP KURTZ’S STATEMENT, AND FIND HERE RESOURCES TO STUDY DR. KING’S “LETTER FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL”.

March on Washington

U.S. Bishops Recognize 50th Anniversary of the “March on Washington”  – Find Statement Here.

Quote from Pope Francis

“‘Adam, where are you?’ ‘Where is your brother?’ These are the two questions which God asks at the dawn of human history, and which he also asks each man and woman in our own day, which he also asks us. But I would like us to ask a third question: “Has any one of us wept because of this situation and others like it?” Has any one of us grieved for the death of these brothers and sisters? . . . We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion – “suffering with” others: the globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep! . . . let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty of our world, of our own hearts, and of all those who in anonymity make social and economic decisions which open the door to tragic situations like this. ‘Has any one wept?’ Today has anyone wept in our world?” (Pope Francis, Homily during Visit to Lampedusa,7/8/13)

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Overview of Social Concerns & Advocacy Office

Catholic Charities supports efforts to put faith into action on behalf of justice. Through the Social Concerns & Advocacy Office a wide range of educational programs and resources promote justice, address unjust social conditions, and work for the protection and respect for all human life – from conception to natural death.

The Social Concerns & Advocacy Office works to educate the people of the diocese through special events and workshops held regionally and at the individual parish level. Catholics can stay informed about public policy issues through Catholic Voice NC (CVNC), led by the Bishop of Charlotte.

The Respect Life Program of the Social Concerns & Advocacy Office works to implement the US Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities in the Diocese of Charlotte.

National collections and other activities of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) fight poverty in America and worldwide, and promote greater awareness of the causes of domestic and global poverty.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In January 2007, Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte and Bishop Michael F. Burbridge of Raleigh sent a letter to all pastors in North Carolina urging them to acquaint their parishioners with the Catholic Church’s teachings on stem-cell research, especially those aspects that violate the Church’s moral teaching. They have also provided the following three educational bulletin inserts: “Introduction to the Ethics and Science of Stem Cell Research” (PDF)“Myths and Fact of Stem Cell Research” (PDF), and “A Call to Action” (PDF).

The Church Calls for Immigration Reform

The five Catholic bishops of the Province of Atlanta, in a statement released in November 2006 (PDF), urge the Congressional representatives of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to work for a “comprehensive reform of immigration law through civil dialogue, in the spirit of cooperation and love.”

Death Penalty Moratorium

“Seeking Justice, Seeking Fairness, Promoting Life” (PDF) is a resource from spring 2005 on the Catholic Church’s teaching on the death penalty and on the campaign for a moratorium on executions in North Carolina. A letter by Bishop Peter J. Jugis (PDF) written on May 3, 2005, in support of the death penalty moratorium in North Carolina was published in the Catholic News Herald on May 6, 2005.

50th Anniversary of Pacem in Terris

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Pacem in Terris, the encyclical of Blessed John XXIII, published between the first and second sessions of the Second Vatican Council on April 11, 1963.

Pope Benedict XVI’s 2013 World Day of Peace Message

Blessed are the Peacemakers” is the theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s 2013 message for the World Day of Peace, celebrated on January 1 each year. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us at that we all have a role to play in building peace in our communities and world. His 2013 message focuses on human dignity, rights and responsibilities, as well as the 50th anniversary of John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed resources to help spread the word about this message for the World Day of Peace.

Past messages for the World Day of Peace also are available online.

Pope Benedict XVI Releases His Third Encyclical

Pope Benedict XVI signed his third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, on June 29, 2009, on the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The USCCB has produced resources to help diocesan, parish, and other ministry leaders explore and promote the message of Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical.

Pope Francis Releases His First Encyclical

Pope Francis’ first encyclical, “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”), is a celebration of Christian faith as the guiding light of a “successful and fruitful life,” inspiring social action as well as devotion to God, and illuminating “every aspect of human existence,” including philosophy and the natural sciences.

Pope Francis Releases His Second Encyclical

Pope Francis second encyclical Laudato Si‘” (“Praise Be”) Celebrates Fifth Anniversary on May 24   invites the Church to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’ (May 24).  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has provided bilingual resources to learn about the encyclical Laudato Si’ which can be found at: www.usccb.org/environment.  Also, find here a one-page resource sheet on Laudato Si’.  

U.S. Bishops Support Care of Creation and Faithful Stewardship of the Environment 

The web page of the USCCB Environmental Justice Program provides statements from the U.S. Bishops and the Vatican on a broad range of environmental justice topics. The most comprehensive statement from the USCCB on global climate change is “Global Climate Change A Plea for Dialogue Prudence and the Common Good.”

The Catholic Climate Covenant works closely with the USCCB Environmental Justice Program. On the website of the Catholic Climate Covenant, you will find numerous comments made by Pope Francis on the environment, including his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’.  Go to link here

The Catholic Climate Covenant also highlights that on or around the Feast of St. Francis, who in 2014 was named as the Patron Saint of those who promote ecology by St. John Paul II, is an excellent opportunity to pledge new and renewed support for working to protect the environment. Go to link here

 U.S. Catholic Bishops Support Immigration Reform

Resources Available Here

“Now is the time for Catholics to let their elected officials know that they support immigration reform…We are an immigrant Church and an immigrant nation. The Church has grown with the nation and since the beginning has helped integrate immigrants into our culture and economy.” Archbishop José Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

U.S. Conference of Bishops and Catholic Relief Services address plight of unaccompanied children from Central America entering the USA.

http://www.usccb.org/about/children-and-migration/

http://crs.org/guatemala/unaccompanied-minors-an-alarming-surge-in-numbers/

USCCB – Pastoral Letter Against Racism – Supporting Resources

To support the dissemination of “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” the USCCB has developed a wide range of resources for adult learners in parishes and for students at various educational levels.  Find here a link to a page with these resources for parishes and schools, as well as other resources.

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/index.cfm

 USCCB Resources on Racial Issues in the USA

USCCB Launches New Task Force to Address Racial Issues in the USA

USCCB President Calls for Dialogue, Peace in the Midst of Violence

USCCB Resource Page on Racism

USCCB January 2016 Backgrounder “Racism: Confronting the Poison in Our Common Home”