Friday January 15, 2010

Sacramento Bishop Calls for Day of Penance Jan 22 for ‘Sinful Scourge’ of Abortion

By Kathleen Gilbert

SACRAMENTO, California, January 14, 2010 ( – Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto has declared a day of reparation for “the sinful national scourge of abortion” on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Friday, January 22.

In a December 22 letter to parishioners, Soto gave guidelines for individuals seeking to fast prayerfully as part of the day of penance, and also encouraged special works of charity.

“Through our acts of penance and works of charity on this day, we will express our desire to restore a culture of life and a civilization of love in this country so marred by the court decision of Roe v. Wade as well as other acts of violence against the innocent,” wrote Bishop Soto.

Soto will also preside as the main celebrant of Sacramento’s annual pro-life Mass Friday afternoon at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. He has also distributed information for a local pro-life group’s “Candlelight Prayer Vigil for Life” that evening in front of a Sacramento Planned Parenthood abortion mill.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Sacramento has reported unexpected success with a new initiative to unite conscientous Catholic California voters in a network to help them make their beliefs heard about issues of statewide public policy.

During the Life and Dignity Sunday effort in parishes last month, over 17,100 parishioners from 74 parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento registered to join the statewide Catholic Legislative Network.

Steve Pehanich, the senior director for advocacy and education of the California Catholic Conference in Sacramento, said the response was “far more successful than we ever imagined,” according to a Catholic Herald article.

Pehanich said the network’s goal, which has many more California dioceses yet to recruit, is to reach 100,000 members. “This really bodes well for our upcoming efforts in other dioceses,” he added.

The Catholic Legislative Network was created two years ago by the bishops of California to give parishioners a way to participate in the creation of public policy; however, the initiative didn’t have the electronic infrastructure to support a substantial number of members at first. Pehanich characterized the network as “an organizational vehicle that will enable members to become well-informed and act on important issues in our state from the perspective of Catholic teaching.”

Members of the network will receive a weekly e-newsletter with news about public policy issues of concern to the California bishops, as well as alerts to help members send a message to state senators or assembly members.

Click here to learn more about California’s Catholic Legislative Network.