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The Faithful Citizenship Web site includes a wide range of resources for parishes, committees, educational programs, youth and young adult ministries, and other groups. If you haven't already started, you may want to consider the following ideas to begin developing a plan for sharing the message of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
An article in the diocesan newspaper could describe the Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship statement and diocesan plans for sharing it. A series of articles on this topic, written in March through May of 2012, are available on the USCCB Media Blog.
Your diocesan newspaper may also want to consider running a series of articles on Catholic social teaching and the issues addressed in the statement.
The diocesan bishop may want to write a column in the diocesan newspaper about the statement, adding his own message for the local Catholic community.
Developing a Web page or link for Faithful Citizenship on the diocesan home page can help local people find the statement and related resources easily. You may want to link to the USCCB Faithful Citizenship Web site (www.faithfulcitizenship.org).
Develop a press release to incorporate a local message and notify local media about the Faithful Citizenship statement. The diocesan bishop may want to add his own quote.
If you have a diocesan television or radio program, or if you have access to local cable television outlets, consider doing a program on Faithful Citizenship.
Early in 2012, USCCB will send an e-mail message to parishes notifying them of the Faithful Citizenship statement and the Web site. If you haven't already, consider sending USCCB a list of e-mail addresses for parishes, or the e-mail address of a member of the diocesan staff who will forward USCCB e-mail messages to parishes. Periodically through the next year, e-mail updates will also be sent. Sending a message from the diocesan bishop to pastors can help call attention to these Faithful Citizenshipe-mail messages.
In August 2012, USCCB will send a promotional mailer on Faithful Citizenship to some parishes and a sample copy of the statement . Sending a message from the diocesan bishop to pastors can help call attention to these Faithful Citizenship mailings.
Faithful Citizenship has implications for many ministries. Social ministry and pro-life leaders can share this message with their contacts in parishes and others in the diocese. Teachers and religious educators can share the basic message with their students, building a foundation for future "faithful citizens." Offices for evangelization, Hispanic or Black Catholics, and family life can also share the message with their contacts. Focusing a diocesan staff meeting on the statement and developing a plan to share it can be an important part of the overall strategy.
These parish leaders often face challenging questions and situations during election years. Those who provide continuing education for priests, deacons, pastoral associates, and others can sponsor sessions to train these leaders on how to share Faithful Citizenship, highlighting "do's and don'ts." The USCCB is developing a speakers' bureau as well as training and workshop packages that can be used in a wide range of sessions. Contact USCCB for information.
Many diocesan offices host regular meetings, ongoing training programs, annual conventions and other gatherings. These represent excellent opportunities to share the political responsibility message with key leaders from parishes and schools. For example, a gathering of principals, DRE's, or a Theology on Tap session can be focused on Faithful Citizenship. The USCCB is developing a speakers' bureau as well as training and workshop packages that can be used in a wide range of sessions. Contact USCCB for information.
Hosting a nonpartisan candidate forum and sponsoring nonpartisan parish voter registration efforts are two valuable ways of encouraging civic participation and helping voters learn about the candidates and the issues. In the past, many dioceses have been able to host these events in a manner that provided an important service to the community while easily meeting all legal requirements.
Consider urging parishes to hold a "Voter Education Day," a Sunday when they distribute the Faithful Citizenship bulletin insert and provide parishioners with information on the issues and the Faithful Citizenship Web site. The USCCB Office of General Counsel (202-541-3300) provides detailed guidance on what is allowed and not allowed under the law.
Contact your State Catholic Conference for additional ideas and guidance.
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