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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. In the months before the presidential election, a series of articles on this topic will be available on the ToGoForth.org blog of the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.
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 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, adding his own message for the local Catholic community. Alternatively, he could write a column about civilize dialogue, utilizing materials from Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate.
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 or Civilize It.
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 or the call to civility.
Sending a message from the diocesan bishop to pastors can help call attention to Faithful Citizenship. These brief bulletin announcements can also make great content for brief email messages. Bishops can also encourage pastors to use the homily helps available on FaithfulCitizenship.org.
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."
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.
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 inserts Part 1 and Part 2 and provide parishioners with information on the issues and the Faithful Citizenship Web site. The USCCB Office of General Counsel 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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