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Life and Dignity Sunday: Good News from Diocese of Stockton

We have good news to share about being faith-filled citizens and going out and making disciples!
The California Legislative Network (CLN) is an on-line organizational vehicle that was started four years ago by the bishops of California. The CLN enables registered members to become informed and to act on the important issues affecting their state. A person who registers on the website receives a weekly educational tool called Public Policy that includes a brief overview of the week’s happenings in Sacramento and Washington, DC, as well as information about how the bishops feel these events relate to Catholic teachings. Registrants also receive periodic alerts asking them to express their positions on crucial issues to their legislators.
Bishops throughout California established a Life and Dignity Sunday in every diocese to educate and register Catholics for the network. In response to the social justice focus of Season 3 of ARISE Together in Christ from RENEW International, Bishop Blaire of Stockton, CA decided to connect Stockton’s registration to CLN with the registration for ARISE Season 3. Life and Dignity Sunday was scheduled to occur in all parishes in the diocese on the weekend of November 5-6, 2011.
During their training, ARISE small Christian community leaders were given a short explanation and shown a seven-minute video that included an invitation from Bishop Blaire. The leaders were also given materials to share with their members in order to encourage registration in CLN. For Stockton, Life and Dignity Sunday was an opportunity to signup ARISE and non-ARISE participants alike. The ARISE leaders would be pivotal in ensuring a successful diocese-wide registration.
In January 2012, Rich Fowler, Bishop Blaire’s delegate for special projects, visited with the ARISE small Christian community leaders to give a report on how well the parishes had implemented the diocesan social justice initiative the previous November. The average per-parish registration in all the dioceses of California was 200. Stockton, which is by far the smallest diocese, had an average per-parish registration of 267! A total of over 10,000 people registered.
Rich thanked all the participants and shared that he believes the success was due to the ARISE small-group leaders bringing this awareness to their groups and taking an active role in the Life and Dignity Sunday in their respective parishes. The affirmation for the parishes is that there are now have more than 10,000 new disciples who are making the connection between their call to discipleship and their role as faith-filled citizens!


Sr. Maureen P. Colleary, FSP is on the Pastoral Services team at RENEW International and a Franciscan Sister of Peace.

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