Maryland special session anticipated, Black Catholic History Month and more

Special session, hunger awareness, Black Catholic History Month - and the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree



Nov. 15, 2021 | Annapolis, MD

The U.S. bishops are meeting in Baltimore this week. Please keep them in prayer.
You can follow along here.

Redistricting on the Table in Special Session


Maryland’s lawmakers have indicated they are planning to hold a special session starting Dec. 6 to discuss legislative redistricting.

Redistricting of state and congressional districts is required by the constitutions of both the United States and Maryland following the U.S. census taken every ten years. Maryland has eight congressional districts and 47 state legislative districts.

Both the governor and the General Assembly develop their own redistricting maps, and typically release proposals prior to the General Assembly’s regular session, which this winter will begin on Jan. 12, 2022.

The governor’s plan is formally introduced on the first day of the session. If the General Assembly passes a state redistricting plan within the following 45 days, its plan goes into effect, with no veto possibility. Otherwise, the governor’s plan goes into effect. Congressional redistricting is a little different because the governor can veto the General Assembly’s maps.

“While we don’t take a position on redistricting, we will be watching this closely,” said Jenny Kraska, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. “We also anticipate legislators may decide to take up possible veto overrides of legislation passed in 2021 that subsequently was vetoed by the governor.”

Some redistricting proposals already available 

Redistricting is complex and can be very political. Both Governor Hogan and the leaders of the General Assembly have undertaken consultation processes already.  

Governor Hogan appointed the members on the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, which developed recommended maps that are online, along with information on the process. The Democratic leaders of the General Assembly have released proposed congressional district concepts developed by the Maryland General Assembly Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission whose members they appoint.

Maryland Matters website has coverage of both proposals: Governor’s Citizens Commission maps and congressional conceptual maps released by General Assembly leaders for public input.

Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week


The Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for policies aimed at eliminating homelessness and food insecurity for families and individuals across our state. In observance of National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week (through Nov. 21), consider donating a little extra to your local parish food bank or Catholic Charities, which provides housing and food support, and sign up for our Catholic Advocacy Network to ensure you get action alerts related to poverty and hunger during the upcoming legislative session. 

Pray for Dobbs: National Online Prayer


Abortion takes the lives of over 600,000 unborn babies every year in the United States. The upcoming Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the greatest opportunity in a generation to change that. This is the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states.

You are invited to join this online gathering of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians praying together for a just outcome that protects millions of unborn babies and their mothers, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m. Register here.

Black Catholic History Month


November is Black Catholic History Month and parishioners are invited to celebrate the gifts of Black Catholics. Washington Auxiliary Bishop Roy Campbell will celebrate Mass in the Archdiocese of Washington on Nov. 20 at Nativity parish in Washington, DC. The Archdiocese of Baltimore has a large number of resources online, as does the Baltimore-based National Black Catholic Congress.

Get Involved with the Synod Locally


Dioceses worldwide are participating in a listening process for the upcoming Synod, rooted in prayer and guided by the Holy Spirit. “For a synodal Church: communion, participation, mission” is an invitation by Pope Francis for “the entire Church to reflect on a theme that is decisive for its life and mission.” Learn more about how your (arch)diocese is involved:

Of Note 

Congratulations to Ogechi Akalegbere, parishioner of St. Rose of Lima in Gaithersburg, who has just received the national 2021 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops).

Rockefeller Christmas tree from Maryland Catholic family: The iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City this year will be a Norway spruce from the lawn of Julie and Devon Price, parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Elkton. This is the first time that the tree has come from Maryland.

The Dialog, the Wilmington diocesan news outlet, was there when the tree was cut down and has full coverage, including a video (shown here). NBC’s Today Show covered its arrival in New York. The tree lighting is Dec. 1.

Want to know more about the tradition? The first Rockefeller Christmas tree was bought and put up by workers in 1931.

Plenary indulgence: The Vatican  extended the opportunity for a plenary indulgence for the entire month of November for those visiting a cemetery on eight days during the month.

Looking forward to a Thanksgiving at home? Why not try one of these traditional Maryland recipes!

And finally, a Thanksgiving Day prayer:

Lord, we thank you
for the goodness of our people
and for the spirit of justice
that fills this nation.
We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the
land and the challenge of the cities.

We thank you for our work and our rest,
for one another, and for our homes.
We thank you, Lord:
accept our thanksgiving on this day.
We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.




The legislative session starts soon. Make sure your voice is heard! Sign up for the Catholic Advocacy Network to get alerts and news. Learn more and join our network.