This week as we observe the National Vigil and March for Life, the Meola family of Bowie is leading our prayer for Maryland’s elected officials. Bethany and Dan were featured in anarticle on our websitetwo years ago after adopting Zelie-Louise. Since then, they have been able to adopt a second daughter.
With the session nearly two weeks in, the number of bills and hearings continues to grow. As of today, over 1,200 pieces of legislation have been introduced in either the Maryland House of Delegates or the Senate.
Thetestimonysubmitted by the Maryland Catholic Conference so far covers a wide range of topics affecting the life and dignity of Marylanders. Among them:
Training to strengthen reporting of child abuse and human trafficking
Protection of older adults from financial exploitation and abuse
Environmental protection legislation
Duty to report police misconduct
Support for confidential mental health services for police officers
An end to life without parole for those convicted as juveniles
This week, Kelly Thompson, with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, is testifying on proposed legislation to help fund the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC). The MLSC provides grants to 36 nonprofits that provide civil legal aid across Maryland, including Catholic Charities and its Immigration Legal Services(IPS) program, which is one of two legal aid programs Catholic Charities offers for low-income residents.
“Each year, ILS opens more than 2,000 cases for Maryland residents in matters ranging from consultations to full representation. ILS staff also provide educational outreach to the communities we serve through information sessions and radio programs to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is being shared. ILS also recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono attorneys and matches them with especially vulnerable Maryland residents for pro bono representation,” said Ms. Thompson in her written testimony. She also if testifying in person.
IPS clients have come from more than 135 nations. Services are provided through several Maryland offices: in Wheaton, Gaithersburg and Temple Hills (that location is temporarily closed) and include visas, assistance for battered spouses and children, and more. Learn more and become a volunteer attorney.
Have you ever wondered how a law is made in Maryland, or maybe you don’t know who your state representatives are? Get links to this information, plus our testimony and the General Assembly’s hearing calendar here onour website.
Respect Life News and Events
Molly Sheahan, our associate director for respect life advocacy, recently was the guest on the National Catholic Educational Association’s weekly podcast. Molly spoke on her work representing Catholic values in the political arena and the importance of protecting the dignity of each human person from conception to natural death.
National Vigil for Life, Thursday, Jan. 28, 8 p.m.-9 a.m. Traditionally held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and concelebrated by hundreds of priests and bishops, the Mass will be virtual this year.Watch the Vigil Mass, followed by holy hours from around the nationthroughout the night. Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori will celebrate the closing Mass at 8 a.m.
Maryland Expands Eligibility for COVID Vaccinations
This week, Maryland entered Phase 1C for COVID-19 vaccinations. Residents who are 65 years or older, school personnel, and additional essential workers, such as grocery workers, mass transit workers and clergy, are now eligible. The state has been adding new vaccination sites, as well, including many Giant, CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart stores.
Despite the expanded eligibility, vaccine supplies may be limited in some areas. Prince George's County Health and Human Services is asking eligible people topre-registerand is reserving vaccinations for county residents.
WTOP Radio reports that Giant and Walmart locations in Montgomery County are accepting appointments for residents age 65 and older while Montgomery County Health Department clinics are limiting appointments for those age 75 older.Holy Cross Hospital, which has two locations in the county, also is holding off on appointments for residents in Phase IC due to a limited supply of vaccines.
Before making an appointment, use the State of Maryland links below to check your eligibility and to find a site near you.
Education is always a top issue in the General Assembly session and this year is no different. Last week, Governor Hogan included $10 million in the budget he has submitted to the General Assembly for BOOST, a state program that provides low-income Maryland families with much needed scholarship support for their children’s K-12 education. We will continue tracking this and other proposed legislation that will impact our schools and families during the current session.
Next Sunday marks the kick-off to the national Catholic Schools Week, with special events and open houses throughout nearly all Catholic schools.
There is a lot to celebrate. Vicky McCann, director of curriculum for the Archdiocese of Washington, told the Catholic Standard that average test scores for reading and math assessments taken this fall matched those of the prior year. This is despite changes in learning due to the pandemic (each school made a local decision, using archdiocesan guidance, on whether to teach in-person, online or through a hybrid approach).
REMINDER: Even virtually, we can be #CatholicStrong! Join thousands of Catholics statewide in speaking up on hope and justice, Tuesday, Feb. 16. We will prepare the action alerts. All you have to do is send them!Learn more and use our parish tool kitto invite friends and fellow parishioners to join you on Catholic Advocacy Day!
Please keepMost Reverend W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of Wilmington and former auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, in prayer. He was hospitalized last week while awaiting heart bypass surgery this week. Get the latest updates online atThe Dialog.
The Catholic Standard coveredformer Senate President Mike Miller’s funeralat the parish where he and his children were baptized, St. John the Evangelist church in Clinton. The funeral was livestreamed on the parish Facebook page due to COVID restrictions on attendance.
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