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Catholic Voice Weekly Update

Jan. 26, 2021 — Annapolis, MD

Bowie Family Leads this Week's Prayer

(download the prayer in English and Spanish here)

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 an article on our website two years ago after adopting Zelie-Louise. Since then, they have been able to adopt a second daughter.

Click above to join them in prayer, and read or download the prayer here (in English and Spanish).

Maryland General Assembly Update

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.

The testimony submitted 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.

Legislative Links

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 on our 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.

Listen to Molly here. You also are invited to join her for a Facebook Live with the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Respect Life office on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m.

Respect Life Events

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 to pre-register and 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.

Vaccination Links

Catholic Schools Week is Coming!

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).

Learn more about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archdiocese of Washington, and Diocese of Wilmington (which includes the eastern shore).

REMINDER: Catholic Advocacy Day


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 kit to invite friends and fellow parishioners to join you on Catholic Advocacy Day!

Of Note

Please keep Most 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 at The Dialog

The Catholic Standard covered former Senate President Mike Miller’s funeral at 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.


The Catholic Advocacy Network gives you a voice on important issues in Maryland. Learn more and join our network.


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Meola Family Leads Prayer for Elected Officials

This week, the Meola Family of Bowie, Maryland, leads us in prayer for our elected officials. Both of their daughters joined the family through the gift of adoption and pray for our elected officials to embrace the gifts of adoption and life. 

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Cardinal Gregory Prays for Elected Officials

This week's prayer for our elected officials - we pray for them every Monday, holding them and their work in prayer - is led by Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Washington. The Archdiocese of Washington includes our nation's capital, as well as five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's and St. Mary's.

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Maryland Bishops Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day today, we do so with heavy hearts, yet also with hope.

The racism, strife, violence, and inequity that have marked our nation over the past year sadly show that we still are a nation divided. We have not yet achieved the promise of unity and peace envisioned by Rev. King and longed for by so many throughout our nation’s history.

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Follow Our Testimony

More than 2,500 bills can be introduced in a legislative session. The staff of the Maryland Catholic Conference reviews and tracks them, and provides testimony on proposed legislation primarily related to respect for life, education, and social and economic justice. A list of bills on which the Conference has testified, with links to the testimony, are posted online throughout the session at

Read more

Statement on the death of Senator Mike Miller

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference Board of Governors, spoke tonight on the death of former State Senate President Thomas V. Michael Miller:

“It is with great sadness that we learned the news of President Miller’s passing tonight. He was stalwart in living his life fully to the very end, and we pray that God that will bring him peace and bring comfort to his family.

“He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of leadership, political acumen, and commitment to legislating through bipartisan cooperation in order to achieve the common good for the people of Maryland. 

“As a Catholic community, we are deeply grateful for all he did for the Church and to champion the cause of educational options for all, especially low-income families in Baltimore City and throughout the state. He continued to love his family and serve his constituents to his very last days. May his example of courage and stamina be an inspiration to all of us for many years to come.”


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Prayer as Maryland General Assembly Opens

The Maryland General Assembly opened today for an unusual session that will be mostly virtual for the first time in the Assembly's 442-year history. Jenny Kraska, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, offers a brief message and prayer for our legislators.


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Maryland Archbishops: Call for Prayer after US Capitol Protests


The two Catholic archbishops in Maryland are calling for prayers following protests and violence at the U.S. Capitol today.

Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, is chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference Board of Governors:

“Our hearts are heavy as we witness the shocking and unlawful protests occurring in our nation’s capital. We fervently pray for peace and for God’s protection over our country, our lawmakers, and all those in harm’s way this terrible day. May peace-loving Americans of good will throughout the United States come together to engender peace, reconciliation and healing in our wounded and broken nation, which remains and must always be one, under God."

Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, is a member of the Board of Governors; the archdiocese includes the District of Columbia as well as five Maryland counties:

“Our United States Capitol is sacred ground and a place where people over the past centuries have rightly demonstrated, representing a wide variety of opinions. We Americans should honor the place where our nation’s laws and policies are debated and decided. We should feel violated when the legacy of freedom enshrined in that building is disrespected and desecrated. 

“I pray for safety – of our elected officials, staffers, workers, protesters, law enforcement personnel, and neighbors to the United States Capitol. There are injuries and tremendous harm, including reports about the loss of life.  Together, we must intentionally pause and pray for peace in this critical moment. The divisive tone that has recently so dominated our national conversations must change. Those who resort to inflammatory rhetoric must accept some responsibility for inciting the increasing violence in our nation.

 “We are called to be a people of democratic values that respect the opinions of others, even when we disagree with them. As people of faith seeking to bring our Lord into this world by how we live, we must acknowledge the human dignity of those with whom we disagree and seek to work with them to ensure the common good for all.”

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On Sen. Mike Miller's Retirement

The Maryland Catholic Conference today thanked Senator Mike Miller, who announced his retirement, for his advocacy on behalf of the underserved in Maryland:

Throughout his 50-year legislative career, Senator Mike Miller has been an unwavering partner in advocating for and advancing programs to support and lift up low-income families and children in Maryland.

He continues to be a strong advocate for all Maryland students, whether they attend public or Catholic schools.

Timothy Maloney, member of the Maryland Catholic Conference Administrative Board and former state delegate, notes, “For half a century, Mike Miller provided unequaled service to the people of Maryland, always motivated by his faith and love of our state.  On countless occasions, his leadership and counsel made all the difference for the work of the Maryland Catholic Conference.  We celebrate his legacy and our thoughts are with him and his family during this holiest of seasons.” 

The Catholic bishops of Maryland and Maryland Catholic Conference staff have been praying for Senator Mike Miller throughout his illness. Our prayers for him and his family continue. May God be with them always.


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Maryland Bishops: Stop Federal Execution

candle in the darkness

The eight Catholic bishops serving Maryland, including Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, Washington Archbishop Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly, are urging President Donald Trump to stop the planned federal execution of Dustin Higgs, scheduled for Jan. 15, 2021. The bishops today also wrote to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan seeking his support in fighting this execution.

In their letter to President Trump, the bishops wrote, “Alternative sentences, such as life without parole, are punishments through which society can be kept safe. The death penalty does not create a path to justice. Rather, it contributes to the growing disrespect for human life and perpetuates a cycle of violence in our society.”

They also quoted Pope Francis: “Human justice is imperfect, and the failure to recognize its fallibility can transform it into a source of injustice." Two years ago, Pope Francis updated the Catholic Catechism to affirm that the use of the death penalty is “inadmissible.”

In their letter to Governor Hogan, the bishops wrote that they are proud of Maryland’s leadership in ending the death penalty and noted, “While we recognize that your powers as Governor of Maryland do not extend to federal death penalty cases, we urge you to intervene with the Trump Administration to ask that this execution be stopped.”

They also recognized the pain of victims and survivors: “We grieve for the victims of violent crime and murder. We recognize the terrible suffering of their families and pray that God will provide them peace and healing.”

Dustin Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of Tamika Black, Tanji Jackson, and Mishann Chinn in Prince George’s County. He is in prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The letters’ signatories include Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori; Washington Archbishop, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory; and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly; two Washington auxiliary bishops: Bishop Roy E. Campbell and Bishop Mario Dorsonville; and three additional bishops from Baltimore: Auxiliary Bishop Adam J. Parker; Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Denis J. Madden; and Auxiliary Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, CSsR.

About the Maryland Catholic Conference (@mdcatholic)

The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three Maryland (arch)dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Wilmington. Maryland is home to more than one million diverse Catholics.

Additional resource: United States Bishop Chairmen Renew Call to Stop Executions

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