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.
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.
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.
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 www.mdcatholic.org/2021testimony.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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