UP Catholic 07 14 2017 E Edition Page 4

4 July 14, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org Promoting the common good - a look back T hroughout his papacy, Pope Fran- cis has emphasized the needs of the vulnerable, urging people of faith to care for the marginalized and for- gotten. Leading by example, the Holy Father has hosted refugee families at the Vatican, opened a medical clinic for the homeless, and recognized the dignity of all persons, includ- ing those who struggle with addiction or are serving time in prison. Pope Francis has set a tone of mercy, calling for people of faith to promote genuine interaction and service to others in their community. In June, the Catholic bish- ops in Michigan and addi- tional members of the Mich- igan Catholic Conference (MCC) Board of Directors brought the Holy Fathers witness to the State Capi- tol. Over lunch and within conversations, leadership of the MCC met with state lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle to engage in open dialogue and build on issues of common concern. Guided by the leadership of Most Reverend Allen H. Vign- eron, Archbishop of Detroit and chairman of the MCC Board of Directors, the Catholic Church in this state is following the example set by Pope Francis to speak for the marginal- ized and those on the periphery. Two weeks after the luncheon was held, lawmakers passed the 2017-2018 State of Michigan budget and returned to their home districts for the summer. This break presents the opportunity to highlight here the passage of several MCC-supported measures in the irst half of the 2017-2018 legislative session. Early in the year, lawmakers approved a package of criminal justice reform bills. These measures encourage genuine rehabilitation to make communities safer. The legislation pro- vides specialty programming to help rehabil- itate young prisoners and encourages the im- plementation of evidence-based supervision practices that reduce recidivism. The bills also expand participation in the Swift and Sure Probation Supervision Program, an intensive program for high-risk felony offenders with a history of probation violations or failures. Another area of legislative success has been the fight against human tricking, or mod- ern-day slavery. Pope Francis has urged those in government to combat the crime, giving voice to our younger brothers and sisters who have been wounded. Lawmakers this year passed laws that allow victims to defer and dismiss prostitution-related offenses they were forced to commit while being tricked and that allow expert witness testimony on the behavioral patterns of victims to count as evidence at trial. Both measures account for the impact of the trauma on victims, recogniz- ing these individuals need support and un- derstanding, not criminal charges and public shaming. While continued efforts are needed to address tricking, the measures helped to change the conversation. The formulation of the state budget has created beneficial policies for Michiganders. Lawmakers continue to fund the Michigan Parenting and Pregnancy Support program, a policy that supports women in crisis pregnan- cies and promotes alternatives to abortion. The budget also provides energy assistance through the state, which draws down more federal food assistance for low-income fami- lies; funding to help struggling Michiganders purchase clothing for their children; and appropriations to help shelter and transition the homeless into permanent living. For the second year, Michigans budget pro- vides $2.5 million to assist nonpublic schools in meeting state health, safety, and welfare requirements and ensuring all children are kept safe, regardless of where they attend school. Finally, for the first time, the state budget provides $300,000 in competitive grants for nonpublic schools to enhance their students participation in robotics and Science Olympiad competitions. Governor Snyder will soon consider the budget proposal passed by lawmakers to determine which items will be included in the final law. Other important issues, including protect- ing children against threats such as female genital mutilation, providing for the states behavioral health needs, and addressing the opioid crisis, have received significant atten- tion thus far in 2017. The Catholic Church has been a presence in these and other con- versations about the common good, drawing attention to the needs of the most vulnerable in society. A year and a half remains in the current legislative session. More bills will be introduced, discussed, and enacted, impacting millions of Michiganders. Michigan Catholic Conference, on behalf of the Catholic bishops in this state, looks forward to continuing to advocate for the protec- tion of human dignity and those most in need. To learn more, visit www.micatholic.org/can/. The Word from Lansing is a regular col- umn for Catholic news outlets and is written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) President and CEO Paul A. Long. Michigan Catholic Conference is the icial public poli- cy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. The Marquette Diocese and the Knights of Columbus will give special recognition to couples celebrating their 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 50th or 51st and above wedding anniversary anytime during this year. They and their families are invited to the Milestone Wedding Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, September 10th at 2 p.m. (ET) at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette with a meal to follow. Widows and widowers who would have celebrated a milestone anniversary this year are also invited and encour- aged to attend, as are newlywed couples married from September 1, 2016 through September 1, 2017. If you plan to attend, please fill out and return the registration form below as soon as possible so that plans can be finalized. Those celebrating their Golden Anniversary (50th) this year are also asked to include, if possible, a recent photograph for publication in The U. P. Catholic diocesan newspaper. Registration form Deadline: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 Last name (if your first and/or last name has an uncommon spelling, or if other people often mispronounce it, please include the phonetic spelling) : Use separate sheet if necessary. __________________________________________________ First names:________________________________________ __________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________ __________________________________________________ Current parish:______________________________________ __________________________________________________ Phone/e-mail address:_______________________________ _________________________________________________ Our ____th anniversary is/was/will be on__________, 2017 For newlyweds: We were married on__________, 2016 or 2017 (circle one) I / We will attend this year's celebration: Yes No (circle one) GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY COUPLES ONLY: This information may be published in The U.P. Catholic newspaper (please include a photo if celebrating your Golden Anniversary this year): Yes No (circle one) For widows/widowers wishing to memorialize a deceased spouse: Name of deceased spouse:___________________________ Return to: Charles Crotty, Knights of Columbus 13 Grove Hill Court, Marquette, MI 49855-9444 Email: cbcrotty@chartermi.net Annual Milestone Wedding Anniversary Celebration set for Sunday, September 10, 2017 DIOCESE OF MARQUETTE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long Cabin on the lake, Gwinn, MI 3 Bedroom, 2 full baths & Sauna. Call 906-226-8079 for weekly rates or judithwebb@charter.net http://webpages.charter.net/webbcamp/WebbCamp.htm

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