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USCCB Labor Day Statement 2017
US Catholic Bishops issue statement in support of DACA which is endorced by Pope Francis

Major Themes

Life and Dignity of the Human Person:
  Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching.
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers:
  We believe that the economy must serve people, not the other way around.
  Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable:
  Catholic teaching proclaims that a basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring.
Call to Family, Community, and Participation:
  Our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social.
Rights and Responsibilities:
  The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.
Care for God's Creation:
  Catholic tradition insists that we show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation.


The Roots of Parish Social Mission

The roots of this call to justice and charity are in the Scriptures, especially in the Hebrew prophets and the life and words of Jesus. Parish social ministry has clear biblical roots.

In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus began his public life by reading a passage from Isaiah that introduced his ministry and the mission of every parish. The parish must proclaim the transcendent message of the gospel and help:

  • bring "good news to the poor" in a society where millions lack the necessities of life;

  • bring "liberty to captives" when so many are enslaved by poverty, addiction, ignorance, violence, or disabling conditions;

  • bring "new sight to the blind" in a culture where the excessive pursuit of power or pleasure can spiritually blind us to the dignity and rights of others; and

  • "set the downtrodden free" in communities where crime, racism, family disintegration, and economic and moral forces leave people without real hope (cf. Lk 4:18).
Our parish communities are measured by how they serve "the least of these" in our parish and beyond its boundaries - the hungry, the homeless, the sick, those in prison, the stranger (cf. Mt 25:31). Our local families of faith are called to "hunger and thirst for justice" and to be "peacemakers" in our own communities (cf. Mt 5:6, 9). A parish cannot really proclaim the gospel if its message is not reflected in its own community life. The biblical call to charity, justice, and peace claims not only each believer, but also each community where believers gather for worship, formation, and pastoral care.

Over the last century, these biblical mandates have been explored and expressed in a special way in Catholic social teaching. The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly "Catholic" unless we hear and heed the Church's call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing "good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind" (cf. Lk 4:18).

The Church teaches that social justice is an integral part of evangelization, a constitutive dimension of preaching the gospel, and an essential part of the Church's mission. The links between justice and evangelization are strong and vital. We cannot proclaim a gospel we do not live, and we cannot carry out a real social ministry without knowing the Lord and hearing his call to justice and peace. Parish communities must show by their deeds of love and justice that the gospel they proclaim is fulfilled in their actions. This tradition is not empty theory; it challenges our priorities as a nation, our choices as a Church, our values as parishes. It has led the Church to stand with the poor and vulnerable against the strong and powerful. It brings occasional controversy and conflict, but it also brings life and vitality to the People of God. It is a sign of our faithfulness to the gospel.

The center of the Church's social teaching is the life, dignity, and rights of the human person. We are called in a special way to serve the poor and vulnerable; to build bridges of solidarity among peoples of differing races and nations, language and ability, gender and culture. Family life and work have special places in Catholic social teaching; the rights of the unborn, families, workers, immigrants, and the poor deserve special protection. Our tradition also calls us to show our respect for the Creator by our care for creation and our commitment to work for environmental justice. This vital tradition is an essential resource for parish life. It offers a framework and direction for our social ministry, calling us to concrete works of charity, justice, and peacemaking.



"Charity will never be true charity unless it takes justice into account...let no one attempt with small gifts of charity to exempt themselves from the great duties imposed by justice."
Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, #49

Care and Concern

Charity, or outreach, responds to an immediate need. It provides direct service such as food, clothing or shelter. Often a private and individual act of caring, it is directed toward the effects of social injustice. Charity is satisfying and is generally non-controversial
Bereavement services

Food distribution

Home services


Prayer network



Scriptural reference - Good samaritan story
The gospel story does not attempt to survey the causes of highway banditry. The samaritan provides temporary and immediate relief.

Themes From Catholic Social Teaching

Dignity of the human person

Community and the common good

Rights and responsibilities

Option for the poor

Dignity of work


Care for God's creation

Scriptural reference - Exodus story
Moses does not ask for food and medicine for the jewish slave-labor force. He challenges the institutional system.



Each individual has the power to influence government policy in support of justice.

The right to vote is a duty or responsibility as well as a privilege. It is important for all citizens to vote in every election to make sure that the democratic, representative system of government is maintained.
Persons who do not vote lose their voice in the government. Before voting in an election, each citizen should be well informed about the issues and candidates.

It's not your job to save the world, just participate.

     In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate - look to his character... It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such a fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness...

     When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.

Noah Webster

Mark Twain understood the importance of a Christian's responsibility as a citizen. He wrote: "A Christian's first duty is to God. It then follows, as a matter of course, that it is his duty to carry his Christian code of morals to the polls and vote them... If Christians should vote their duty to God at the polls, they would carry every election, and do it with ease... it would bring about a moral revolution that would be incalculably beneficent. It would save the country."

Your Five Duties...

  1. Pray

  2. Register to Vote

  3. Become Informed

  4. Help Elect Godly People

  5. Vote
Listed below is contact information for some of our representatives.

Township - Harborcreek

5601 Buffalo Road, Harborcreek PA 16421
Ph: 814-899-3171 Fx: 814-899-5890
Meets third Wednesday of the month at 6 pm
Dean S. Pepicello [R] (Next election is 2017)
  Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors, Secretary/Treasurer of Board of Supervisors, Superintendent of Administration & Superintendent of Planning and Zoning, Open Records Office
Joseph D. Peck [D] (Next election is 2019)
  Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors, Superintendent of Roads and Public Safety
Timothy J. May [R] (Next election is 2021)
  Superintendent of Parks, Superintendent of Code Enforcement & Public Works

School District Board
6375 Buffalo Road, Harborcreek, PA 16421
Ph: 814 897-2100 Fx: 814 897-2142
Meets third Thursday of month at 6 pm
Dr. Thomas Fortin [D] (Next election is 2017)
  President; Northwest Intermediate Unit Board
Bryan Fife [D] (Next election is 2019)
  Vice-President; Salary/Negotiations, Administration & Personnel
Curt Smith [D] (Next election is 2019)
  Treasurer; Finance, Salary/Negotiations, Administration & Personnel
Terri Brink [D] (Next election is 2019)
  Buildings & Grounds, Transportation
Justin Gallagher [R] (Next election is 2019)
Theresa Herrera [I] (Next election is 2017)
  Curriculum, Student Affairs
William Lutz [D] (Next election is 2017)
  Technology, Erie County Vo Tech, Finance
Rick Mitchell [D] (Next election is 2017)
Renee Uht [R] (Next election is 2019)
  Salary/Negotiations, Administration & Personnel

County - Erie

District Justice
3921 Buffalo Road, Erie, PA 16510
Ph: 824-451-6516 Fx: 814-451-7499
Mark Krahe [D] (Next election is 2017)

County Executive
Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Rm 114, Erie PA 16501
Ph: 814-451-6333 TDD: 814-451-6237
Kathy Dahlkemper [D] (Next election is 2017)
  Twitter: @Kdahlkemper
Instagram: Kathy_Dahlkemper
Facebook: Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper
Email: countyexecutive@eriecountypa.gov

County Council
Erie County Courthouse, 140 W 6th St, Rm 114, Erie PA 16501
Ph: 814-451-6300 Fx: 814-451-6350 TDD: 814-451-6237
Dr. Kyle Foust [D] (Next election is 2017)
  District 5
Vice Chairman of Council, Finance Council Vice Chairman
Email: kfoust@eriecountypa.gov

State - Pennsylvania

Office of the Governor, 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120
Ph: 717-787-2500 Fx: 717-772-8284
Regional Office: 100 State Street, Suite 205, Erie PA 16507
Ph: 814-878-5719
Governor Tom Wolf [D] (Next election is 2018)
  Email: https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/

Senator - 49th District
Senate Box 203049, Room 184 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120-3049
Ph: 717-787-8927
District Office: 1314 Griswold Plaza, Erie PA 16501
Ph: 814-453-2515
State Senator Daniel Laughlin [R] (Next election is 2020)
  Vice Chair Aging & Youth; Banking & Insurance; Education, Game & Fisheries, Labor & Industry, Urban Affairs & Housing
Email: http://www.senatorlaughlin.com/contact/

Representative - 4th District
Capitol, 161B East Wing, PO Box 202004, Harrisburg PA 17120-2004
Ph: 717-783-9087 Fx: 717-787-2005
District Office: 4457 Buffalo Road, Erie PA 16510
Ph: 814-897-2080 Fx: 814-897-2083
Hon. Curtis G. Sonney [R] (Next election is 2018)
  Appropriations, Insurance, Liquor Control, Professional Licensure
Facebook: Facebook.com/RepSonney
Email: csonney@pahousegop.com

Federal Government

The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 20500
Ph: Comments 202-456-1111, Switchboard 202-456-1414 TTY/TTD: 202-456-6213
President Donald J. Trump [R] (Next election is 2020)
  Email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

U.S. Senator Robert "Bob" Casey Jr. [D] (Next election is 2018)
393 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-6324 Fx: 202-228-0604
  Social: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Info: Wikipedia, Govtrack
Email: http://www.casey.senate.gov/contact
U.S. Senator Patrick "Pat" Toomey [R] (Next election is 2022)
248 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-4254 Fx: 202-224-0284
United States Federal Building, 17 South Park Row, Suite B-120, Erie PA 16501
Ph: 814-453-3010 Fx: 814-455-9925
  Social: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube
Info: Wikipedia, Govtrack
Email: https://www.toomey.senate.gov/contact/

Representative - District 5
Glenn Thompson [R] (Next election is 2018)
U.S. House of Representatives, 124 Cannon HOB, Washington DC 20515
Ph: 202-225-5121 Fx: 202-225-5121
No local office
  Agriculture, Natural Resources, Education & Workforce
Email: https://thompson.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

Representative - District 3
Mike Kelly [R] (Next election is 2018)
U.S. House of Representatives, 1707 Longworth HOB, Washington DC 20515
Ph: 202-2225-5406 Fx: 202-225-3103
Local office: 208 E Bayfront Parkway, Suite 102, Erie PA 16507
  Email: https://kelly.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

In "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship", the U.S. Catholic Bishops urge all Catholics to make their voices heard in the public square. You can communicate with your elected officials by writing (letters or emails), making phone calls, and visiting them. The following information is condensed from http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/parishes-and-schools/upload/Contacting-Your-Elected-Officials-bulletin-insert.pdf


A thoughtful, personal letter that provides a clear and forceful argument can be a powerful form of communication with your elected officials. Follow these tips when writing letters.
  • Include a clear title that summarizes the exact action you are requesting

  • State your request and summarize your reasons

  • Provide support for your arguments and state why you personally care

  • Conclude by re-stating what you want them to do and thanking them for their time

  • You may also consider sending a FAX or a web form. Visit usccb.org to access form and for more tips.

Making Phone Calls

Normally the best time to telephone is when you want them to take immediate action and there isn't enough time for an email or visit. Here are some tips on what to say on the phone.
  • Ask to speak to the legislative aide who handles your particular issue

  • Mention the issue and how you want your legislator to act

  • Be concise. Address the key issue with a few brief supporting points

  • Identify yourself, hometown, and phone so the legislator can be sure you are a constituent

  • Ask for a commitment to a course of action, and ask the aide to repeat your request back

Making a Visit

Taking the time to visit your elected officials can send a powerful message about what you care about as a constituent. Here are some tips for your visit.

Before the visit:

  • Research your legislator's voting records, committee assignments, and positions

  • Visit website for information about how to schedule your visit

  • Prepare background information about the issues on which you are advocating

During the visit:

  • Introduce yourself and give an overview of what you want to discuss

  • Present the issues, background information, and human interest stories

  • Conclude by asking for some concrete action and ask for a commitment to your specific request

After the visit:

  • Write a thank you letter or email in which you summarize the discussion

  • Follow-up on any commitments you made during the visit