CMN is so hopeful for a repeal of the death penalty in Maryland this legislative session. We ask you to keep all of the legislators, activists and victims of violence in prayer these upcoming weeks. Many states have legislative action moving forward, which is heightening awareness of this pro-life issue in the United States.
We are grateful for the legislative action in Wyoming which abolishes sentences of life in prison without parole for children. Each action moves us one step closer to a country that values life over death.
Let us pray the prayer of St. Ephrem:
Lord and Master of my life, do not give me a spirit of laziness or idle curiosity, or ambition or empty talk.
Instead, grant to me, your servant, a spirit of self-control and humility, or patience and love.
Yes, Lord and King, enable me to see my own failings, and not to judge my brother or sister, for you are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
In this February 2013 e-newsletter you will find:
Blessings on your Lent.
Maryland stands ready to become the sixth state in six years to repeal the death penalty. As Maryland’s General Assembly convened in January, the Catholic Church in Maryland continues to stand for the vulnerable members of our society and to advocate for the human dignity of all:
“This session, hope is high that Maryland will finally repeal the death penalty,” said Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. “We believe the sentence of life without the possibility of parole, which is already available in Maryland, is a just and sufficient means of protecting citizens while also respecting human life. Our bishops have been very vocal and active and believe that this is the year the Governor and legislators will join together and ban capital punishment."
The Washington Post recently featured a story about our own Vicki Schieber and her efforts to end the death penalty in Maryland.
Read her story here.
We at CMN have developed and gathered some useful Lenten resources for personal, parish, community and institutional use that invite us to reflect on the sin of capital punishment and how we can achieve the goal of abolition. We invite you to make use of these resources and to distribute them widely.
'A GOOD FRIDAY REFLECTION TO END THE DEATH PENALTY' NOW AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH
This brochure – suitable for printing and distribution – offers reflections on the death penalty for Good Friday, an update on progress to end the use of the death penalty around the world, and prayer and other resources that will inform and enrich Catholics who want to learn more about the call to restorative justice.
Este folleto, listo para ser impreso y distribuido, ofrece una reflexión sobre la pena de muerte para el Viernes Santo, una actualización sobre los avances de la abolición de la pena de muerte y otros recursos para los católicos que quieran aprender más sobre la necesidad de recurrir a la justicia restaurativa.
The Cherish Life Circle, a group founded by the Sisters of Mercy, provides support for a circle of friends opposed to the death penalty. The group began in 1993 during New York’s gubernatorial race, when religious sisters, a few priests and lay people came together to pray and expand the dialogue by presenting a faith-based perspective on the death penalty. To reveal their position, the group developed the "Declaration of Life," a non-legally binding document that shares a personal belief in the sacredness of all life. In the event of death by murder, those closest to the deceased are expected to provide the document for the court’s consideration.
View all Lenten Resources
Where Justice and Mercy Meet: Catholic Opposition to the Death Penalty, co-edited by CMN’s Vicki Scheiber is now available. When you order directly from CMN, you help contribute to our mission. This new book explores the Catholic stance against capital punishment in new and important ways through a number of essays by faculty from Mount Saint Mary’s University. It offers readers new insight into the debates about capital punishment; provides revealing, and sometimes surprising, information about methods of execution; and explores national and international trends and movements related to the death penalty. It also addresses how the death penalty has been intertwined with racism, the high percentage of the mentally disabled on death row, and how the death penalty disproportionately affects the poor. Remember to order by calling our office at (202) 541-5290, or e-mail us. We beat Amazon’s shipping price!
By Greg Callaghan, Dead Man Walking Play Project Coordinator
Saint Francis Borgia Regional High School, Washington, Mo., presented three performances of Dead Man Walking to rave reviews. Saint Joseph’s Academy in Saint Louis held an opening-night town hall featuring Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, before the performance. Saint Joseph’s, an all-girls school, took a unique approach to the play: a cast of 13 young women performed all of the roles.
February 21: CMN’s Program Manager, Anne Feczko, will be presenting the "Introduction to the Death Penalty for Catholics" Workshop for the Washington, DC-area Sant'Egidio Community.
February 28: CMN’s Vicki Schieber, death row survivor Shujaa Graham with Witness to Innocence, Abe Bonowitz of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin will be part of the National Lawyers Guild Students Against the Death Penalty Day in Washington, D.C., to discuss efforts to end the death penalty.
March 1-2: CMN will be participating in and exhibiting at the Living the Catholic Faith Conference sponsored by the Archdiocese of Denver. The theme of this year’s event is “Stand Firm in the Faith.” For more information on the conference and to register, visit this website.
March 2: CMN will be exhibiting at the Annual Social Ministry Convocation of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The theme of the event is “The Church in the Modern World: 50 Years after Vatican II.” For more information, visit this website.
March 7-9: CMN will be exhibiting at the annual Mid-Atlantic Congress in Baltimore. The Congress' theme is "Forming Catholic Leaders for Faith-Filled Service." For more information, visit this website.
March 15-16: Vicki Schieber, Bishop Gerald Kicanas and several other speakers will participate in a Parish Social Ministry Regional Training Workshop in Tucson, Arizona. Read more.
Want to know what else we're up to? Check out a full list of CMN Events.