AUSTIN — Nearly 4,000 Texas Catholics have registered to participate in Catholic Advocacy Day, to be held April 4 at the State Capital. A delegation of 200 from the Diocese of Dallas will make the trip to Austin.
The day will include a rally with the state’s bishops, who lead the 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas, on the steps of the Capital beginning at 11:30 a.m. The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, which is organizing the day, will livestream the rally on its Facebook page, TXCatholic.
The bishops will also meet individually with several key legislators. During the day groups of Catholics will visit each of the Texas Senators and Representatives, carrying the Church’s position on a variety of bills before the Legislature.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me and my brother bishops as well as our Catholic faithful from around the state to visit with our legislators.” explained Bishop Edward Burns of the Diocese of Dallas. “We are able to stand in solidarity as people of faith to meet with our local legislative leaders in order to work together for the common good.”
Priority bills of the 85th Legislature for the TCCB include those that address pro-life concerns, immigration reform, the state’s foster care system, environmental issues, parental choice in education, as well as death penalty sentencing instructions, mental health services and human trafficking issues. The bishops’ legislative agenda is available at www.txcatholic.org/85th-legislature-bill-positions; this week’s priority bills are at www.txcatholic.org/priority-bills-for-the-85th-legislature/.
More than 1,500 Catholic school students from across the state, including 120 from Dallas, will be part of the delegation. They will have an opportunity to participate in a mock hearing on payday lending regulations, an issue that has been a priority for the Church in recent years.
“Many legislators tell us how much they look forward to the Catholic Advocacy Day,” Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops said. “We try to bring a hopeful, joyful and positive spirit to the Capital.”
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is the association of the Roman Catholic bishops of Texas. Through the TCCB, the bishops provide a moral and social public policy voice that includes monitoring all legislation pertaining to Catholic moral and social teaching; accredit the state's Catholic schools; and maintain records that reflect the work and the history of the Catholic Church in Texas.
Full list of Catholic dioceses and bishops participating in Catholic Advocacy Day
Diocese of Amarillo – Bishop Patrick J. Zurek
Diocese of Austin – Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Garcia
Diocese of Beaumont – Bishop Curtis J. Guillory
Diocese of Brownsville – Bishop Daniel E. Flores
Diocese of Corpus Christi – Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey
Diocese of Dallas – Bishop Edward J. Burns, Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly
Diocese of El Paso – Bishop Mark J. Seitz
Diocese of Fort Worth – Bishop Michael F. Olson
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston – Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Auxiliary Bishop George Sheltz
Diocese of Laredo – Bishop James A. Tamayo
Diocese of Lubbock – Bishop Robert M. Coerver
Diocese of San Angelo – Bishop Michael J. Sis, Bishop Emeritus Michael David Pfiefer
Archdiocese of San Antonio – Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Boulette
Diocese of Tyler – Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
Diocese of Victoria – Bishop Brendan J. Cahill