Social Justice: An invitation to Advocacy Day at Capitol on April 4

By DeKarlos Blackmon
Columnist 

Faith compels me to know that “God is faithful and always true. God is reliable, invariable and steadfast. God is everlasting.” My faith teaches me this reality. I keep before me this authenticity as a faithful Catholic, made for the praise and glory of God. Before coming to the Diocese of Austin in 2015, I held a variety of roles in ecclesial work and ministry that afforded me the designation as a national Catholic leader. In my role as diocesan director of Life, Charity and Justice, it is my responsibility to continue to consistently take on the mantle of promoting peace, protecting life and ensuring justice — a responsibility that emanates from my faith in Christ. 
We, the Christian faithful, must keep ever before us our awesome responsibility to promote the just ordering of society. Let us never forget that freedom always involves responsibility. We must never sit on the sidelines; rather, we must stand up, speak out and advocate for justice for all God’s people. The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops invites us to join Catholics from throughout the state to journey to the State Capitol in Austin to promote life, dignity and the common good on April 4 for Texas Catholic Faith In Action Advocacy Day. This biennial rally advocates for policies and programs that support the life and dignity of every human person. The broad range of diverse issues center around protecting human life, children and families, health and human services, justice for immigrants, protecting the poor and vulnerable, and criminal justice. Each of these areas are based in Catholic social and moral teaching. 
We must engage our legislators –– with the full realization of our appreciation to God for the freedom we enjoy to exercise our right to choose our public officials in free elections –– as they chart the course for our government. In spite of how bleak some may see the current state of affairs in the nation and our state, we must remember to always commit ourselves to work in ways that will promote and defend the inherent good that evil may attempt to undercut. May we never fall into the temptation of becoming so cynical or disheartened that we lose sight of the authentic cause of freedom. 
The will of God would never place us in circumstances where his abundant grace would not sustain us. It is because of this that we can stand up, speak out and advocate for the much needed justice and care for those in our communities; we can exercise freely the genuine hospitality that calls us to be aware of those around us, making them feel welcome, and to be more in tune with those around us. Let us continue our pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). As we consider that all is not lost, and our best is yet to come, let us keep ever before us that freedom always involves responsibility!
For more information about Texas Catholic Faith In Action Advocacy Day, join the Texas Catholic Network at www.txcatholic.org. This website is also one of the best ways to stay up to date on the latest information on state legislation and the positions of the Texas bishops. More information is also available at www.austindiocese.org.