Before I jump into my column, I want to wish everybody who has been reading my column over the last year a very Merry Christmas! I am honored and humbled you take even a few minutes of your day to learn more about the work of the Nebraska Catholic Conference and how together we can build the common good through political—and, ultimately, cultural—engagement. You are a gift to the Church and a sign of the love of God! May the Incarnation of God, through the Christ Child, bring you the joy and peace that your heart desires!
Last week, I made the comment that Jesus never said the words: Thy Legislature Come! And while this is true, it is also true that God has given us a charge: God wants us to be politically active Catholics.
One way that we can be politically active Catholics is to prepare our own hearts and minds for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Wednesday, Jan. 9. Last week I discussed how we must overcome our own fears and concerns about our role in the political process, and to ask God—through the intercession of Saint Pope John Paul II—for the courage to do so. This week, I want to discuss some very practical ways that you can prepare for the upcoming legislative session.
Join the Catholic Advocacy Network of Nebraska (CANN). You are busy. You feel pulled in a million different directions every day. You don’t have time to engage in the political process—or so it seems. But at the Nebraska Catholic Conference we have made it easy to stay up-to-date on the activity of the Nebraska Legislature and have access to the tools you need to get engaged.
At our website (www.necatholic.org) in the upper right-hand corner, you can find a yellow banner that says, “Join Our Network.” Click on the banner and you can easily sign up for CANN. Through CANN, we provide e-mail information updates about important legislative activity and notify you when Catholics need to take political action and contact their state senator.
As well, while you are on our website, you can find more extensive information about other public policy matters that we are currently or have previously worked on.
Follow the NCC on Social Media. The NCC has an active Facebook page and Twitter feed. Simply search “Nebraska Catholic Conference” on either of these social media platforms and ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ us. Through these social media avenues, you can stay more closely up-to-date on legislative matters, among other things.
Contact the NCC Anytime. I always stress to people when we give parish talks, never be shy about calling the NCC. One of my favorite things is when people call the office to learn more about NCC initiatives. This tells me you are engaged and eager to learn. We are happy to field your calls anytime if you want to learn more about a particular piece of legislation, how you can engage your state senator, or invite us to speak at your parish. Reach us at (402)477-7517.
Learn about the Unicameral. If it’s been a while and you’ve forgotten how your state legislature works or you simply want another resource to stay up-to-date, visit www.nebraskalegislature.gov. At our Nebraska Legislature’s website, you will find an array of information, such as summaries of the legislative process, the history of the Unicameral, and the process of individual legislative bills. You can also sign up for the Unicameral Update, which is a great (free!) publication sent to subscribers during the legislative session.
Know Your Senator. I spoke about this last week, so I will keep it brief this week. Don’t hesitate to learn more about your own state senator. Get to know them as a person and know where they stand on the issues. They want to get to know you.
Pray. Above all, we must remain vigilant with our prayer. Let your prayer rise up to the heavens—and pray that our state lawmakers would be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they discern the common good for our state. Entrust them to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus!