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Register now: Catholics at the Capitol

It’s that time of year for you to register and join the Nebraska Catholic Conference for our annual Catholic advocacy day, Catholics at the Capitol. This year’s Catholics at the Capitol lineup is promising and will equip you to be an informed and faithful citizen.

To quote our Holy Father, Pope Francis: “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” And Catholics at the Capitol gives you that very opportunity: to meddle in politics by learning about important legislative issues and advocate for your State Senator on behalf of values and legislation that matter.

This year’s event takes place Wednesday, March 9, from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the lower level of St. Mary Church in Lincoln. Join us for the whole event, or just a portion of it if that is all your schedule allows. The cost is $15 and includes coffee and rolls in the morning, and lunch.

The morning will kick off with registration, coffee and rolls, and networking from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. We will then join in prayer to recite the Church’s Morning Prayer, a beautiful liturgical practice that consists of the Psalms and other readings from Scripture. At 9 a.m., Sen. Mike McDonnell will kick off the formal programming with a welcoming and opening remarks. He will be followed by our keynote speaker, who we are proud to announce this year will be Speaker Mike Hilgers. Speaker Hilgers will talk to us about his responsibility as Speaker of the Legislature, how his faith influences his political work, and some of the major issues facing the Nebraska Legislature this session.

Following Speaker Hilgers, we will have several “policy overview” segments featuring NCC staff and more state senators. These NCC staff-state senator conversations will provide an opportunity to address the top priorities the NCC is supporting this session. Marion Miner will be joined by Sen. Joni Albrecht to discuss this session’s major pro-life bills, especially as we anticipate, in hope, a post-Roe v. Wade Nebraska. Jeremy Ekeler will be joined by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan about education policy, with a special focus on the fundamental right of parents to direct their child’s education. Then I will be joined by Sen. Tom Brewer to discuss critical religious freedom legislation that would help restore 1st Amendment protections in our state.

The lunch hour will also feature state senators. At that time, we will hear from Sen. Anna Wishart and Sen. Justin Wayne. Sen. Wishart, who serves as vice chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, will provide an overview of the monumental task facing the Legislature related to appropriating more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid. She will also discuss her legislation that is supported by the NCC which would ensure women in poverty have adequate healthcare for up to one year postpartum.

Sen. Justin Wayne will more specifically talk about the federal coronavirus relief aid and the historic moment the Legislature has to ensure these funds assist those most impacted by COVID-19, especially those experiencing issues of poverty, housing, unemployment and underemployment, food assistance, among other issues.

The day will also feature a couple trips across the street to the State Capitol. First, we will head over to listen to legislative floor debate and get a closer look at our Unicameral in action. Then, after lunch, we will divide our group into their respective legislative districts to give everybody the opportunity to meet with their state senator.

We are excited for the lineup of state senators you will hear from. While it goes without saying, the various state senators you will hear from agree or disagree to greater or lesser degrees with some of the major issues the NCC works on. But as Catholics, we are situated in a way that we find a path to work with everybody along the political spectrum on a variety of different issues ranging from womb to tomb. We find ways to strongly ally with those who share our core convictions, as well as challenge each other where the differences are more minor yet important. We also find ways to build important common ground with those with whom we may not share the same core convictions, and we do so without ever compromising our adherence and witness to the great truths that have been handed down to us. In doing so, this allows us to carry forward those great tenets of our faith: truth and charity.

We very much hope you will join us for this year’s Catholic advocacy day. Let’s make a strong showing at the State Capitol, not merely to exercise our political muscle but most of all to bear the light of Jesus Christ in the public square. For more info and to register, visit www.NEcatholic.org. Be there or be square…last one to register is a rotten egg… and insert whatever other saying will motivate you to join us!

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