Tell your Senators to oppose the Equality Act!

Call to Action: Tell Your Senators to Oppose The Equality Act   
Cardinal Dolan has asked that we Stand Against Unjust Discrimination and Oppose the Equality Act. “ The Equality Act goes far beyond the noble desire to protect vulnerable people. It burdens consciences, severely curtails the rights of people to practice their faith, smuggles in an abortion mandate, and explicitly exempts itself from respecting religious freedom.“ 

The US Bishops are requesting that we Tell our Senators to Oppose The Equality Act.

Tell your Senators to oppose the Equality Act!

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The Equality Act, which has now passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is being actively considered in the Senate, in many ways does the opposite and needs to be opposed. Instead of respecting differences in beliefs about marriage and sexuality, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith. The Equality Act would: punish faith-based organizations, such as charities and schools who serve everyone in their communities, simply because of their beliefs; force girls and women to compete against boys and men for limited opportunities in sports, and to share locker rooms and shower spaces with biological males who identify as women; risk mandating taxpayers to fund abortions; force people in everyday life, and especially health care workers, to support gender transition; and expand what the government considers a “public” place, forcing even some parish halls to host functions that conflict with Catholic beliefs.

Urgent Action: Hyde Amendment

US Bishops : Urgent Action needed to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion in COVID Relief Bill – contact your Senators now.

Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new COVID relief bill, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which addresses the needs of many vulnerable people related to the pandemic. Unfortunately, unlike previous COVID relief bills, this bill appropriates billions of taxpayer dollars that are not subject to longstanding, bi-partisan pro-life protections that are needed to prevent this funding from paying for abortions. The Senate is expected to vote this week.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to Congress to express its support for additional COVID-19 relief that prioritizes the poor and vulnerable and its strong opposition to any taxpayer dollars going to abortion as part of this legislation, saying that the Hyde Amendment policy must be included before this bill moves forward. Your voice is critically needed today to tell your senators to support amendments that prevent abortion funding, and to work for their inclusion in the final bill.

Take Action – this link provides an easy method to send an email. 

Background: What is the Hyde Amendment and Why is it Important?

Currently, there is no US law that prohibits federal funding (i.e. your tax dollars) from being used to support abortion. To prohibit federal funding of abortion therefore, every financial appropriation of Congress must include a prohibition on funds for abortion – that is the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of domestic abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The Hyde Amendment has been credited with saving nearly 2.5 million lives since its enactment in 1976. Until now, The Hyde amendment has enjoyed strong bipartisan support. On February 27, the US House of Representatives passed the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan of 2021, without including the Hyde Amendment protections.

More on the Hyde Amendment 

Pray to Protect Human Life! January 21-29, 2021

Please join with our Bishops and Dioceses across the country, praying to Protect Human Life.

9 Days for Life is a novena for the protection of human life. Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.


Meet Our Virtual Keynote Speaker: 
Melissa Ohden

Melissa Ohden is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977. Despite the initial concerns regarding Melissa’s future after surviving the attempt to end her life at approximately seven gestation, she has not only survived but thrived.

She is the founder and director of The Abortion Survivors Network and is a Master’s level prepared Social Worker. She’s the author of “You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir.”

Fulfilling the purpose that she believes God set out for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt, Melissa is truly a voice for the voiceless. Melissa and her husband, Ryan, live in Kansas City, Missouri, with their two daughters, Ava and Olivia.

MiraVia Mission

Respecting and affirming life from the moment of conception, MiraVia is a safe haven and source of hope for pregnant mothers and their children. Invoking a Christ-centered approach inspired by the examples of Mary and Joseph, MiraVia helps young families move toward a new life of hopeful, independent, and healthy living and educates the broader community on the importance of fostering a culture of life.

Online Registration Link

AOH Voting Resources

A Comparison of the Republican and Democratic Platforms

Where do the Candidates for President Stand on Abortion?

Where do the Candidates for Vice President Stand on Abortion?

2020 Elections – North Carolina Senate Scorecard

Respect Life Month

USCCB Priorities at the Polls

As Catholics approach the polls, we are asked to weigh many important issues. The U.S. bishops have reaffirmed that “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”[1] While they did warn us not to “dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty,” they did give priority to upholding and defending our brothers’ and sisters’ most basic right—to live.

an Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger)

In remembrance of an Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger) our State Historian Steve McEnaney has prepared the following article.

We begin with the landlords. Their standard of life was set in the main by their far richer brethren in England, which meant that too many of them were living beyond their means. In consequence, they cared little about what went on on their estates so long as they yielded the maximum income. This state of affairs persisted from the late 18th century through the years of the Napoleonic Wars and into the mid 19th century.

The Irish people, during this time, had assured themselves of abundant, healthful food by adopting a potato and milk diet. In the post war years of the century, the population leaped ahead. In 1800 it was estimated that there were five million people in the country; in 1821, six and a half million; and, in 1841 over eight million. It was a vast impoverished population with early marriages and large families.

The survival of this vast population depended on the recurring fruitfulness of the potato exclusively. There was a long spell of wet weather in July of 1845 which seemed harmless. Then, in August came news of a strange disease attacking a crop in the south of England. In September, blight was observed in Waterford and Wexford. About half the country was affected.

In July and August of the following year, and on into 1848 and 1849, the failures were complete. Hungry mobs roved the country, but above all they poured in on the relief works of from 30,000 to 285,00 per month.

The situation in Ireland reached its worst during the snowy winter of 1848. The starving people crowded into towns. A fever epidemic spread like wildfire. “Famine fever” was, in fact, either typhus or cholera. Dysentery, scurvy, and hunger oedema were all caused simply by starvation.

We must be clear in our minds that this was not primarily a disaster like a flood or an earthquake. The blight was natural (a fungus), Conditions in Ireland, which had placed thousands in complete dependence on the potato are another matter. The ministers of the crown were callous, parsimonious, and self-righteous; attitudes exhibited to both the English and the Irish poor.

In 1851 the population was six and a half million, two million less that the 1845 population. One million had emigrated, of which 20% perished in coffin ships, and one million had perished in-country. Gone were the days of early marriage and a countryside thronged with young people and children. For many the price of holding on to the family farm was to remain unmarried. For others there could be no staying in Ireland, and their energies went to the building of the United States or other new lands across the sea.

Ireland is Calling

The Irish Government has been actively reaching out to the Diaspora in the America and around the world in these challenging times to remind us we all belong to one global Irish community.

In the President of Ireland recent Easter Message he addressed the Irish at Home and Abroad and expressed a message of Solidarity and Unity during this time of global crisis.

The Irish Minister for Diaspora, Ciarán Cannon recently published a message that Ireland will not forget its citizens abroad during this Covid-19 pandemic. which highlights the Ireland Reaching Out program called a Children’s Family Tree. This allows children to connect with their Irish heritage and understand their history.

Here in North Carolina we are honored to have Dr. John Young as our Honorary Consul based out of Charlotte, NC. Those who attended our last NC AOH State Conference in Wilmington will remember Dr. Young as he was our featured speaker at the Dinner. Our Irish Consul General for the Southeast is Shane Stephens based out of Atlanta, Ga. They have both been working closely with us and other Irish organizations like the GAA to help keep the Irish community informed and we are looking forward to having Consul General Stephens address our State Board this coming weekend before our virtual State Board Meeting.

If you find yourself in need during these challenging times please do not hesitate to reach out. There are many programs available both locally and globally, including the Emigrant Support Programme. As always our hand is extended in Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.

Easter Message from Ireland

Many thanks to the Irish Consulate for passing along this message from the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins to the Irish at home and abroad at Easter 2020

Spiritual Steps to take during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Many thanks to our Worthy State Chaplain for providing the following spiritual guidance during this time of uncertainty.

“Spiritual Versus Sacramental Communion”

With churches closed out of concern for the contagion of Covid-19, the coronavirus, Catholics are prevented from receiving Holy Communion. An ancient practice of the Church in such circumstances, for there have always been those who, for whatever reason, are unable to take the Sacrament, is to make an act of “spiritual communion.”

The Catholic Church distinguishes two ways in which the Body of Christ is received by the faithful.

Thomas Aquinas taught that there are two ways to receive the Eucharist:
spiritually and sacramentally. However, the Council Fathers of Trent teach three ways: spiritually alone, sacramentally alone, or spiritually and sacramentally.

Spiritual communion was defined by St. Thomas Aquinas as “an ardent desire to receive the Lord in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him.” This is a wonderful and practical way to unite oneself to God through prayer, expressing to God one’s desire to be united with Christ when we are unable to do so through the reception of Holy Communion.

The Roman Catholic saint, Alphonsus Liguori, taught a four-step method of making a spiritual communion.

First, to make an act of faith, the point of which is to express one’s firm belief in God’s goodness and mercy. Recitation of one of the historical creeds (Nicene Creed) would be such an act; if one is following along on the internet with a live-streamed service, saying the Creed along with those on your computer screen would be this first step. Here’s a prayer to recite every day:

Almighty God, you pour out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of supplication: Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections I may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Second, to make an act of charity reciting either a formal prayer of the Church or an extemporaneous one. The act should express our love for Christ in his church. The Prayers of the People of God (Prayers of the Faithful) are a good example of the act of love in a formal service of Holy Communion and reciting them along with a live-streamed service would fulfill this step. A shorter, private alternative would be this prayer for mission from the Daily Office of Morning Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe me in your Spirit that I, reaching forth my hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name.

Third, to make an expression of our desire to receive Christ. Here’s an wonderful example by Thomas Merton and his prayer of desire that I use weekly:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen

The fourth, to make a prayer of invitation, to invite the Lord to come into your heart spiritually. A traditional prayer adapted from the Roman Catholic tradition is this:

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Eucharist. I pledge my love above all things, and I desire to receive you into my heart. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, so come at least spiritually into my life. I embrace you as you are already there and unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

One can then conclude a spiritual communion with a time of silent meditation.