Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women were Awarded a $500 "Earth in Our Hands" Grant

Press Release November 19, 2009 Contact: Joyce Scott - Linda Braasch - Barbara McCarthy, President of Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women accepted a certificate and the $500 award for the “Earth in Our Hands” project at the 2009 Annual Convention of the National Council of Catholic Women. The grant application was submitted by the Harrisburg Diocesan CCW Community Concerns Commission. Earth: In Our Hands project grants are intended to help diocesan councils or parish affiliates design and implement projects that promote Catholic’s obligation to be good stewards of the Earth’s environment and pursue environmental justice among people. “Living in the shadows of Three Mile Island gives us a unique opportunity to uphold our inalienable rights for the common good of all,” Linda Braasch, chairwoman of the diocese’s Community Concerns Commission which applied for the grant. “We recognize the re-licensing of TMI was inevitable, however with God, all things are possible.” In presenting this award to the HDCCW President, the following was stated: Pope Benedict recently reminded us: “Today, we all see that humanity can destroy the foundations of its existence, the earth.” He went on to say, “We must respect the inner laws of creation, of this earth; we must learn these laws and obey these laws if we are to survive.” Partially in response to these words, NCCW began the “Earth in Our Hands Program,” which allows us to respond to two challenges. 1 – To live on the earth in a sustainable way, to preserve its life and health for future generations. 2 – To exercise the “preferential option for the poor” that we defend and put the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people first in our hearts and our efforts. The grant application stated, “Hopefully our proposed project will rally the citizens. Together we will uphold human dignity, respect for life, and the integrity of our environment.” Collaborating with interfaith and community groups we will work in solidarity to educate for justice and peace. Through sharing, advertising, communication, and letter writing, we will try to promote laws denying a nuclear license renewal to utility sites where emissions of radiation have proved to pose a risk to the environment, workers, and public. We hope that these laws will endorse legislation requiring a designated and permanent nuclear waste disposal site to be operational before new nuclear plants are given a license to operate. These goals are before the NCCW in our pending, proposed resolution; “Citizens Response to the Civil Use of Nuclear Energy as it Affects our Environment.” Seeking the truth and justice of a safe secure energy future as a result of this nation’s worst commercial nuclear accident is not easy. We have intervened in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) TMI Unit 1 re-licensing process. Our petition and opposition to the licensing of nuclear power plants before there is a nuclear waste disposal site are part of the record. Our ladies learned of the sense of futility and oppression one feels after attending an NRC meeting. The power of the industry does not take our concerns seriously. It is important that we as a Christian community reach out in faith, network in solidarity, and have a voice in nuclear energy decisions in order to provide our children with a safe environment free of uncontrolled radiation releases and toxic waste. There needs to be industry accountability and our humanity needs to be a part of the solution. With gratitude to God for our Bishop, the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, we encourage citizens to be aware of the facts, pray, and participate in efforts to protect the environment and to promote safety at Three Mile Island.

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