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Let Your Voice Be Heard
How many of you are familiar with the Florida Catholic Conference (FCC)? Did you know that through the FCC you have a voice in Tallahassee that advocates for life, dignity and the common good? The FCC is just one way your voice can be heard when it comes to public policy issues in Florida.

The Florida Catholic Conference was established on Feb. 1, 1969 to serve as the nonpartisan, public policy voice of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. Since then, the conference has represented the Catholic Church on policy issues of concern and served as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of his church guide the work of the conference. With particular concern for those who are most vulnerable and defense of the common good, the conference analyzes the moral dimension of public policies, proclaims the sanctity of life and dignity of the human person and encourages lawmakers to reach just solutions. Additionally, the conference provides opportunities for the faithful in Florida to carry out their responsibility to participate in the political life.

The FCC has participated in many policy areas over the last 40 years and actively continues to do so today. These areas include: social concerns and welfare matters such as immigrants, affordable housing, health care, criminal justice reform; educational matters including parochial and public schools; right to life issues including abortion, assisted suicide and the death penalty; and matters affecting human sexuality, marriage and the family unit.

The FCC founders were Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll, Bishop Paul F. Tanner, Bishop William D. Borders, Bishop Charles B. McLaughlin, and Bishop John J. Fitzpatrick. Today, the board of directors consists of the archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch) dioceses in Florida. Director Emeritus Thomas A. Horkan, Jr. served the FCC from its founding until January 1995 when D. Michael McCarron assumed his current position as executive director.

The Regular Session of the Florida Legislature begins this month on March 3 and concludes May 1. The staff of the Florida Catholic Conference is hard at work ensuring your voice and the voice of the Catholic Church in Florida is heard. But they can’t do it alone. The church needs your help.

The FCC maintains an electronic network of individuals interested in applying principles of Catholic teaching through participation in the legislative process. Members will receive email action alerts that provide opportunities to send messages to legislators on specific public policy issues. Reports, summaries and additional resources are also regularly provided to members. Individuals can join the FCC Advocacy Network by visiting

During the Regular Session of the Florida Legislature, Catholics are also invited to Tallahassee to participate in Catholic Days at the Capitol. Participants attend a legislative briefing before meeting with their elected officials. A luncheon is held for participants, Florida’s bishops and legislators. The annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit is celebrated to pray for those working in the three branches of government.

The 2009 Catholic Days at the Capitol is being held March 10-11, with the Red Mass scheduled for the evening of March 11. Individuals interested in attending these events should contact our diocesan representative Lorraine Allaire in Jacksonville at (904) 308-7474 or email:

– Kathleen Bagg-Morgan, editor

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