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 | By F. DeKarlos Blackmon

Putting our faith into action at the State Capitol

Catholics from throughout the Lone Star State will converge on Austin for the 2023 Texas Catholic Faith In Action Advocacy Day on March 28. This biennial gathering of the Christian faithful is hosted by the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops with the express purpose of promoting the inherent dignity of life, charity and justice while advocating for the common good of all God’s people before the Texas legislature. Concern for these values requires us to bring our faith to the public square, and participation in Texas Catholic Faith In Action Advocacy Day serves as a concrete way of sharing the love God lavishes upon us. May we come together to bring the wisdom of our faith and the teachings of the church to the political realm through legislative advocacy.

When reflecting on the necessity of legislative advocacy by the Christian faithful, I am often reminded of the images of the healing of the centurion’s servant (Lk 8:5-13) and the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). These are exemplary images of one advocating for another as the person advocating is willing the good out of profound respect for the dignity of the other. 

The work of legislative advocacy by Catholics is even more crucial as we are called to bring the beautiful vision of life, charity and justice not only to the political realm but also to all our public discourse, our decision-making and our work of building a civilization of love. It is in advancing this civilization of love and justice that peoples of varying cultures, nationalities and creeds will come to see one another as brothers and sisters who are each respected and valued. 

We are called to continuously accept our responsibility to stimulate, advocate and serve as catalysts to compel the government to always advocate for what is right and just for the common good.

For, as Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis remind us, if we genuinely believe “the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,” the church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.” (Deus Caritas Est, 28; Evangelii Gaudium, 183) With this in mind, I am ever hopeful that, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, our advocacy of the totality of the Gospel of Life within our communities will be able to pierce even the hardest of hearts by awakening a sincere appreciation of the love of God. 

As active disciples, we are called to be the vanguard in society. If we take a moment to consider who we profess to be as the church founded by Jesus Christ — considering our lives together, our pastoral care, our pastoral outreach of Catholic education and catechesis or our advocacy of appropriate health care, adequate social services, compassionate immigration reform and so many other things — we can better realize what it means to be the living image of Jesus Christ in our world. 

The faithful are invited to join our Texas bishops in prayer on March 27 at Mass at 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary Cathedral. Then please join us at the Capitol on March 28. Catholic school students from throughout the state will participate in mock committee hearings and diocesan delegates will visit with legislative officials on matters of concern. A rally with the Texas bishops on the steps of the State Capitol will begin at 11:30 a.m. For more information, email or call (512) 949-2486.

DeKarlos Blackmon, OblSB, is the director of the Secretariat of Life, Charity and Justice for the Diocese of Austin. Contact him at (512) 949-2471 or