Annual Report 2009 - Stand with Children

Catholics for the Common Good Institute Marriage Project
2009 Year in Review

CCG Marriage Advocates working in a breakout session at Fremont CA training

Marriage advocates working in
breakout sessions at the North-
ern California training attended
by 140 people from Yuba City to
Monterey. Trainings were also
held in Southern Califronia and
the San Joaquin Valley of California.

In January, 2009, a small band of volunteer leaders (co-chairs), fresh from the hard-fought but victorious Prop. 8 Campaign, gathered in Berkeley to answer the most important question, “What's next?”

These leaders recognize that same-sex “marriage” is merely a symptom of a much larger problem impacting children in every family—the deconstruction of the reality of marriage and the family. It became evident that the greatest challenges are:

  • inoculating our children and grandchildren against the cultural influences negatively affecting their understanding of marriage for their futures;
  • rebuilding a marriage culture in a positive way that protects them and marriage supporters from attacks and persecution;
  • building a network of marriage supporters to counter the sense of isolation many are feeling and to provide opportunities for mutual support.

Little did we know what the Berkeley meeting would set in motion.The Holy Spirit get's all of the credit.

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That meeting, and an ongoing collaboration with co-chairs, led to the launch of a comprehensive formation and training program as part of Catholics for the Common Good Institute's (CCGI) Stand with Children project, whose mission is to promote the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society. The program is for marriage advocates who want to lead in their communities or just have better answers for their children at home. CCGI's innovative approach combines formation, training, prayer and action into a coordinated program for lay Catholics.

CCGI’s program was launched with a four-event series that has attracted over 250 leaders statewide attending events in Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

  1. “Regaining the Offense on Marriage” Training—Participants learn about the secular role of the laity in the mission of the Church, what it means to be an authentic Catholic advocate for marriage, and how principles of Catholic social teaching and a Trinitarian insight into the nature of the human person can lead to arguments and tactics for promoting marriage and the family in secular society. Many have said the experience is transformative.
  2. “Holy Spirit: The Light and Heart of the Apostolate” Retreat—Participants contemplate how the Holy Spirit guides us in our lay vocation to evangelize culture.
  3. “Practical Tools” Workshop—Participants gain hands-on training in speaking techniques, responding to common arguments from opponents, redirecting discussions to create more favorable terms for supporting marriage, and identifying other like-minded people to join the Stand with Children leadership team.
  4. “Created for Love” Retreat—Participants contemplate Trinitarian love as the source and meaning of the person, marriage, family, and a civilization of love.
Alameda County Co-Chair May Almario with CCG Chair Bill May
Alameda County Co-Chair
May A. with CCG Chairman,
Bill May

The response to our program has been overwhelming. We were honored to have both Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Diocese of Oakland and Bishop Dominic Luong of the Diocese of Orange participate in two of the trainings. We appreciated receiving endorsements from host dioceses, who promoted the events and have encouraged staff members and diocesan volunteers to attend.

The original group and newly added co-chairs have become a cohesive team that meets through CCGI’s bi-weekly conference calls. We monitor the legal challenges to Prop. 8, discuss strategy, network and rally for action. Through these powerful conference calls we successfully launched a CCGI Facebook group that is gaining national attention. We discuss ways to improve training and formation.

And, we activated our network to become the only organization in California to organize volunteer phoning in support of Question One in Maine to restore the definition of marriage there. In addition to that Cathy N, Alameda County Co-Chair and liason with comtemplative communities, sent a request for intercessary prayer to our network of 45 communities across the U.S. and Canada, and we called for a national novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

During the 2008 Prop 8 campaign to restore the definition of marriage, the County Co-Chairs placed the campaign and volunteers under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. During, 2009, we feel like she adopted us, not just as an intercessor, but a model and guide for the evangelization of Culture.

John Galten, Chairman, Catholics for the Common Good Insitute
John Galten
CCG Institute

We are often asked, “What is happening next?” Waiting in the wings are:

  • an expanded Training and Formation Program accessible to every part of the state and beyond;
  • the recruitment of one co-chair for every five parishes, and three representatives from every parish;
  • an updated, interactive website that will become a true destination for lay Catholic activists;
  • a monthly formation program led by local leaders focusing on a study of the human person and the role of the family in shaping culture;
  • a proactive Speakers' Bureau to bring the Stand with Children message to both Catholic and secular audiences;
  • and a leadership training program specifically for youth and young adults to give them courage to articulate the truths about marriage to their peers.
Father Michael Sweeney, OP, President, Dominican School of Philosphy and Theology, and CCG Board Member
Fr. Michael
Sweeney, OP, CCG
board member and
President, Dominican
School of Philosophy
and Theology
Our Lady of Guadalupe and our inspiration, Venerable John Paul the Great
CCG is a response to
the call of Venerable
John Paul the Great
for the evangelization
of culture. Our Lady
Guadalupe is our
Patroness, model
and guide.

Our formation curriculum is being developed by some of the greatest Catholic thinkers and teachers in the state including Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP, President of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and founder of the Catherine of Siena Institute, Ernest Pierruci, Jacques Maritain Scholar and co-founder of the Henning Institute on Catholic Social Thought, and John Galten, former President of Campion College and Executive Director of the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco.

Our many accomplishments over the past year have been managed on the tightest of budgets with the grace of God. Every dollar goes to the development of training programs and supporting volunteer leaders for the evangelization of culture.

As we look to 2010, the 10th anniversary of the Great Jubilee 2000, we reflect on the call to evangelization given to us from our late Holy Father, John Paul II. “The New Evangelization that can make the twenty-first century a springtime of the Gospel is a task for the entire people of God, but will depend in a decisive way on the lay faithful.” (John Paul II, US Bishops Ad Limina, June 5, 1998) CCG was founded on this directive for lay-led Catholic evangelization.

So much has happened in the last 10 years since the Jubilee. There are many sprouts of hope shooting up like blades of new grass. These new shoots need to be watered, nourished, and protected while they grow into the flowering springtime of the Gospel. We look to you, our benefactors, to provide us the means to grow and flourish.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Venerable John Paul the Great, pray for us.

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