Letter to Parish Leaders

September 14, 2019

Dear Parish Leader,

Many blessings on your time at the DRVC Catechetical Congress. May your day be inspiring, engaging and full of God’s grace.

The congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph is partnering with community organizations throughout Long Island for 2020 Census awareness, education, and participation. The results of the 2020 Census will greatly affect many of our Long Island communities, especially those living in low-income, ethnically diverse areas. Getting an accurate count of the number of people living on Long Island is more important than ever, and could have a long-term impact on our neediest areas.

Parish churches are trusted community hubs, and can provide Census assistance and information. As a parish leader, you can bring information to your congregations about the Census and why it is so important to respond in 2020. Your parish can engage your parishioners and spread information to your congregations, using things like “Census Sundays” to call attention to the upcoming Census and everything it impacts.

As Jesus repeatedly taught us: every single human being counts. Everyone possesses inherent worth, dignity, and value – but our communities cannot be valued if they are invisible. Our community benefits when everyone is counted. The scriptural reference in Luke 2:1, stresses the importance of census-taking. It states: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of all the inhabited earth.” Census is an opportunity to ensure that your parishioners receive the appropriate funding for programs and resources that your parish community depends on, like schools, infrastructure, senior care, roads, hospitals, food assistance, health insurance, etc. You may not be aware, that census information is used by businesses to decide to invest in a community. There is a great deal at stake here, so we must work together as Catholics to care for our parishioners in this way.

The US Catholic Bishops reminded us of this in their 2016 statement, “If we want to have a good, healthy and virtuous society, we ourselves need to be good citizens, dedicated to the truth and promoters of the common good. We can contribute significantly to a positive political process.” In order to care for our neighbors, we need to support our communities by educating people on the importance of the Census. Each member has a right to be counted, know they are one of God’s children and that their voices should be heard.
We would like to invite you to be a Faith Leader. The Sisters of St. Joseph are grateful that you are considering empowering your parishioners by letting them know they are valued members of your community. By sharing with your parishioners the importance of the Census and how the results directly affect their lives, you can help uplift the important message that every single one of us counts and deserves to be represented in the 2020 Census.

If you would like more information about serving your parishioners by becoming at Census Faith Based Leader, kindly contact:
Mary Hallowell
Office Affairs and Special Projects Manager
Health & Welfare Council of Long Island
150 Broadhollow Road, Suite 118
Melville, NY 11747
Phone: (516) 505-4427
Fax: (516) 483-4794

Thank you!
Sister Susan Wilcox, CSJ
JPIC Coordinator, Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY
Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation
1725 Brentwood Rd. Brentwood, NY 11717
Office: 631-316-8134 (feel free to text me)