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Practical ways for Nebraskans become politically active

In my last column, I commented that Jesus never said: “Thy Legislature come!” And while true, it is also true God has given us a charge: He wants us to be politically active Catholics.

One way that we can be politically active Catholics is to prepare our own hearts and minds for the current legislative session, which began Jan. 9. Last time, I discussed how we must overcome our own fears and concerns about our role in the political process, and to ask God – through the intercession of St. Pope John Paul II – for the courage to do so. Now I want to discuss some practical ways you can engage in the legislative process.

Join the Catholic Advocacy Network of Nebraska (CANN). You are busy. You feel pulled in a million different directions every day. You don’t have time to engage in the political process – or so it seems. But at the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC), we have made it easy to stay up-to-date on the activity of the state Legislature and have access to the tools you need to get engaged.

In the upper right-hand corner of our website (necatholic.org), you will find a yellow banner that says, “Join Our Network.” Click on it and you can easily sign up for CANN. Through this network, we provide e-mail information updates about important legislative activity and notify you when Catholics need to take political action and contact their state senators.

While you are on our website, you can also find more extensive information about other public policy matters that we are currently or have previously worked on.

Follow the NCC on social media. The NCC has an active Facebook page and Twitter feed. Simply search “Nebraska Catholic Conference” on either of these platforms and “Like” or “Follow” us. Through these avenues, you can stay more up-to-date on legislative matters, among other things.

Contact the NCC anytime. I always stress to people when we give parish talks never to be shy about calling the NCC. One of my favorite things is when people call the office to learn more about our initiatives. This tells me you are engaged and eager to learn. We are happy to field your calls anytime if you want to learn more about a particular piece of legislation, know how to engage your state senator or invite us to speak at your parish. Reach us at 402-477-7517.

Learn about the Unicameral. If it’s been a while and you’ve forgotten how your state Legislature works or you simply want another resource to stay up-to-date, visit nebraskalegislature.gov. At our state Legislature’s website, you will find lots of information, such as summaries of the legislative process, the history of the Unicameral and the progress of individual legislative bills. You can also sign up for the Unicameral Update, a great (free) publication for subscribers during the legislative session.

Know your senator. I spoke about this last time, so I will keep it brief. Don’t hesitate to learn more about your own state senator. Get to know them as a person and where they stand on issues. They want to get to know you.

Pray. Above all, we must remain vigilant with our prayer. Let your prayer rise up to the heavens – and pray that our state lawmakers would be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they discern the common good for our state. Entrust them to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at tvenzor@necatholic.org.

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