Parishioners represent local church at 2013 Texas Catholic Conference

Two local Catholic parishioners recently represented the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church at the 2013 Advocacy Day of the Texas Catholic Conference. Aida Pantoja and Andrea Mendez took part in the event, which was held in Austin at the Texas State Capitol. They joined up with 50 other parishioners from Midland, Odessa, Walls, Abilene, San Angelo and Colorado City.The local group was a small portion of the 1,500-plus people from other Texas dioceses. Twelve Texas bishops also took part in the Advocacy Day.While the event allowed for Texas Catholics to voice their concerns on what they would like to see from state legislators, other entities attended to speak out. Among them were real estate agencies, Planned Parenthood employees, doctors’ and nurses’ associations and insurance companies.The members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church showed up around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9. All groups were timed with their presentations; the Catholic group was invited to speak at 11:15 a.m. On behalf of the group, a bishop spoke on pro-life issues, such as respecting innocent human life from conception to natural death, religious liberty in legislation and objections on some parts of the upcoming mandate from the HHS (Health and Human Services).At 12:30 p.m., the bishops took turns and addressed the Catholic delegates. While they thanked them for their work, they also urged them to pray and continue to support religious liberty and defend innocent human life.One leader from the group, Bishop Pfeifer, also met with the office of state representatives Susan King, Tom Craddick and Drew Darby. Pantoja and Mendez spoke with the office of representative Charles Perry of Colorado City.