Who we are
VOICE is a ministry of the parish that advocates for social justice on issues important to Prince William County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VOICE ministry provides an avenue for parishioners to become involved in their local communities, be an agent for social justice/change, and present a Catholic voice in the public square about important public policy issues
Why it’s important
The majority of VOICE issues are family and human dignity issues. Other parish ministries also address these topics, the parish VOICE ministry focuses on issues that highly impact people and families in everyday life – especially those communities of the poor and minorities. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke 12:48)
VOICE is called to be ever faithful in our ministry. We celebrate accomplishments, renew our efforts on works-in-progress, and always work for the greater glory of God. Read about some of our past and on-going efforts of this ministry in the briefs below.
How we advocate
VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) is a non-partisan coalition of almost 50 faith communities and civic organizations in Northern Virginia working together to create justice in middle and low-income communities. We advocate in the Northern Virginia region as faithful Catholics following the spirit of Dialogue and Proclamation, the 1991 document which encourages the faithful to work in advocacy and action with other Christians and people of different faiths. Read about one of our recent (Dec 2022) joint efforts.
Current VOICE Intiatives
In these three videos, Lt. Heather Vance of the PWC Police Department, explains the mental health services available through Co-Responder units and the new Crisis Receiving Center. The 3rd video highlights how this also offers support for Veterans experiencing crisis moments. (Nov 2022)
Updated November 2022– 2 years ago, VOICE help create the county’s Public Defender (PD) office. While very successful the PD office faces serious challenges retaining attorneys due to low pay and heavy workloads. The two different sides of our system of criminal justice representation–Public Defenders offices and Commonwealth Attorneys’ offices–are funded unequally. Learn more.
Updated November 2022 – Affordable housing includes home ownership and renting. It is an on-going crisis at a time in which the County is engaged in long-term planning for zoning and land use. As one of its 2022-23 initiatives VOICE has committed to form a team of PWC VOICE leaders to research actions around affordable housing to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and potential alliances to change the housing status quo in PWC. Learn More.
WHY YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT
VOICE is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and is funded by dues paid by member institutions (congregations, temples, mosques, schools, health centers, etc.) and grants from foundations. Our annual membership dues are supported by this special collection. Please be as generous as possible. A special envelope was sent in the bi-monthly envelope mailing. Please mail your donation to the church, drop it by the church office or place it in the “Catch All” box in the church vestibule. You can also donate ONLINE with our parish giving plaform.
Past VOICE Initiatives that were Successful
Prince William County Pre K
Eight years ago, the Prince William County Public School (PWCPS) system only had 8 Pre K classes. The St. Francis of Assisi VOICE ministry began an initiative, that with the help of many other groups, changed Pre K availability for all. Today there are 80 Pre K classes in PWCPS. Learn more.
Investing in Schools
Too often we hear about a school lockdown, sad but occasionally necessary. What is always necessary is to lift up our children not only in education but also in health and emotional wellbeing. Did you know that one in five children and adolescents experience a mental health problem during their school years, but 60% don’t receive the support and treatment they need? Of the remaining 40%, two-thirds of them receive the treatment they need in the school setting. Want to help? Contact us!
Laws that Burden the Poor
In 2018, Virginia’s threshold for felony theft was the lowest in the country at $250. For decades, thousands of Virginians have been saddled with felony convictions on their records for minor property crimes. Did you know that Virginia was one of the few states to suspend driver’s license for unpaid court debt. Both these unduly affect the poor, creating even more burdens in daily life. VOICE led campaigns that changed these laws. Learn more.
VOICE Ministry Contact Form
This contact form is for those who want to contact ministry leaders, ask questions, or find out to become involved in the Church’s outreach to the public square where we live.
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