Catholic youth make their case at the state capitol

Typography

SACRAMENTO—On April 3, 16 youths from the Diocese traveled to Sacramento for the annual Catholic Youth Advocacy Day.
 The day represents a yearly opportunity for young people to gain the experience of talking with elected leaders about public policy issues and getting a first hand look at how the process of state government works.

 The group included representatives from five different parishes and, for the first time, students from Aquinas High School, San Bernardino joined the event. They met with ten different state legislators or a member of their staff and took a tour of the State Assembly Floor. Students said the day helped them make an important connection.
 “We got to see how our faith informs how we live in society and how we can influence others to carry Catholic values outside of the Church,” said Victoria Cuidad Real, a parishioner of St. Mary Church in Fontana.
 For Aquinas student Cecelia Siegel, the legislators seemed to be interested in what the youth had to say.
 “They’re really open to hearing our voices,” she said. “It might be because we’re so young but that can help change things.”
 Father Paul Schmidt, S.V.D., Chaplain at Notre Dame School, Riverside, made the trip with the youth. He said he thinks it is important for policy makers to hear a consistent message from Catholic youth.
 “We bring something very important to the public square,” he said. “Our understanding of the dignity of every human being.”