The Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon, Bishop, Diocese of Cleveland addressed an audience of legislators from within the State of Ohio this morning (Monday, April 20) and other invited guests at the Diocese of Cleveland's twelfth Biennial Legislative Breakfast. The event was held at the Fatima Family Center, 6600 Lexington Avenue, Cleveland. This was an opportunity for Bishop Lennon to present his concerns about expected cuts in the yet to be released State of Ohio budget for 2010 and 2011. It was also a chance for legislators to dialogue directly with the bishop regarding his concerns. Bishop Lennon spoke about the State of Ohio budget as a "moral document". He challenged legislators to remember the poorest and most vulnerable members in our communities and the dignity of every person.
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Prior to Bishop Lennon's talk, three other persons spoke on the topics of education, health care, and human services. Margaret Lyons, Superintendent of Schools, Office of Catholic Education, Diocese of Cleveland, spoke on the importance of providing quality education in a tough economy. She also expressed concerns regarding tuition costs for families choosing a Catholic education and any cuts that maybe coming to students educated in the public schools.
Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, President & CEO, Sisters of Charity Health System, spoke on the extremely difficult economic situation that hospitals are currently facing including layoffs and the freezing of wages. She stated their number one mission has always been to serve the people and their health care needs.
J. Thomas Mullen, President & CEO, Catholic Charities Health and Human Services, spoke about the importance of community partnerships in effectively serving thousands of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in Northeast Ohio. He also expressed regret about wage freezes and program downsizing in the current economy.