Welcome to our fifth edition of Salt and Light, the Quarterly Review of St. John Vianney’s Social Service Ministries. In this issue, we turn our attention to what The Church teaches about our fundamental rights and corresponding responsibilities. The most important of these rights is, of course, the right to life and all those things necessary for survival. All of the many human rights that the Catholic Church recognizes are a result of our belief in the dignity of the human person recognizing that we are all born in the image and likeness of God. To explain more about what the Church teaches about “Rights and Responsibilities,” we have included a link to a short video from the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services and another video from Fr. Nathaniel Haslam, as well as an article from Education for Justice, and a reflection from Pat Guzman, one of our talented team of writers and parishioners.
Interestingly, when we were researching and preparing this issue for publication, we found an abundant amount of resources detailing what the Catholic Church teaches about human rights, but not much about our corresponding responsibilities. So, what do our responsibilities entail? Much of what is written revolves around protecting and defending the rights of others as human beings. As St. John XXIII wrote in Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), “In human society one man’s natural right gives rise to a corresponding duty in other men; the duty, that is, of recognizing and respecting that right. Every basic human right draws its authoritative force from the natural law, which confers it and attaches to it its respective duty. Hence, to claim one’s rights and ignore one’s duties, or only half fulfill them, is like building a house with one hand and tearing it down with the other.” Additionally, the USCCB refers to our responsibilities as duties “to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.” Not only are we called to defend and protect each other, we are called to care for one another, teach one another, and share our faith with one another. I can think of no better way to convey an example of how a Catholic can respond to this call than parishioner Sarah Kushner’s reflection which we share in this issue, “What a Gift!” Sarah is co-coordinator of our Gabriel Project Angels, and as such, is actively involved in serving mothers and babies in need on a daily basis. In her reflection, Sarah shares how her parents, her extended family, her teachers, and fellow parishioners met their responsibilities in caring for, teaching, and passing on their faith to her and how she endeavors to the do the same now for her family, her parish, and those in need.
Please remember that if you like to write and are interested in sharing reflections or reviews related to our Church’s social doctrine or the Works of Mercy, you may contact Vivian. We love our parishioner contributors!
The last few months in our Social Services’ office have been full of activity, and things will only get busier as we head into Thanksgiving and Advent. Please read on to learn more about our accomplishments in the last few months in our Quarterly Report.
As we approach Election Day on November 8th, please don’t forget to pray about the election and prepare your conscience to vote. We urge you to explore and review the information included on the USCCB’s Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The USCCB has included in its website a video as well as a variety of resources to help us to prepare to vote. Some of the documents are lengthy, so we’ve also included the shorter summary documents on the challenge of forming consciences for faithful citizenship: Our Call as Catholic Citizens and Making Moral Choices and Applying Our Principles. It is our hope that you will find them helpful. Finally, I’d like to share with you this prayer for Election Day:
O God, so that I may both vote and act for the common good, I ask for your help in forming my conscience according to the Gospel and according to your will.
I ask for the eyes to see all human beings as my brothers and sisters– all equally beloved as sons and daughters of God.
I ask for the courage to stand up for the rights and dignity of all human beings, especially the most vulnerable members of our society, including the poor, the sick, and the unborn.
Above all else, grant me the courage to re-examine my political loyalties and to be first and foremost, a faithful follower of you, Lord Jesus.
Remind me that our only true hope rests in you and that political power can never replace the will of God and the mission of the Church.
Help me to cast my vote in a way that is pleasing to you, Lord. Help me to do it reverently and with a well-formed conscience.
Please bless us, Lord, in these elections with the best leaders possible at all levels of government.
My vote may be small and insignificant in many respects, but it is an important responsibility in my life as a Christian. Help me to both vote and live by the Gospel putting my trust only in you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace and Blessings,
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp-stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” ~ Matthew 5: 13-16
In this issue of Salt and Light Quarterly Review:
- Rights and Responsibilities
Catholic Social Teaching 101: Rights and Responsibilities
A Reflection on Rights and Responsibilities by Pat Guzman
Rights, Responsibilities and False “Rights” by Fr. Nathaniel Haslam
The Principle of Rights and Responsibilities: the ten second summary
- Strengthening Catholic Identity Through the Family
What a Gift! by Sarah Kushner
Healthy Families, Healthy Society
- Living Faith, Changing Lives, Making a Difference: One Person at a Time
Quarterly Report from the Social Services Ministry
LIVING FAITH, CHANGING LIVES, MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
One Person at a Time
Quarterly Report from Social Service Ministries
The mission of the Social Service Ministries at St. John Vianney Catholic Church is to act on Catholic Social Teaching and our commitment to the Corporal Works of Mercy by providing a compassionate response to those parishioners and families in our community in need of assistance.
Our Social Service Ministries provide an opportunity for our parishioners to get involved and to answer God’s call to grow in faith by sharing their unique gifts and talents while serving and reaching out to those in need. Our ministry is part of the continuous support that St. John Vianney Catholic Church provides to the surrounding community and its parishioners. Read more.