Welcome to our sixth 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 solidarity. St. John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) asserted that “every man is his ‘brother’s keeper’, because God entrusts us to one another. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) explains further that “We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be.”
In Of Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis), St. John Paul II proposed that solidarity is both an obligation of society or nations, but also an obligation of individuals. While nations must provide for their citizens in justice and equality, Pope John Paul II also added that the preference or option for the poor and vulnerable (discussed in our 4th edition of Salt & Light) “has to be expressed in worldwide dimensions, embracing the immense number of hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without medical care, and those without hope.”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly commands us to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. In regards to the individual’s obligation to solidarity, St. John Paul II wrote that “Solidarity helps us to see the other not just as some kind of instrument, with work capacity and physical strength to be exploited and then discarded when no longer useful, but as our neighbor, a helper to be made a sharer on par with ourselves in the banquet of life which all are equally invited by God.”
In solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we work together for the common good. The common good is defined as those social conditions which allow people to reach their God-given potential. Pope Benedict XVI explained in Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate), “To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is the good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of ‘all of us’, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. … To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity.”
To understand more about what the Church teaches about “Solidarity,” please view the short video from Fr. Nathaniel Haslam, LC from Legionaries of Christ. In this edition of Salt & Light, we have also included two excellent reflections from our parishioners, Deacon Marcus Fryer and John Fahy. Deacon Marcus Fryer writes about what Catholic families can do to raise their children in the faith, so that they will stay connected with the Church throughout their lives. For an additional treat, John Fahy has written a review, from the Catholic perspective, of the new movie and the book it is based on, “Silence.” We’re also pleased to share with you our Annual Report from Social Services for 2016.
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 Clinton. We love our parishioner contributors!
Wishing you a Holy Lent and a Joyful Easter!
“Above all, clothe yourself with love and let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts” ~ Colossians 3:9-17
“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:
Living Solidarity like Jesus Christ by Fr. Nathaniel Haslam
- Strengthening Catholic Identity
Young People and the Catholic Church by Deacon Marcus Fryer, SJ
Silence, A book review by John Fahy
- Living Faith, Changing Lives, Making a Difference: One Person at a Time
Yearly Report from the Social Services Ministry
LIVING FAITH, CHANGING LIVES, MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
One Person at a Time
Yearly Report from Social Service Ministries
November 1st, 2015 – October 31st, 2016
Scripture, especially in the Hebrew prophets and in the life and words of Jesus, calls us to work for justice and charity. Our Social Service Ministry here at St. John Vianney has clear biblical roots.
In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus began his public life by reading a passage from Isaiah that introduced his ministry and is now the model for social service ministries throughout the Church today. According to Jesus’ teachings, we must proclaim the message of the gospel and:
- bring “good news to the poor” in a society where millions lack the necessities of life;
- bring “liberty to captives” when so many are enslaved by poverty, addiction, ignorance, discrimination, violence, or disabling conditions;
- bring “new sight to the blind” in a culture where the excessive pursuit of power or pleasure can spiritually blind us to the dignity and rights of others; and
- “set the downtrodden free” in communities where crime, racism, family disintegration, and economic and moral forces leave people without real hope (Lk 4:18).