We are all one human family in this world. Because we realize our dignity, rights, and responsibilities, we need to continue to build a community that empowers people to attain their full human potential. By working for justice, we fulfill our mandate to build the body of Christ. The US Catholic Bishops offer us an Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching: Does the way I spend my time reflect a genuine concern for others? Is solidarity incorporated into my prayer and spirituality? Do I lift up vulnerable people throughout the world in my prayer, or is it reserved for only my personal concerns? Am I attentive only to my local neighbors or also those across the globe? Do I see all members of the human family as my brothers and sisters? (USCCB)
Our culture is tempted to turn inward, becoming indifferent and sometimes isolationist in the face of international responsibilities. Catholic Social Teaching proclaims that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live. We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means learning that “loving our neighbor” has global dimensions in an interdependent world. This virtue is described by Saint John Paul II as “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good ... to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38). (USCCB document Catholic Social Teaching Challenges).
If you would like to watch a short video on this principle or theme, please either (a) click on this link: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching or (b) go to www.usccb.org, click on Beliefs and Teachings in the menu bar to drop down options, then click on What We Believe, then click on Catholic Social Teaching in the left column. When the lead video pops up, click on the upper left Playlist icon, and choose the CST 101 theme you are looking for (Solidarity).
So what do poor people around the world really need to make their lives more stable, healthier and safer? What can we do from far away to actually make a difference in their lives?
Catholic Relief Services
There is great work being done by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which is the official overseas and relief agency of the U.S. Bishops, acting in our name to bring relief, opportunity and hope to the poor across the world. Through the mission of CRS, we can live out our faith in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are in difficult situations.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35). Solidarity reminds of Jesus’ call to see him in all those we encounter. CRS sees Jesus in displaced families, those who seek to change unjust laws, and those who need pastoral care and humanitarian assistance around the globe.
At the Masses one Sunday in June each year, St. Bonaventure takes up the annual CRS Collection as part of the Diocese of Orange Universal Church Collection (which also funds Peter's Pence, described below). This Collection supports Catholic agencies that touch more than 100 million lives around the world. The funds from the Collection help provide food to the hungry, welcome and support to displaced refugees, and invaluable life skills to those seeking a better life. Please plan to give generously to this collection each year, and through CRS to Jesus in disguise. Your generosity will help reunite families, teach life skills, and meet the vital humanitarian needs of many people. Please visit www.usccb.org/nationalcollections to learn how your donations are making a difference.
In October, we celebrate Fair Trade Month. Throughout the month, ethically-minded consumers, retailers and brands unite to celebrate and promote Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.
Fair Trade is a market-based approach to fighting poverty. That means that it only works when people actually buy the fair trade products, like coffee, chocolate and handcrafts. Catholic Relief Service encourages us to support Fair Trade in our family, parish and diocese – learn more at www.crsfairtrade.org. Fair Trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. It highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first – visit www.fairtradeusa.org to see how this works.
“Let us make sure that none of God’s children ever feels alone.” In September of 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a homily in which he explained that those who are baptized create one family of believers who are never alone. The annual Peter’s Pence Collection unites us in solidarity to the Holy See and its works of charity to those in need. This collection supports the Pope’s philanthropy by giving the Holy Father the means to provide emergency assistance to those in need because of natural disaster, war, oppression, and disease. Our generosity allows the Pope to respond to our suffering brothers and sisters with promptness, love, and compassion, so God’s people will not feel alone in their time of misfortune. (USCCB website)
Solidarity Close to Home
You may notice more homeless people in our area at certain times of the year, such as when the armories which provide shelter in the winter close down for the summer, so more people are on the streets. On the Homelessness issue page under the Justice and Peace home page, you will find information on ways we are trying to help our homeless neighbors climb up and out of homelessness and into a better life. Thank you for caring!