In his column last week in the St. Louis Review (September 17th issue) Archbishop Carlson wrote about “faithful citizens”. He said that “the Church is not indifferent to the plight of humanity nor or we above it all”. He indicated that “Christians are called to participate actively in the transformation of the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. To be a faithful citizen is to participate in the democratic process. As the Archbishop said, “We are to be faithful citizens who work to change the world we live in and eradicate moral evils and social injustices wherever we find them”. This participation is not optional, it’s who we are i.e. “faithful citizens who transform the world”.
There are two events in the near future that can help to bring about “faithful citizenship..” The first is the annual Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) gathering in Jefferson City on Saturday, October 6th. The MCC is the official lobbying arm for the bishops of the State of Missouri. Each year the MCC provides all kinds of information and opportunities for “faithful citizenship” at their conference.
The second opportunity is the Public Meeting that is sponsored by Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) which is an ecumenical group that works for justice. This year the Public Meeting will be held at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall on Chouteau Avenue. The union is allowing us to use their new hall because of all the work MCU did in trying to have the minimum wage initiative and the pay day lending initiative placed on the November ballot. Churches from St. Louis and St. Louis County will be participating. A number of elected officials and candidates will be present as MCU elicits their support for certain issues e.g. jobs from the huge 20 year MSD project, keeping Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare secure for retirees, “now what” with pay day lending and minimum wage injustices and more. This Public Meeting will take place on Sunday, October 14th, from 3 PM—4:30 PM. Last time we hired a bus for the 45 people that attended the gathering at St. Pius V Church (that was a powerful, prayerful event). We will be signing people up after Masses the next couple weeks, or you can call the Parish Office and sign up (837-3165). If you have never attended an MCU public meeting this experience is truly “faithful citizenship” in action.
Take the time to be a Christian. Put faith into action.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES—100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
This year Catholic Charities of St. Louis is celebrating 100 years of service to those in need. Each year Catholic Charities expends over $70 million dollars to assist people in the metropolitan area. Catholic Charities is one of the leading social service agencies in the State of Missouri. As Catholics we can be proud of the difference that our Church makes in so many lives. Last year over 125,000 individuals received help from Catholic Charities. Shout it from the housetops: “We Catholics care!”
I am proud to be on the Board of Catholic Charities here in St. Louis. I have learned so much about the professional way in which our Church reaches out to the community. There are programs for children (like Marygrove), for senior citizens (23 different homes), for abused women, for women with substance abuse problems, for immigrants, for the homeless (St. Patrick’s Center), for legal assistance, for those in need of counseling etc. When I first joined the Board I was blown away by the number of people that Catholic Charities serves and the amount of money that goes into the agencies. Our Church is important to the community.
As part of our 100 Anniversary we are hosting the Catholic Charities National Conference which will be held at the Hyatt from September 30—October 2. I am on one of the committees for the conference so I will be setting up for the liturgies and para-liturgies that will be held throughout the conference. The celebration actually begins on Friday with a “youth rally” sponsored by Catholic Charities at the Chaifetz Center. Not only will the high school youth be hearing about and praying about Catholic Charities outreach in the community but we will be seeking their help as volunteers.
I am also one of the presenters for a breakout during the conference. Because of my involvement in setting up, cleaning up, presenting, etc. I will not be around the parish very much from Thursday, September 27 through Tuesday, October 2. Please pray for us and for all the Catholic Charities agencies in the United States.