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Part Two: A Church for the Poor

posted Jan 9, 2016, 1:21 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jan 21, 2016, 12:33 PM ]
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. (Luke 4:18)
Chapter 10 - Sent to Bring the Gospel to All the World
How healthy is the balance in our parish between tending to the spiritual needs of our current parishioners and proclaiming the Gospel to others through our words and our actions? Give concrete examples of ways that we do each of these.
"When we each participate in something that we had a great experience at (ie, the visit to the Holy Doors), we need to share that experience outward, and invite someone to join us for the next one..."

Chapter 9 - A House of Harmony
Pope Francis says, "This is the beauty of the Church" everyone brings their own gifts, which God has given, for the sake of enriching others." What steps can we as a parish take to welcome more of the gifts that parishioners have to offer?
"Pope Francis refers to the church as the "home of harmony" and uses the example of a symphony orchestra where everyone contributes to the production of the whole piece by contributing what is right and good yet each expressing their individual gifts... I just (for the first time) filled out a Parish survey to register, etc. One of the questions was a “skills survey” of what skills I’d be willing to share. I *think* I have some skills … but absolutely nothing that was listed there, which included things like bookkeeping, electrical, medical, dental, phone repair, glazier, roofer, etc. So on my survey, it sadly looks like I have absolutely nothing to offer. Maybe we need to think broader about 'gifts and talents.' The new census will help make us aware of talents and gifts. We need to start inviting new people to participate and share their talents."

Chapter 8 - A House That Welcomes All
What practical steps can we take to encourage parishioners and other to engage in the practice of letting themselves be loved by God as a way to holiness?
"Our outdoor signs/banners, and in particular the "we are all in this struggle together" campaign. When we wear our 'struggle' pins, or the 'stay awake' pins from advent, we are silently inviting people to look at their 'holiness' status, and asking them to come along and participate..."

Chapter 7 - A House of Communion
As a parish, we are meant to foster unity. Yet how might we be fostering discord in what we do or fail to do? What virtues must we adopt in order to build true unity?
"Each of us should remember to be kind in our words, not gossip. You cannot profess to love your brother and gossip against him/her. Praise each other's efforts, not speak badly when things are done differently than how we would do them... Our mantra should be 'step up and help'... We are building unity through the many pastoral/cultural groups and celebrations (Urdu Mass/Rosary, Hispanic Ministry, Rainbow Ministry, Blessing Easter baskets to name a few). We might be fostering discord by not explaining the culture/tradition to the parish in general, so that they know what to expect and can also participate. An inter-faith collaborative/committee, which would foster unity in the community."

Chapter 6 - Listen to the Cry of the Poor
How does our parish rate in the following areas?
1) eliminating the structural causes of poverty
2) promoting the integral development of the poor
3) performing daily acts of solidarity in meeting real needs
"We can assist parishioners in job search activities... We can use our talents to teach interviewing skills, resume writing, donate clothing appropriate for interviews, teach English language skills... Teens can offer some babysitting service at low no cost so parents can go on interviews. Perhaps a survey (anonymous ) would assist in identifying specific needs among the various groups?.. The word solidarity implies that you are one with those that are poor, that you feel their pain and make it your own and, from that vantage point, meet real needs. How does our parish rate in all this? I expect no worse than most, better than some but I think Pope Francis is really talking about more."