Why Catholic? Workshop,
Living the Gospel Values in the 21st Century
in Ogdensburg, NY

By Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, SSJ, Director of Evangelization, Diocese of Ogdensburg

Sister Eileen Rush, SSJ from RENEW International recently presented the Why Catholic? Faith Formation Enrichment Workshop called Living the Gospel Values in the 21st Century.

There were over 200 Small Community faith sharing members who came together to pray and to learn more about the Seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching. With prayer and reflection, they proclaimed they were a people called and set apart to be people of justice and charity, to be stewards of creation, to continue to recognize the dignity of all God’s sons and daughters and to show respect for each person created by God, and to be channels of peace.

Sister Eileen explained the meaning of justice that is, being in right relationship with God. She shared Scripture references that related to justice and charity, described experiences of justice being practiced e.g. in Quito, Eucador. It was Rev. John Halligan who started the Working Boys Center, a Family of Families. The purpose of the Working Boys' is to help the poor in Quito, Ecuador become "agents of their own prosperity" by means of changes in attitudes and behaviors. This process of change revolves around the development of ten important values: "loyalty, personal formation, family, religion, instruction, economy, work, recreation, health and housing." Sister Cindy Sullivan, BVM, a native of Massena, is one of the co-directors of the Center. As a Peace Corps volunteer in 1974, Sullivan was assigned to teach at the center. Not only did she fall in love with the pupils, their parents and the staff, she also found her vocation. Sister Cindy returned to Quito in 1981 as a Blessed Virgin Mary sister.

Msgr. Dennis Duprey, pastor of the Malone Catholic Parishes, Betty LaHart, Sister Mary Elizabeth Looby, Nancy Hurteau, Cheryl Learned, Susanne Aren, Richard Arens.
Sarah Drew, Mary Jane Fleming, Rosie Houghton,
Sister Mary Rita Kempney, SSJ, St. Mary’s Church, Copenhagen.

Sister Eileen engaged the participants to reflect on these Catholic Social Teachings to see how one or more of these principles were being accomplished in their parishes. And then, they were to determine whether these activities or projects were means of charity or justice. It was found that many of their parish activities were a combination of the principles focusing on both the needs of charity and the rights of individuals, families, and all of creation. Sister concluded the session with the Art of Catholic Social Teaching—Act, Reflect, Transform. The way to act is to attend to both the readiness of parishioners and students to serve, and to the dignity of the poor. The next step is to do research in the social sciences, with those affected by the issue, and in Catholic social teaching. Finally, transcend political and social ideologies and identify specific initiatives that will build God’s kingdom.

Some important websites that offer a variety of first rate information and resources are:

  • www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp- The US Catholic Conference, Department of Social Development and World Peace website offers background information and *action alerts*on a variety of domestic and international issues, as well as general information on educating for justice and political responsibility.
  • www.networklobby.org This network is a Catholic Social Justice organization involved in education, lobbying, and organizing around economic and social justice issues in the United States. The website provides weekly legislative “hot new items”, voting records, suggestions for prayer etc. Join this Network and this site will provide the opportunity for you to e-mail your elected representatives regarding current issues.
  • www.nyscatholicconference.org This network is the official New York State public policy voice for the Catholic Church. The website offers legislative items pertinent to New York State. You are encouraged to Join the Network and “Take Action”. The Catholic Advocacy Network will inform you by e-mail the important issues for you to act upon.

Click to learn more about Why Catholic?/¿Por qué ser Católico?

About RENEW International RENEW International is a canonically-recognized Catholic organization based in Plainfield, NJ, in the Archdiocese of Newark. RENEW International fosters spiritual renewal in the Catholic tradition by empowering individuals and communities to encounter God in everyday life, deepen and share faith, and connect faith with action. Since 1980 RENEW International has revitalized parish life in over 150 dioceses in the United States, touching the lives of 25 million people through its renewal processes. RENEW International also reaches many thousands outside the United States, having served people in 23 countries, across six continents and in 44 languages.