One of the reasons the U.S. bishops issued their recent statement on poverty was to provide a resource for social ministry leaders in their efforts to broaden and deepen the Church's commitment to charity and to social and economic justice. The bishops' new statement, A Place at the Table, provides an opportunity to:
- remind Catholics that central to our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ is our concern for those who are poor or suffering;
- urge that as our nation debates its response to global terrorism and violence, we must not only consider military options, but also policy options that address suffering and build greater justice, good will, and peace among all people.
Diocesan Planning Ideas
As you develop and carry out your plans for 2003 and beyond, we hope you will consider how A Place at the Table can be helpful to your work.
- As a theme for a diocesan conference or a workshop at a diocesan gathering.
- As a topic for discussion at a diocesan staff meeting and/or as a topic for programs and resources developed jointly by diocesan staff offices. The basic message of A Place at the Table provides opportunities for collaboration and relates to the work of many offices, including African American Catholics, Hispanic Catholics, pro-life, evangelization, missions, Migration and Refugee Services, social services, youth and young adult ministry, persons with disabilities, the diaconate, continuing education of priests, liturgy, education, Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and others.
- As a topic for a bishop's column or an op-ed in your diocesan newspaper.
- As a topic for a training programperhaps you've been thinking about offering a new training program for parish leaders, teachers and catechists, priests and deacons, or others.
- As a unifying theme and foundation for your legislative agenda. Our teaching about caring for those who are poor and about working for justice and peace provides the inspiration and direction for our work on public policies.
- As a theme and topic for the third season of Renew, or as a follow-up topic for Renew groups.
- As a resource and discussion/education topic for parishes, small faith communities, Catholic schools, youth groups, religious education programs, and others. See related resources for prayer and worship, preaching, education and formation, individuals and families, service to those in need, advocacy, organizing, and global concerns. The Pledge Against Poverty can be a useful tool in many settings.
- As a theme and a foundation for your efforts to promote diocesan and national collections that give Catholics an important opportunity to share and pool their resources to help those who are poor and to work for greater justice and peace. These collections can be seen as valuable opportunities only if parishioners understand Catholic teaching about poverty and justice.