RICH TREASURE OF WISDOM FOR LENT
For the past couple of years, I’ve been proud to be part of a committee that’s done some important work in the diocese without a lot of fanfare.
In June, 2015, Bishop LaValley established a Public Policy Team to promote and publicize the Church’s public policy advocacy priorities in the Diocese of Ogdensburg.
The bishop expressed his “hope that we will educate our people on the Church’s social teachings, current issues and proposed legislations, and the needs of our people, especially the poor and the marginalized. Ultimately, we want to help form our people into knowledgeable and compassionate advocates for justice and the common good…”
Daughter of Charity Sister Donna Franklin served as the first chair of the committee until she retired from her position as director of Catholic Charities earlier this year. Deacon Patrick Donahue replaced her on the committee while Marika Donders, director of the Department of New Evangelization; became the new chair.
Other current team members are Stephen Tartaglia, director of the Family Life Office; Father Douglas J. Lucia, Judicial Vicar, director of vocations and director of seminarians; Colleen and John Miner, directors of the Respect Life Office, Msgr. Dennis Duprey, pastor of St. Peter’s in Plattsburgh, St. Joseph Sister Ellen Rose Coughlin, director of Catholic education and superintendent of Catholic Schools; Kelly Donnelly, director of youth ministry; and yours truly.
While we can claim a few brag-worthy accomplishments since the group was formed, today I’d like to let you know what’s next on our agenda.
As Bishop LaValley said in his Lenten message this year (see page 3), the diocesan priority this Lent is to help Catholics better understand the Church’s social teaching and its key principles.
“Using the Prayer of St. Francis as our model,” he writes, “I invite our local Church to consider what it means when we pray: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…”
The public policy committee is doing its part by putting together a series of articles exploring each of the seven themes of Catholic social teaching, what the American bishops have described as a “rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.”
Sounds like a perfect way to become an instrument of peace... in our world, our country, our church, our homes!
Bishop LaValley's Letter for Lent
THE SEVEN THEMES OF CATHOLICS SOCIAL TEACHING
1. LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
Every human person is created in the image of God and so the dignity and life of each person must be respected. Learn more about this teaching here.
2. CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION
The human person is not only sacred, but social. Marriage and Family are the building blocks of society. All work for the common good. Learn more about this teaching here.
We are our brothers' and sisters' keeper and must stand together in the pursuit of justice and peace. Learn more about this teaching here.
4. DIGNITY OF WORK
Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a participation in God's creation. Rights of workers must be respected. Learn more about this teaching here.
5. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The right to life is the right that makes all other rights possible. We have a right to a decent life but also the responsibility to make a decent life possible for others. Learn more about this teaching here.
6. OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
God has a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, and we too are called to have a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. The measure of our society is how we care
for the least among us. Learn more about this teaching here.
7. CARE FOR GOD'S CREATION
We are stewards of God's creation and must care for creation and be guided by a concern for generations to come. Learn more about this teaching here.