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Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

“The Spirit of the Lord… has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor… to proclaim liberty to captives… and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Lk4:18-19) With these words, Jesus echoes the lessons of the prophets, and foretells the mission he himself would live with such unparalleled power. How many stories of his healings have we heard? There were healings of physical conditions like blindness certainly, but also healings of more troublingly blind hearts and minds, burdened by fear or closed by sin. All of us might do well to remember that the well-respected and well-intentioned were often just as in need of Jesus’ healing ministry as those who were outwardly recognizable or labeled as being “in need.” As leaders of Catholic social ministries, we must also recognize our own need for Christ’s help and healing.

During this Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, we are taking the time to pray, learn, reflect and listen. Where do we need Christ to free us from our shackles? What prevents us from thriving together as a society? What makes us poorer as communities in ways we may not see or know how to name? These are among the questions that have propelled Catholic leaders and ministries such as Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and many others to gather together in Washington D.C. this week.

We are searching for answers from our faith and from each other to today’s most pressing challenges—for example, the plight of families and the poor during this severe economic crisis, and recent challenges to religious freedom. We also seek to share the lessons our faith community teaches, as well as those we’ve learned from such miraculous companions as the “Lost Boys” of southern Sudan. Those to whom we minister often end up ministering to us in surprising and powerful ways.

As the “Lost Boys” of South Sudan teach us, we carry some answers with us, we find others along the way, and we grow through sharing them with others. Some of these now adult refugees have recently found their way back to their old homes in their newly independent country, where they are trying to turn lessons they’ve picked up on their long journeys into leadership for their people. Like the “Lost Boys,” those of us who continue the work of Catholic social ministry, and those whom we serve, are called to continue a reconciling pilgrimage and prophetic mission. At the 2012 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, we have connected with one another, we have learned from each other, we have prayed together for openness to God’s guiding grace, and we will continue to advocate as one family of faith about the most urgent threats to human life and dignity in the United States and around the world. We hope that those who have not been able to join us in person this week will be touched by the renewal and action of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering. Pray with us that it may yield good things for those most in need today.

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