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The Church encourages Catholics to "act upon the Church’s teaching" (Faithful Citizenship, no. 5). This is an essential part of living our faith. As St. James tells us, "faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (Jas 2:15-17). Our actions are to be faith-filled responses to the Word of God. This life-giving Word calls for a response from us. Thus, an essential step in any action plan is to reflect on God's Word as given to us in Sacred Scripture and as reflected in the teachings of the Church. To help with this reflection step, several sample lesson plans have been developed.
Allow participants to brainstorm freely. Encourage all ideas to be voiced. The more creative the better! They will have much more ownership if they decide what action needs to be taken. Nonetheless, the leader can be helpful by providing information about local and national agencies that need help or provide resources. (For example: your local Catholic Charities, diocesan Pro-Life or Social Concerns offices, St. Vincent de Paul, Bread for the World, USCCB, Catholic Charities USA, or Catholic Relief Services.)
A few sample activities are listed below:Service-oriented activities:
Introduce the activity as indicated in Step 2. Facilitate the group members’ participation in the activity, making sure the objective is clear. Accompany the participants as they engage in the activity, helping them to stay focused on the stated objective.
After you have completed your task, gather your group for reflection on the experience. This may be done immediately after the event, but if that is not possible, take time during your next session to reflect on the meaning of your actions.
Begin with prayer:
Let us pray. Pause in silence.
God of compassion, we thank you for the opportunity to serve our sisters and brothers in the name of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit guide all our works and help us to be faithful disciples. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ask your participants to reflect on the tasks they have recently completed. Allow time for all to quietly reflect before speaking. Ask these or similar questions:
Encourage participants to consider how lack of employment, low-wage jobs, and other factors often cause people to need help. Talk about how our society can address these causes through laws, policies, and programs.
Close the reflection session with the sign of peace and celebrate your accomplishment with social time and refreshments, if possible.
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