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The challenge of inviting Catholics to exercise "faithful citizenship" requires more than instruction and formation in the Church's social teaching. Our tradition of worship, centered in the Eucharist, also calls Catholics to put their faith into action in the political arena. The connection between liturgy and life is learned through participation in worship experiences that enlighten our spirits and move our hearts to action. An important section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, in fact, "The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren." (#1397)
Parishes can provide prayer and reflection experiences that help parishioners understand more deeply these connections: how to recognize Christ in the poorest and most vulnerable, and then how to respond to the call to act on their behalf through political involvement. The following resources can help individuals and groups as they prayerfully reflect on the challenges of faithful citizenship.
|Dt 24:17-22||Zec 7:9-10||Lk 10:25-37|
|Jer 22:16||Mt 25:31-46||Jas 2:14-17|
For the people of the United States, that we may be united in building a society in which everyone can live with dignity and hope, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For the Church, that we may be a witness to Christ's love by practicing charity and promoting justice and peace throughout the world, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For Catholics throughout our nation, that the values of our faith may guide us as we exercise our responsibility as voters, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For the members of this community, that we may find ways to help build a world of greater respect for human life and human dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For those who serve in elected office, that they may lead with courage and wisdom, reflecting the Church's teaching that the moral test of our society is how the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable are faring, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For all citizens of the United States, that our participation in the upcoming election may lead to a world of greater justice and peace, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For those who are suffering from poverty and injustice, that our decisions this election year may lead to policies and programs that help them live in dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For parishioners who have been elected to public office, that they might use their offices to protect the unborn and promote the dignity of the poor and vulnerable, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For the earth, that our nation's leaders will be inspired by God's Spirit to protect all of His creation, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For workers around the world, especially children who work long hours for little pay, that we might all seek ways to promote fairness, justice, and dignity in their lives, we pray to the Lord. . . .
For leaders around world, that they might find ways to bring an end to war and violence, and promote peace and development for all nations, we pray to the Lord. . . .
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, No. 29
The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society, on the other hand, is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. So they cannot relinquish their participation "in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good." The mission of the lay faithful is therefore to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility. Even if the specific expressions of ecclesial charity can never be confused with the activity of the State, it still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as "social charity".
"Go Make a Difference" (Steve Angrisano)
"City of God" (Dan Schutte)
"Free at Last" (African American Spiritual)
"Oh, Freedom" (African American Spiritual)
"God of Our Fathers" (Daniel C. Roberts)
"The Harvest of Justice" (David Haas)
"He Has Anointed Me" (Mike Balhoff)
"Here I Am, Lord" (Dan Schutte)
"Jesus Still Lives" (Suzanne Toolan)
"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (James W. Johnson)
"Send Me, Jesus" (Thuma Mina) (South African)
"We Are Called" (David Haas)
"Who Will Speak" (Marty Haugen)
*The following hymnals are available from GIA Publications Inc., 7404 S. Mason Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638, www.giamusic.com, 800-442-1358.
Lead Me Guide Me
The following hymnals are available from OCP Publications, P.O. Box 18030, Portland, OR 97218-0030, www.ocp.org, 800-548-8749.
Glory and Praise
The following hymnals are available from World Library Publications, 3825 N. Willow Road, Schiller Park, IL 60176, www.jspaluch.com, 800-566-6150.
Peoples' Mass Book
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