St. Mary's Parishioners are invited to attend Mass and Social gathering in Long Prairie.
St. Mary's Parishioners are invited to attend Mass and Social gathering in Long Prairie.
During one of the Food Drives, St. Mary's Parish collects bags of groceries for the Food Shelf in Alexandria.
A Challenge sent out by Pope Paul VI.
Fr. Steve blesses the Peace Pole which was donated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Members of St. Marys travel to San Lucas Mission to spend 10 days 'experiencing' the lives of the people that live there.
Who We Are
Aware of the gospel imperative to "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself", which requires concern for all human beings, the people of the Church of St. Mary believe that the practice of social justice and charity are integral to our life as Catholic Christians. Practicing charity and promoting social justice are responsibilities of our faith community.
The mission of the Committee for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), is to serve as a catalyst to empower our parish as the People of God to fulfill Jesus' teachings of love, justice, freedom and peace by continually responding in an organized way to societal and individual human needs, at both the local and global level.
The JPIC Committee will strive to assist the parish community to understand and act on Catholic Social Teaching. This will be achieved by identifying, supporting, and training leaders who will organize people and activities around four specific, complementary ministries.
The common theme that brings together these four main areas of social concerns is regular formation and reflection on Catholic social teachings (theological reflection).
Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
The JPIC Committee at St. Mary's strives to keep these principles as the cornerstone for all efforts. The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents. In these brief reflections, we highlight several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society—in economics and politics, in law and policy—directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.”1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
Care for God’s Creation
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.
This summary should only be a starting point for those interested in Catholic social teaching. A full understanding can only be achieved by reading the papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents that make up this rich tradition. For a copy of the complete text of Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions (No. 5-281) and other social teaching documents, call 800-235-8722.
Copyright 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
Publication No. 5-315
1 Paul VI, For the Celebration of the Day Of Peace (Rome: January 1, 1972).
Text is drawn from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions (Washington, DC: USCCB, 1998) and Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003).
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), formerly the International Fair Trade Association, was created in 1989 and is a global association of 324 organizations in over 60 countries. Members are fair trade producer cooperatives and associations, export marketing companies, importers, retailers, national and regional fair trade networks and Fair Trade Support Organizations.
WFTO's mission is to improve the livelihoods and well being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations, and speaking out for greater justice in world trade.
WFTO's core fields of activities are:
In 2004 WFTO launched a fair trade certification. The FTO Mark identifies registered Fair Trade Organizations worldwide (as opposed to products in the case of FLO International and Fairtrade mark) and guarantees that standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labor and the environment. These standards are verified by self-assessment, mutual reviews and external verification. The FTO Mark is available to all WFTO members who meet the requirements of the WFTO Standards and Monitoring System and so far over 150 organizations have registered.
What can we do?
St. Mary's will try to utilize products from the Fair Trade, if possible and will also be looking into selling some of them at fund raisers such as Silent Auctions. If you are interested in purchasing products, contact some of the local partners listed below:
Catholic Relief Services: http://www.crsfairtrade.org/
Equal Exchange: http://interfaith.equalexchange.com
Have you seen it?
Our Peace Pole is a four sided pole which has the word “Peace” carved/engraved into each of the four sides in eight different languages. This will be a gift from the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Initially, it will have English, Arabic, Spanish and Hebrew. The next four languages chosen to reflect the peace message: Korean, Norwegian, Swahili (Kenya & Tanzania) and Hebrew.
Fr. Steve blessing the Peace Pole in September 2010.
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Check out our August 2011 Mission Trip Blog - http://guatemalamissionstmarys.blogspot.com/
What is your mission?
How about a trip to Guatemala that touches lives?
LEARN and SERVE
Come learn about cultures, global realities, and the daily lives of the poor. Give the gift of your presence and compassion and in return, receive the gift of insight.
Be a part of making God’s love visible
Take the time to experience and truly appreciate the EIGHT BEATITUDES as you interact and work with the poor in San Lucas.
A MINISTRY of PRESENCE and A MINISTRY of DOING
There is a grossly uneven distribution of global wealth, and this provides an excellent opportunity for those who have been blessed with relative prosperity to reach out to those who are less fortunate. The journey of working with the poor will make lasting changes in their lives, and cause you to reflect and grow spiritually in life-giving ways. As you grow in your spiritual life through your interactions with the poor, you will witness God’s love. These interactions, relationships, and experiences gives your companions (the poor), the strength to hope, as they live from one day to the next. By doing missionary work, you will have a better understanding of the meaning of Christ’s message:
“Love your neighbor as yourself”
San Lucas Mission information: www.sanlucasmission.org/groups_volunteer.php
Committee for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation
Present: Fr. Steve Binsfeld, Tammy Boushek, Gloria Deick, Ken Howell, Rita Von Holtum, Don Skrove, Kathleen Lingor.
New JPIC Structure: Our long standing chairman, Rick Wagner has resigned from our committee as has committee member Lee Hockert. Tammy Boushek has agreed to act as interim chair, direct our monthly meetings and lead the committee on moving ahead with our strategic plan. We envision becoming more effective in promoting communication between the parishes various committees, the school and via our parish website.
Blank Slate Theatre Update: The presentation was very successful. We errored in that we did not have attendees sign in and give their contact information etc. as we then could have more easily followed up with them about future events we plan to present on sex trafficking. Rita asked us to give her the names of those who attended that we can recall. Kathleen will follow up with Rebecca Kotz, Kathy Langer’s intern and with Susan Keehn from Someplace Safe to get their input on planning a follow/up event on this subject.
Lamplighter Theatre: This group presents a skit on poverty. We will postpone scheduling them to come until fall. We will talk with Gina Pohlen and try to coordinate this event with what her curriculum is for Jr.-Sr. high students. Tammy stated that she will consider coordinating their presentation with a community event for Love INC.
Environmental Group Update: Through the efforts of Ken & Jeanne Howell, Al Schmidt and the Climate Lobby group, Dr. Bernie Evans from St. John’s University has been scheduled to present and lead discussion on the theological aspects of care of our environment. The date is Tuesday, March 18th, St. Mary’s Great Hall, from 6:30-8:00 PM. Ken will let us know what the actual title of his presentation will be and will also put together a poster for distribution to all Alexandria area parishes and groups. Kathleen will assist in getting copies printed of the poster for Ken. Fr. Steve asked that Ken speak with Dr. Evans about the possibility of interjecting moments of prayer or silence at appropriate breaks in his presentation. He also asked that Laurie Youngers be included in discussion for her input on enhancing the event. While it is not appropriate for Fr. Steve to write weekend mass homilies on specific issues, such as the environment, it is appropriate for him to use an environmental issue as an example of what the particular scripture for any given weekend is. It is also appropriate to include environmental issues in the prayers of the faithful.
Ken announced that there will be a presentation, “Electrons on the Run” at Alexandria Technical and Community College on Wednesday, March 12th from 8:30AM-12:00 PM that we are encouraged to attend.
Day On The Hill: JRLC: This is scheduled on Thursday, March 13th. Ken states there is a room reserved for attendees. He has scheduled a meeting with Senator Engebretson and Torrey Westrom. He has not made contact with Mary Fransen. He and Rita will continue putting in weekly bulletin announcements prior to this event. There is a bus for this event, the cost is $30.
Theatre for the Thirsty, Don Skrove: Don and his wife attended one of their performances and purchased 3 of their DVD’s. The Theatre for the Thirsty is a small company specializing in entertaining, music infused, funny, thought provoking, redemptive, soul stirring and imaginative productions. They have a current repertoire of 10 productions geared toward church audiences. Don would use all of the above adjectives to describe their performance. Their website is www.theatreforthethirsty.com.
Global Solidarity Small Group Update, Fair Trade: The Fair Trade Focus Group had their first meeting last week. Members are John and Barb Nei, Barb Wagner, Jerry Wright. Gloria Deick is our JPIC liaison for this group. Rita also attended this meeting. Their overall plan to provide parishioners with an opportunity for global solidarity through the sale of Fair Trade coffee. This has been approved by the parish council. Some specific components have to be worked out before implementation in early May. Don reported that the council meets again on Thursday, February 27th and the finance committee on Wednesday, February 26th. It would be good to lay out the process for inauguration for this effort (i.e. who will do the ordering, how will it be displayed, who will be in charge on specified weekends etc.) for presentation to these committees by these dates.
Global Solidarity Small Group Update, Mission Work/Trip: Rita reports that she has three of the five people needed to go on mission to Douglas, AZ from March 24th through the 28th. Fr. Steve will promote this event through announcements after weekend masses.
Global Solidarity, Almsgiving: The global solidarity small group discussed ways in which we could show our parishioners the many works of mission that we already do as a parish…..recognize how Jesus is working through us in doing mission. Our purpose for this would be to raise awareness and educate parishioners on works being done. Hanging small crosses with a specific ‘alm’on it onto an “Alms Tree” was discussed.
World Day of Prayer: Fr. Steve received notice that St. Mary’s is to be the host for this year’s World Day of Prayer which is on Friday, March 7th, 12:05 to 1:00 PM. The women from Egypt have written the prayers and script for this year’s event. Rita, Gloria and Kathleen will meet with Fr. Steve to look at fine tuning the flow of the prayers and music for this. Attendees will be asked to bring a brown bag lunch. Kathleen will ask for volunteers to bring pans of bars for hospitality time after the event.
Next month’s meeting: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:30 PM