Ideology vs. Catholicism, supporting our pastors, praying for persecuted Christians, and more

Dear friends,
 
“Dear sister, dear brother, if you feel the darkness of solitude, if you feel that an obstacle within you blocks the way to hope, if your heart has a festering wound, if you can see no way out, then open your heart to the Holy Spirit.”
 
These were the beautiful words of Pope Francis in his homily for Pentecost, that precious moment when the Holy Spirit was sent upon the Apostles, marking the beginning of their mission to convert all the nations. We call this moment, with affection, the birthday of the Church. In the Holy Spirit, we have an unimaginable treasure—that which makes it possible for us to grow in holiness, sanctify our lives, discern God’s will, and discover how we are uniquely called by the Lord to be a “human being fully alive” as he created us to be, in the words of St. Irenaeus. In the work of living as loving Christian citizens at the service of our neighbours, the Holy Spirit is our guide, our director, and the zealous energy that makes possible all fruitful, good works.
 
In Pope Francis’ Pentecost homily, the Holy Father touched on the exact theme of our latest Catholic Civics Workshop—the ways ideologies block us from fully taking in the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who always guides us to authentic encounter and loving service to our neighbours. “If we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left,” says Pope Francis. “When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit.”
 
Where instead, is a Spirit-animated Christian driven? Against all the cynicism and fear of our age, the Spirit drives us to joy and into the arms of those who need Christ—that is, everyone. “The Paraclete is telling the Church that today is the time for comforting,” said Pope Francis. “It is more the time for joyfully proclaiming the Gospel than for combatting paganism. It is the time for bringing the joy of the Risen Lord, not for lamenting the drama of secularization. It is the time for pouring out love upon the world, yet not embracing worldliness. It is more the time for testifying to mercy, than for inculcating rules and regulations. It is the time of the Paraclete! It is the time of freedom of heart, in the Paraclete.”
 
The result of this Spirit-led attitude of joy is unity. We unite despite our differences, despite our frequent disagreements, in the shared purpose of our mission on Earth: proclaiming the Good News and doing good works in the name of the one who saved us. The first Apostles, said the Pope, “had contrary political ideas, different visions of the world… once they received the Spirit, they learned to give primacy not to their human viewpoints but to the ‘whole’ that is God’s plan… The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another… the enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies.”
 
Usually, we write our own words in these letters. You can see why we would instead give such space to the Holy Father’s words. How could we ourselves ever better express the spirit of Catholic Conscience?
 
Whether you consider yourself left-wing or right-wing, no matter what particular social challenges you are most passionate about, or all the different, myriad places God has called each of you to serve, we are united by the same Saviour, the same love, the same commission. No matter your mission, invite the Holy Spirit into your mission and service. The Spirit will always lead you to fruitfulness—and will always lead you to unity with your brothers and sisters in Christ. This was Christ’s desire: that we would be one in Him, as He is one in the Father, in the touching words of the Gospel of John.
 
Pope Francis sums it up perfectly…
 
“Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole.”
 
Sincerely,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

ANNOUNCING OUR JUNE CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP: USING MONEY LIKE A CATHOLIC

Matthew 6:24 famously reads, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” Yet as a Catholic living 2021, there’s no avoiding money and its powerful role in our lives and the society we participate in every day. How we use money lovingly, effectively, and with Catholic social teaching in mind is crucial to how we serve God and neighbour in this life. How do we as Christian disciples use our money in Christian ways? How do we steward the money of others, in our professional workplaces or our community projects? And how can we resist a money-centric culture that often reduces our human dignity to consumption and production, while also recognizing money’s role in pursuing the common good?

Join us on Wednesday, June 30 at 7:00 PM EDT for a Catholic Civics Workshop with two Catholic experts who will help us answer these critical questions: Michael Ryall, Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management, and Paul Perrone, a Chartered Financial Analyst and experienced investment industry professional.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Works of Mercy In Out Community

SUPPORT OUR PASTORS! HELP YOUR LOCAL PARISH AS PUBLIC HEALTH RESTRICTIONS EASE

The COVID-19 pandemic has had terrible effects on all Canadians. All of us have been touched in some way, suffering everything from loneliness and worsening mental health, to illness or loss of loved ones, to financial precarity, being fired, facing eviction or food insecurity… the list, sadly, goes on.

As Catholics, one of the pains we have faced in this pandemic is separation from our parish communities, Holy Mass, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We are all looking forward to returning to Mass, the site and summit of our lives as Christians.

All of us have simply been astounded by the courage and conviction of our pastors in this pandemic. They have transformed how they serve our parish communities, through online Masses, significant measures to protect the health and safety of those attending Mass in-person, and creative methods of continuing the ministries of parish life and community. Our pastors are doing their jobs. As parishioners, we have to do ours. As we begin to return to in-person Masses—God willing—over the course of the summer, consider different ways of joining the effort to ensure our parishes are thriving when this is all over:

  1. Volunteer to support reopening efforts: Reach out to your pastor personally and offer to support reopening. For at least the summer, teams of volunteers cleaning up the church between Masses, as well as other pandemic-related measures, will be part of parish life. We can all help support these efforts—ones that will help ensure in-person Masses are possible when legally allowed to proceed.
  1. Make an extraordinary donation to your parish, and encourage your friends to do the same: Many of our parishes have suffered significant financial instability in the pandemic. Giving a little extra this year to help restore them to stability is an investment in the spiritual well-being of all our communities.
  1. Send a note to your pastor thanking them for their work during the pandemic: As followers of Christ, we know the power of joyful gratitude for the love and service of others. Let’s share that gratitude with our pastors, who have shown their incredible commitment to their vocations and the People of God in great difficulty.

Do you have other ideas for how we can work as individuals and communities to support our parishes as they re-open? Please, send us a message. You can email us at info@catholicconscience.org or respond to this email. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Conscience Conversations

WATCH MAY’S CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP:
IDEOLOGY VS. CATHOLICISM

In May, we were joined by Sabrina Chiefari—Creation Care Animator with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto—to talk about an important theme in contemporary culture and politics: ideologies. What defines an ideology? Why do they play such an outsized role in political life today? What ideologies do we find in the culture around us, especially in the everyday lives of our neighbours? Why are ideologies so dangerous to our pursuit of the full truth, and the recognition of the inherent dignity of all human beings? Why is Catholicism not an ideology, and how do we ensure we embrace a Catholic social vision over various, competing ideological visions of life and culture? We touched on all these themes and more in a wide-ranging conversation about a concept that is so critical for any active Catholic citizen, particularly those engaged in politics, to understand.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL WORKSHOP

Serving Your Community

PRAY FOR OUR PERSECUTED SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN CHINA

An international coalition of lay people is undertaking a global week of prayer for Christians living in China, a place where many religious groups are suffering persecution—most especially the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang, and also Christians of all denominations. The week of prayer is a response to a call from Cardinal Charles Bo, President of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, who writes:

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the peoples of China have faced increasing challenges, which impact us all. It is right that we should pray not only for the Church but for all persons in the People’s Republic of China. We should ask Our Lady of Sheshan to protect all humanity and therefore the dignity of each and every person in China, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer, “to believe, to hope, to love.” In fact, we are reminded that “the whole of the Church’s social doctrine, in fact, develops from the principle that affirms the inviolable dignity of the human person…”

In proposing this Week of Prayer I am expressing my love for the peoples of China, my respect for their ancient civilization and extraordinary economic growth, and my hopes that as it continues to rise as a global power, it may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world. Pope Francis rightly reminds us that “there is also a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy, the hunger for dignity. I am calling for prayer for each person in China that they may seek and realize the full measure of happiness that our Creator has given to them.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND JOY THE GLOBAL WEEK OF PRAYER (ENDING ON MAY 30)

From The Holy Father

ON PENTECOST, POPE FRANCIS CALLS ON THE CHURCH TO REJECT IDEOLOGIES OF ‘CONSERVATIVES AND PROGRESSIVES, RIGHT AND LEFT’

For the celebration of Pentecost this past Sunday, May 23, Pope Francis offered a stirring homily on the power of the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit calls us to unity, even amid disagreement, which should never transform into ideologies—a theme close to our hearts.

Pope Francis said, “if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit.” He reminded them that “The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another.” He warned that “the enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies.” Adding to his prepared text, Francis said: “Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole.”

 👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

What We’re Watching

POPE FRANCIS LAUNCHES THE LAUDATO SI’ ACTION PLATFORM TO DRIVE DECISIVE ACTION IN OUR CHURCH ON SUSTAINABILITY AND INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

In May, Pope Francis announced a new initiative by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of good will.” The aim of the platform is to help individuals, families, parishes and dioceses, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, organizations and groups, the economic sector, and religious orders to respond to Pope Francis’ landmark Laudato Si’ encyclical on integral human ecology, climate change, and building a sustainable world. Through the Platform, on October 4th of this year, the Feast of St. Francis, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will begin offering Laudato Si’ Plans. Laudato Si’ Plans help you discern and implement your response to Laudato Si’.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SIGN-UP

Prayer

A PRAYER TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT’S PROMPTINGS

As we celebrated Pentecost this month, we—like the Apostles before us—awaited and prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit, to awaken us to God’s will in our lives and give us the gifts needed to carry on Christ’s mission here on Earth. Without the Holy Spirit, put simply, none of our service—to our Church, to our neighbours, to our vulnerable or our wider community—is fruitful. The Spirit is God works His wonders through us.
 
In that spirit—pun intended—we want to share this prayer preparing our hearts for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. In all the ways we serve and love our neighbours and pursue the common good in civic and political life, may we ask the Spirit for guidance and strength!
 
O Holy Spirit,
You sanctify the people of God
through ministry and the Sacraments.
For the exercise of the Christian apostolate,
You give the faithful special gifts also,
allotting them to everyone according as You will
in order that individuals, administering grace to others
just as they have received it,may also be good stewards
of the manifold grace of God to build up the whole Body in charity.
From the acceptance of these charisms,
including those that are more elementary,
there arise for each believer the right and duty to use them in the Church
and in the world for the good of human beings and the building up of the Church
in the freedom given by You Who breathe where You will.
Help us to learn especially how to perform the mission of Christ and the Church
by basing our lives on belief in the Divine mystery of Creation and Redemption
and by being sensitive to Your movement, O Divine Spirit, Who give life
to the People of God and Who urge all to love the Father as well as the world
and human beings in Him.
Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace

Dear friends,
 
The blessed month of May is upon us—a month dedicated to our Lady, and one that includes the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st.
 
You’ll see in this newsletter that Pope Francis has called for a global month of prayer to end the pandemic. We plan on joining in, and we hope you will too. This moment in the pandemic feels like the last miles of a marathon—we’re running on fumes, every mile is harder than the last, and we’re begging that the end is in sight. By God’s grace, the end will soon be near. We can’t wait to see family and friends again, and we know you share this sentiment.
 
Near the end of this dangerous and exhausting journey, we must turn to Mary and ask her to find the new places we are called to love and serve our fellow people of God. This month we had the pleasure of hosting Professor Charles Camosy for April’s Catholic Civics Workshop. We had a wonderful discussion about throwaway culture—you’ll find a link to the recording below—as well as how to resist that throwaway culture. We talked about how to step away from an attitude of treating other people and the wider creation as disposable, and instead to create a culture of encounter: one where, like Jesus, we see the full dignity of every person we encounter, and strenuously find a way to help, to learn, and to grow with others.
 
Once this pandemic is over, we’ll be back to encountering others again—family, friends, and strangers. We’ll have to learn how to really encounter each other like Jesus did, and to see our opportunities to love and serve others. To love and serve even when it’s hard for us—like Mary did amid her pregnancy with her cousin Elizabeth. For those serving their neighbours, however you are serving—thank you. As always, we hope you find the Common Good Catholic enlightening and inspiring, particularly in the ways you serve.
 
Mary, Mother of God and mother to us all, protect our people!
 
Sincerely,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

Catholic Leader Mission

ARE YOU AN ASPIRING OR SERVING CATHOLIC CIVIC LEADER? ON SATURDAY, MAY 29 AND SATURDAY, JUNE 5, JOIN US FOR THE CATHOLIC LEADERS MISSION

Are you a Catholic who falls into one of these categories?

  • Catholic politicians and political candidates;
  • Catholics who work in politics, including political staff and public servants;
  • Catholics who work for or volunteer for Catholic charities and advocacy organizations; and,
  • Catholics who serve in community leadership roles, such as on a board of directors, a parish council, or a committee.

We’d love for you to join our Catholic Leaders Mission program—a two-day series of workshops offering spiritual formation and skills training for Catholic civic and political leaders.
In the vision of Catholic teaching, civic leadership is a vocation—one of the most important for nourishing the true common good of all. For Catholic civic leaders, proper formation is critical: the well-being and integrity of our communities is at stake.
The formation of such leaders is the purpose of our Catholic Leaders Mission: our two-day workshops offer spiritual and moral formation, methods of discernment, and practical skills needed for the political vocation. Our graduates emerge ready to serve their communities in a spirit of political love, through a commitment to the principles of Catholic social teaching and the enhancement of the dignity of all they serve.


Here are four reasons you should join the 2021 CLM cohort.

  • Grow into your calling as a servant-leader.
  • Develop the skills needed to succeed in your service.
  • Learn from top Catholic leaders and political practitioners.
  • Join a growing community of Catholics in political and civic service. 

👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
OR EMAIL BRENDAN@CATHOLICCONSCIENCE.ORG FOR MORE DETAILS

Works of Mercy In Out Community

GET VACCINATED AS SOON AS YOU CAN!

GET VACCINATED AS SOON AS YOU CAN!

The COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely ravaged our communities, affecting particularly those living with the challenges of poverty, isolation, and vulnerability. This pandemic will only end once a critical mass of Canadians are vaccinated. Our Church has called on us to get vaccinated when we are able. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says: “Catholics are invited to be vaccinated, both in keeping with the dictates of their conscience and in contributing to the common good by promoting the health and safety of others… All COVID-19 vaccines that are medically approved by the relevant health authorities may be licitly received by Catholics. Since there is currently no choice of vaccine being offered, Catholics in good conscience, may receive the vaccine that is available and offered to them.”

We recommend the Catholic Register’s recent editorial on the issue. In their words: “There should be no ambiguity about the necessity for as many Canadians as possible to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine — whichever one is offered. Our politicians, health officials and religious leaders all agree on that, so let’s get on with it.”

COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be booked online or over the phone. Below are links to some provincial and municipal COVID-19 resources, with information on booking vaccination appointments:

City of Toronto
Ontario
Saskatchewan
Manitoba
Alberta
British Columbia
Quebec
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland & Labrador

Across Canada, we have seen that our elderly brothers and sisters especially have not been getting vaccinated at high enough rates. In Ontario alone as of March 23rdnearly 200,000 people over the age of 80 had not been vaccinated. This is especially troubling given their particular vulnerability to this virus. If you have elderly friends or family that you know are hesitant to get vaccinated or who struggle with technology and other barriers to booking an appointment, reach out to them and offer to help! Of course, be sure to follow public health procedures however you assist.

Conscience Conversations

WATCH OUR LATEST CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP:
RESISTING THROWAWAY CULTURE WITH PROFESSOR CHARLES CAMOSY

On April 22nd, we were honoured to host Fordham University theologian Professor Charles Camosy, to talk about his book Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic can unite us. Professor Camosy’s book examines the ways our politics and culture are distant from Catholic social teaching, particularly in the ways we collectively undermine the human dignity of our neighbours near and far, born and unborn, rich and poor. He applies a Catholic social teaching lens to a range of contemporary social challenges, and calls us—as the popes do—to embrace a Catholic social vision across all the issues facing our society. In our wide-ranging conversation, we touched on how ours is a throwaway culture; how we can build a culture of encounter; and how we can put human dignity at the centre of our politics. It was a pleasure to chat with Professor Camosy, and we know you’ll enjoy the conversation.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL WORKSHOP

Serving Your Community

DONATE CLOTHING, LINENS, DRAPERY AND HOUSE WARES THROUGH THE SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL’S BUNDLE UP SUNDAY

Throughout the year, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul here in the GTA will host Bundle Up Sundays. At Catholic parishes across the region, volunteers collect clothing, linens, drapery and house wares donated by parishioners. Donated goods are provided to our neighbours in need in communities across the GTA and to those whom the Society serves through their supportive housing and outreach programs.

Barring a continuation of Ontario’s lockdown order, the next Bundle Up Sunday will be held on May 22. Consider donating what you can!

 👉 CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS AND WHAT ITEMS CAN BE ACCEPTED

👉 CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF PARTICIPATING PARISHES


THE SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF TORONTO ARE RECRUITING A VOCATIONS DIRECTOR

 Our friends, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, are a Roman Catholic Congregation of women religious responding to the call to serve others. They strive to be in union with God, their neighbour and creation. Their beginnings can be traced back 350 years to France. Today, the Sisters’ works/ministries have evolved from larger institutions to forms of service that relate more closely to the homeless, the alienated, the economically poor, women at risk and the earth. The Sisters have also initiated creative collaborations with other religious congregations and laity that have resulted in, among others, much needed affordable housing and assistance to newcomers to Canada and awareness raising of new societal issues such as human trafficking.

The Sisters are recruiting for a Vocations Animator to promote the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto, outlining the history, mission and values, present structure and ministries with a view to promoting the life and ministry of the Sisters and inviting others to join with them as Consecrated Religious, Associates, and/or Volunteers. 

👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL JOB POSTING

From The Holy Father

POPE FRANCIS CALLS FOR MONTHLONG GLOBAL PRAYER MARATHON FOR END OF PANDEMIC

Honouring the month of May—the month that belongs to our Blessed Mother Mary, our patron—Pope Francis has called for Christians around the world to pray for an end to the pandemic.

Each day in May, there will be a livestream from one of 30 chosen Marian shrines or sanctuaries to guide the prayer at 6 p.m. Rome time (noon EDT) on all Vatican media platforms.

We invite you to join the Pope and our Church in praying for the conclusion of this current crisis, in Canada and around the world.

👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

READ ABOUT OUR PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION IN THE CATHOLIC REGISTER
We have a special, second addition for our Conscience Conversations section this month! Our executive director was interviewed by the Catholic Register about our planning for the next federal Catholic Action campaign, Catholic Conscience’s voter education and get-out-the-vote program. Here’s an excerpt:

We’re preparing for the scenario where there is a (federal) election this year,” Catholic Conscience executive director Brendan Steven told The Catholic Register.

It would be the second national vote for Catholic Conscience, but the first where it tried to help Catholics beyond the Greater Toronto Area think through their vote. Steven is making sure the organization is ready by updating its website, launching a two-day series of webinars for political candidates and policy leaders and beefing up its outreach to new Canadians in the pews.

“We think about politics as a very competitive, adversarial sort of system. But ideally it’s a forum where different perspectives, different interests come together and synthesize new approaches with the truth that they bring to those conversations,” Steven said.

“Our Church, especially in the next election, will be saying, ‘How do we bring Canadians — Catholic and non-Catholic — together in thinking deeply, in moral and spiritual ways, about the future of our country.’ ”

Would you like to help organize and execute the Catholic Action program? Send us an email at info@catholicconscience.org and let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to assist our numerous civic engagement programs.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CATHOLIC ACTION CAMPAIGN

What We’re Watching

POPE FRANCIS’ MESSAGE TO AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON “A POLITICS ROOTED IN THE PEOPLE”

Pope Francis recently gave an address to a conference focused on “a politics rooted in the people,” the theme of his latest book, Let us Dream, co-written with British author Austin Ivereigh. The Pope says:

“[Politics] is about finding the means to guarantee a life for all people that is worthy of being called human, a life capable of cultivating virtue and forging new bonds… I call this politics with a capital ‘P’, politics as service, which opens new pathways for the people to organize and express itself. It is a politics not just for the people but with the people, rooted in their communities and in their values.”

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL SPEECH

Prayer

A PRAYER BEFORE WORK TO ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER

One of the primary ways we love and serve our neighbours in civil society is through our daily work. Though we are paid to do it, our professions are an important way we can offer our time, talent, and treasure to God in offering to Him and in penance for our sins. This coming Saturday, May 1st is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, patron of all those who work. We offer you this prayer composed by Pope Pius X to consecrate your work daily to Saint Joseph, that it may be shared with God and be a gift of love to God’s people.
 
O Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, never shrinking from weariness and trials; to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, keeping unceasingly before my eyes death and the account that I must give of time lost, talents unused, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.
 
All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch, Saint Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death. Amen.

Finding humility in Holy Week, helping our neighbours access a COVID-19 vaccine, and more

Dear friends,

In his encyclical Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis describes many of the challenges facing us in politics and civic life. Among their many causes, he draws out a common theme: our lack of social and political humility. He calls us to a greater love, born in humility and the realization that we grow closer to God by loving others as we love ourselves: “Sincere and humble worship of God bears fruit not in discrimination, hatred and violence, but in respect for the sacredness of life, respect for the dignity and freedom of others, and loving commitment to the welfare of all.

It is Holy Week. In this week before he gave himself to us in the overwhelming love of the cross, Christ suffered tremendous humiliations. He was beaten, mocked, abandoned by his disciples and the society that was meant to protect him; stripped, nailed to a cross, and left to die in front of his mother. There is no greater humility than this: God allowing himself to be subjected to the worst human cruelties, out of sheer love for all.

Let us pray this Holy Week for even a crumb of this unlimited humility—that we may apply it in our personal and social lives, and in encountering the pain and suffering around us, pose the question “What can I do to serve?” instead of “How can I avoid this?”

Almighty and ever-living God, graciously grant that we may heed Christ’s lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection—and may this spirit of humility wash over our politics, our culture, and every citizen with the power, big and small, to do something for the good of others.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

With our prayers for a meaningful Holy Week for you all,
Matthew & Brendan

Upcoming Events

JOIN US WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21 FOR OUR FREE WEBINAR WITH ACCLAIMED CATHOLIC AUTHOR CHARLES CAMOSY ON THROWAWAY CULTURE, AND HOW A CONSISTENT LIFE ETHIC CAN UNITE LEFT AND RIGHT

A conversation about how Catholics can transcend the left-right political divide and build a political culture of encounter and hospitality

Ours is a “throwaway culture”, in the words of Pope Francis—one in which the vulnerable are too-often discarded like trash. It doesn’t have to be this way. In his book Resisting Throwaway Culture, Fordham University professor Charles Camosy calls us to transcend the left-right political divide in favour of a Catholic culture of hospitality and encounter where “no one is useless, no one is expendable… [and includes] those on the peripheries of life.” Join us for a free webinar with Professor Camosy about how a Consistent Life Ethic can unite us and build this political culture, one rooted in love and human dignity.

In our conversation with Professor Camosy, we’ll discuss:

  • Our current state of toxic political polarization
  • How a Catholic social vision can transcend both the political left and right, and resist the forces tearing us apart
  • Pope Francis’ idea of a throwaway culture vs. a culture of encounter, and what it would be like to live in the latter
  • How do we consistently apply a Catholic life ethic across a range of issues?
  • How can we live a culture of encounter in our ordinary lives as Christian citizens? What would the consequences be for our communities?

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21ST @ 7:30-8:30 PM EDT

👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP FOR YOUR FREE TICKET
MEET OUR GUEST, PROFESSOR CHARLES CAMOSY

Charles C. Camosy is associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University. His work on ethics and policy moves beyond stale and lazy arguments which artificially pit liberals and conservatives against each other. Instead, Camosy finds common ground by unpacking the real complexities of some of today’s most passionately debated issues.

Works of Mercy In Out Community

HELP THE SENIORS IN YOUR LIFE BOOK A COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENT

At long last, Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign is under way. As Catholics, we have a duty to be vaccinated. In the words of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Catholics are invited to be vaccinated, both in keeping with the dictates of their conscience and in contributing to the common good by promoting the health and safety of others… All COVID-19 vaccines that are medically approved by the relevant health authorities may be licitly received by Catholics. Since there is currently no choice of vaccine being offered, Catholics in good conscience, may receive the vaccine that is available and offered to them.”

In many parts of Canada, COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be booked online or over the phone. For some elderly members of our Catholic community, accessing vaccinations might be difficult. They may need technical assistance in booking an appointment online or over the phone, or a drive to their appointment at a clinic or hospital. No matter the needs, we encourage you to privately reach out to the elderly people in your life and offer to help them book and attend an appointment. Those who will have the hardest time booking an appointment are often those who are most at risk from the virus. Your loving intercession could help protect their lives. Remember: When helping, be sure to strictly follow public health guidance.

Below are links to some provincial and municipal COVID-19 resources, with information on booking vaccination appointments:

City of Toronto
Ontario
Saskatchewan
Manitoba
Alberta
British Columbia
Quebec
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conscience Conversations

WATCH OUR CONVERSATION WITH DR. TOD WORNER ABOUT READING OUR WAY TO GOD

In February, we were honoured to host Dr. Tod Worner, the managing editor of the Word on Fire Institute’s Evangelization & Culture journal. Who better to tell us about the power of spiritual reading in bringing us closer to God, discovering who we are in God’s eyes, and helping us love our neighbours better?

In this spiritually nourishing conversation that will especially delight the readers in our audience, Dr. Tod Worner discusses with Catholic Conscience’s volunteer animator Peter Copeland:

  • The place of great literature in the spiritual journey, and how these works can serve as “the echoes of God in the outside world”;
  • How reading inspires conversion;
  • How the beauty of great reading opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit;
  • How modern humanities education in the universities has shifted focus away from great literature and virtue ethics;
  • The essential humanity in great works of fiction, and even non-Catholic works of literature and how they help us discover who we are in God’s eyes; and,
  • How reading led Dr. Worner and others to Catholicism.

You can click below to watch the full conversation.
 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL WEBINAR

Serving Your Community

WE’RE EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY FOR OUR UPCOMING CATHOLIC LEADERS MISSION WORKSHOPS

In the vision of Catholic teaching, civic leadership is a vocation—one of the most important for nourishing the true common good of all. For Catholic civic leaders, proper formation is critical: the well-being and integrity of our communities is at stake.
The formation of such leaders is the purpose of our Catholic Leaders Mission: our two-day workshops offer spiritual and moral formation, methods of discernment, and practical skills needed for the political vocation. Our graduates emerge ready to serve their communities in a spirit of political love, through a commitment to the principles of Catholic social teaching and the enhancement of the dignity of all they serve.
When we first announced the CLM, the program was aimed at elected officials and those either campaigning for political office or discerning a campaign for office in the next two years. We have come to realize that the skills and spiritual formation offered by CLM are wider to a much wider group, of all those serving in a political vocation. These might include:

  • Catholic politicians and political candidates;
  • Catholics who work in politics, including political staff and public servants;
  • Catholics who work for or volunteer for Catholic charities and advocacy organizations; and,
  • Catholics who serve in community leadership roles, such as on a board of directors, a parish council, or a committee.

Beyond this list, we welcome all those who work in a political vocation. If your own work or volunteer service doesn’t perfectly fit the above list, we are open to discussing further with you. Simply email brendan@catholicconscience.org and we can chat!
Here are four reasons you should join the 2021 CLM cohort.

  • Grow into your calling as a servant-leader.
  • Develop the skills needed to succeed in your service.
  • Learn from top Catholic leaders and political practitioners.
  • Join a growing community of Catholics in political and civic service.

👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

OR EMAIL BRENDAN@CATHOLICCONSCIENCE.ORG FOR MORE DETAILS

From The Holy Father

NEW POPE FRANCIS DOCUMENTARY OUT NOW ON DISCOVERY+

A new documentary about Pope Francis has been released, taking a closer look at the ministry of our extraordinary Holy Father and the contemporary social issues which animate his apostolate to a hurting human family. In the words of the film’s director:

“This film is a love letter to the Earth and its people and will be there as a strong reminder of what can happen when we stop ‘loving one another’. May we all follow the simple mantra and beautiful actions of this incredible man – Pope Francis. I hope that it will bring attention to the important global issues portrayed in the film; and that we can come together to effect change in the world and preserve it for the future. With Pope Francis as the central figure in the film, it is a testament to the power of one person to make a difference. And an inspiration to the viewer to do the same.”

👉CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

👉CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHERE YOU CAN WATCH THE FILM

What We’re Watching

REDEMPTORIST TV REFLECTIONS ON DIGNIFIED EMPLOYMENT, ESSENTIAL WORKERS, ENCOUNTERING THE POOR, AND MORE FOR THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH

Our Executive Director recently collaborated with RedemptoristTV to produce a series of video reflections in honour of the Year of St. Joseph and Pope Francis’ apostolic letter, Patris corde, extoling the virtues of this extraordinary Christian saint. Many of these reflections touch on pressing contemporary civic challenges like dignified employment, encountering the vulnerable, the heroism and danger facing essential workers in the COVID-19 pandemic, and more. St. Joseph is one of our patron saints at Catholic Conscience and is the patron of Canada. In challenging times we turn to him for strength and guidance towards his timeless virtues: humility, trust in God, diligence, fortitude, and more.

👉CLICK HERE TO WATCH A REFLECTION ON THE ORDINARY HEROES OF THE PANDEMIC

👉CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL SERIES

Prayer

REGINA ARCHBISHOP DONALD BOLEN’S PRAYER FOR CATHOLICS DURING ELECTIONS

During the 2020 provincial elections in Saskatchewan, Archbishop Donald Bolen of the Archdiocese of Regina offered this prayer for use during elections. This prayer has become a beloved one for us here at Catholic Conscience. We pray it often for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lay apostolate, and for all Catholics serving in civic and political vocations. We share this slightly amended version with you now and ask for your prayers as well:

Lord, father of our human family,

Your son Jesus taught us in the parable of the good Samaritan that each of us is called to care for our brothers and sisters without concern for our differences, or what divides us.

Pour your spirit out upon each and every one of us. Give us, and all involved in the civic and political vocation,
A spirit of humility to acknowledge our failuresA spirit of gratitude for each of the gifts you have given usA spirit of wisdom, to guide our actions in accordance with your teachingA spirit of fraternity, so that we might have concern for the most vulnerableAnd a spirit of love, so that we might abide even more fully in You.

O God, Trinity of love, from the profound communion of your divine life grant each and every one of us a deeper sense of unity. Give to us a desire to sacrifice ourselves for our brothers and sisters. Help us to live like your family did, with simplicity in Nazareth, and as the early Christian community did, whose charity has spread throughout the world.

O Good Shepherd, Christ the King, you are our Guide. Continue to guide us then to your will in this, and in every moment of our lives.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Joan of Arc, pray for us.
San Juan Diego, pray for us.
St Keteri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys, pray for us.
St André Bessette, pray for us.

Amen.

READING OUR WAY TO GOD: A webinar featuring Word on Fire’s Dr. Tod Worner

St. Jerome wrote, “When we pray, we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us.”

We interviewed Dr. Tod Worner (Managing Editor of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute) about the power of great literature for forming us into better Catholics, better servants of Christ—and more impactful Christian citizens. Whether you’re an avid reader or want to become one, you’ll leave our conversation feeling inspired to pursue reading as more than a hobby—you’ll learn how reading can be a prayer, and a method of spiritual formation.

Dr. Tod Worner is a practicing internal medicine physician who lectures and offers rotations on medicine and literature for the University of Minnesota Medical School & and teaches “The Art of Healing “ at St. John’s University. He is the Managing Editor of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. He has written for the New York Post, National Review, Word on Fire, and numerous other publications. Mostly, Tod is a proud husband & father delighted to be constantly outsmarted by his two young daughters.

Original event date: March 11, 2021

The Common Good Catholic – February 2021

Dear friends,
 
We’ve been thinking about the future lately. We’ve been looking towards a time when the pandemic has passed—when we are all vaccinated, and that blessed day when we can once again safely gather for Mass, fellowship, and celebration. We’ve been looking towards the future of our work at Catholic Conscience—we recently concluded a wonderful board retreat and have begun to formulate a five-year strategic plan for the direction of our evolving mission. We also look forward with gratitude to the opportunities for service that 2021 will bring.
 
In this issue of the Common Good Catholic, we’re excited to share with you one other reason we’re looking towards the future: the launch of our first-ever Catholic Leaders Mission program. You’ll find all the details below, but basically, it aims to be Canada’s first spiritual and moral formation program for Catholic political candidates—bringing together those seeking a political vocation across party lines, to grow in that vocation in light of Catholic social teaching. We’re so excited to bring CLM to life this year. If you are running for office or are interested in running for office in the next couple of years, please send us an email—we’d love to tell you more!
 
One theme brings together our thinking about the future. Whether considering the post-pandemic, the future of our mission, or this new and exciting program, we’re thinking about how the future can bring community. Greater community and fellowship for all Catholics and people of good will, as we together work to build the Kingdom of God on earth. We were reminded recently that just as Lent is an opportunity to reflect more critically on our own sins, to repent and turn towards Christ’s love for healing in a refreshed way, so too our community must do this same work. In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis writes about how the early Christian community so vividly modelled this fellowship and commitment to service with each other and with their neighbours:
 
…we can see how the early Christian communities, living in a pagan world marked by widespread corruption and aberrations, sought to show unfailing patience, tolerance and understanding. Some texts are very clear in this regard: we are told to admonish our opponents “with gentleness” (2 Tim 2:25) and encouraged “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish” (Tit 3:2-3). The Acts of the Apostles notes that the disciples, albeit persecuted by some of the authorities, “had favour with all the people” (2:47; cf. 4:21.33; 5:13).
 
May this spirit of love animate us in 2021!
 
With gratitude,
Matthew & Brendan

Upcoming Events

JOIN US THURSDAY, MARCH 11 FROM 7:30-8:30 PM EST FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH WORD ON FIRE’S DR. TOD WORNER ABOUT READING OUR WAY TO GOD

St. Jerome wrote, “When we pray, we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us.” Join us on Thursday, March 11 (7:30-8:30 PM EST) as we interview Dr. Tod Worner (Managing Editor of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute) about the power of great literature for forming us into better Catholics, better servants of Christ—and more impactful Christian citizens. Whether you’re an avid reader or want to become one, you’ll leave our conversation feeling inspired to pursue reading as more than a hobby—you’ll learn how reading can be a prayer, and a method of spiritual formation. RSVP today for webinar login details!

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP NOW

MEET OUR GUEST, DR. TOD WORNER
Tod Worner is a practicing internal medicine physician who lectures and offers rotations on medicine and literature for the University of Minnesota Medical School & and teaches “The Art of Healing “ at St. John’s University. He is the Managing Editor of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. He has written for the New York Post, National Review, Word on Fire, and numerous other publications. Mostly, Tod is a proud husband & father delighted to be constantly outsmarted by his two young daughters.

Works of Mercy In Out Community

COVID-19 RESOURCES FROM THE CANADIAN CATHOLIC BIOETHICS INSTITUTE

If you’re interested in learning more about Catholic ethical perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic, we highly encourage you to follow the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. Dr. Moira McQueen and the CCBI team have been providing regular updates on many ethical topics that have come to the fore for Catholics in this time—topics like the ethicality of certain vaccines, healthcare practices, and more. Dr. McQueen is a leading Canadian Catholic expert on bioethical issues and offers excellent, readable analysis.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Conscience Conversations

WATCH OUR CONVERSATION WITH DR. BRETT SALKELD ABOUT VOTING LIKE A CATHOLIC

Last month, we had the great pleasure of hosting our friend Dr. Brett Salkeld—theologian-in-residence at the Archdiocese of Regina—about one of our favourite topics: discerning your vote as a Catholic.

In this wide-ranging conversation, we touch on a variety of topics related to voting, including:

  • How the ideas of intrinsic evil and remote cooperation with evil do (and do not) apply to the act of voting;
  • Common myths about voting and Catholic social teaching, like the idea that there is “only one acceptable party for a Catholic to vote for”; and,
  • The importance of discerning your vote through the lens of Catholic social teaching, including important tactics for doing so—like prayer, charitably discussing the issues with others, encountering and building relationships with your candidates and politicians, and examining your conscience as a political participant.

You can click below to watch the full conversation.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL WEBINAR

Serving Your Community

ANNOUNCING THE CATHOLIC LEADERS MISSION: FORMATION FOR CATHOLIC POLITICAL CANDIDATES, PRESENTED BY CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE

Serving as an elected official is more than a job. In the vision of Catholic teaching, civic leadership is a vocation—one of the most important for nourishing the true common good of all. For Catholic leaders, proper formation is critical: the well-being and integrity of our communities is at stake.

The formation of such leaders is the purpose of our Catholic Leaders Mission: our two-day workshops offer spiritual and moral formation, methods of discernment, and practical skills needed in seeking and properly holding office. Our graduates emerge ready to serve their communities in a spirit of political love, through a commitment to the principles of Catholic social teaching and the enhancement of the dignity of every constituent.

Are you a Catholic considering a run for elected office? Here are four reasons you should join the 2021 CLM cohort.

  • Grow into your calling as a servant-leader.
  • Develop the skills needed to succeed in your campaign.
  • Learn from top Catholic leaders and political practitioners.
  • Join a growing community of Catholics in politics.

👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

OR EMAIL BRENDAN@CATHOLICCONSCIENCE.ORG FOR MORE DETAILS

From The Holy Father

LENT IS “A HUMBLE DESCENT BOTH INWARDS AND TOWARDS OTHERS,” POPE FRANCIS SAYS AT ASH WEDNESDAY MASS

In his homily for Ash Wednesday Mass, Pope Francis reminds us how Lent invites us to greater love of God, and in turn, love of neighbour.

Today we bow our heads to receive ashes. At the end of Lent, we will bow even lower to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. Lent is a humble descent both inwards and towards others. It is about realizing that salvation is not an ascent to glory, but a descent in love. It is about becoming little. 

👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL HOMILY

👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH

What We’re Watching

ENJOY A CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD WITH YOUR KIDS THIS LENTEN SEASON: YES, LORD! FROM SALT + LIGHT MEDIA

This Lent, Salt + Light Media has launched an exciting and unique new series: Yes, Lord!, a Liturgy of the Word designed with children in mind. New episodes are being released every Friday during Lent, featuring reflections by Deacon Pedro Guevara Mann.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Prayer

A NATIONAL PRAYER FOR CANADA DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Back in March 2020, the Catholic Register wrote about a collaboration between Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka, the former co-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Together they co-authored a National Prayer for Canada, which was collectively recited on a common day of action last March. The prayer is a beautiful invocation for God’s help in this moment of danger, and “an invitation to Canadians to pray for all in any way touched by the coronavirus” in the words of Archbishop Prendergast. We invite you to share in this prayer as we hopefully approach the end of this pandemic.

O God,
We gather together separated by life-saving distancing, but united more than ever in spirit;
We know we are in a war against COVID – 19 together, and the more together we are, the better and stronger we will emerge:
We know the challenges are enormous, yet so are the opportunities;
That whether we are in isolation with loved ones, or alone, we will have abundance of time;
We commit to using that time to the max, to help those in greater need in whatever way we can;
We know we all have the opportunity, and time, to be life savers and life enhancers;
We give thanks for those who are on the front line taking care of those who are not well;
We give thanks for the researchers who are working at breakneck speed to find cure and vaccine;
We give thanks for our leaders, federal, provincial and local, for their dedication to all of us;
We give thanks for the providers of our daily needs who go to work in spite of the risk;
We give thanks for those who have ramped up their ability to produce life-saving supplies.
We pray for the well-being of all our life savers; For those who are not well, that they recover fully;
For those enduring difficulty, that they may overcome their challenges.
We pray that a cure and vaccine will soon be available,
And that we all – family, friends, all Canadians, the entire world may be healed in body and spirit.
We ask you, O God, to bless our leaders, our front line care givers, our life savers and life enhancers.
We ask you, O God, to bless Canada, to bless the world, to bless everyone.
Amen.

Vote Like a Catholic

Learn how to vote like a Catholic by discerning your conscience, and addressing common myths about Church teaching on voting. These are just two common myths about voting as a Catholic. What does the Church teach us about our responsibility to vote? And how do we discern our consciences and choose who to vote for? In this webinar, we interview Catholic author and theologian Dr. Brett Salkeld on how to truly vote like a Catholic.

Pick Your Politician: Why Catholics Should Vote In Party Nominations

Learn about the enormous political impact you can have when you buy a party membership and vote in your local candidate nomination process.

WHY CATHOLICS SHOULD VOTE IN PARTY NOMINATIONS

Only 4% of Canadians are members of political parties. That’s only four out of every 100 of us. That tiny number enjoy a special privilege: voting in political party nominations and selecting who will represent their party in each general election. Many of these nominated candidates eventually become our elected representatives. It matters who represents us. That’s why it’s so important Catholics purchase party memberships and vote in nominations.

Hear from former and current Catholic candidates from different parties about why nominations matter, and how you can get involved and pick your politicians.

Featuring a special introduction from Neil MacCarthy, Director of Public Relations & Communications at the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Panelists:

Jo-Ann Davis, Senior Associate, Leman Group

Talon Regent, Lawyer, Regent Law

Ben Smith, Broadcast Journalist, Rogers Communications Advisory Council on Special Education, Ontario Ministry of Education

Webinar: Serving On Boards & Committees As A Catholic

Learn how you can grow in and live out your Catholic faith, by serving your neighbours on a board or committee.

In 2020, Toronto Catholics marked the first annual Stewardship Sunday: a reminder that all our time, talent, and treasure are gifts of God’s love meant to be spent in service of others. One way we can offer our gifts to others is through serving on a board or committee whether of a charity, non-profit, business, or other institution. In this webinar, experienced Catholic board leaders will share their stories and you’ll learn:

  • Who should consider serving on a board, and why;
  • How Catholic social teaching calls us to serve our neighbours;
  • How board service can help you grow in faith, particularly in serving your neighbours and living out your Gospel values; and,
  • Explore opportunities to serve on a board.

Serving on a board, voting as a Catholic, politics between elections, and more

An Angel Frees the Souls of Purgatory
An Angel Frees the Souls of Purgatory.

One more way of bringing Gospel values to our neighbours: On a board or committee

Dear brothers and sisters,

We hope you’re safe and healthy, and that you and your loved ones are well despite the continuing pandemic. With God’s grace, hopefully our present crisis will pass soon. Until then, please continue to pray for those researching a vaccine—and for all the most vulnerable among us, who are facing the worst of the pandemic.

We’re coming up for air after two very successful Catholic Action campaigns in Saskatchewan and British Columbia! What a pleasure and privilege to collaborate with our friends in the dioceses of Saskatchewan, and the B.C. Catholic. It was exciting to share our materials outside the GTA, and to reach new audiences of fellow Catholics and people of good will across the country.

We’re excited for what’s next: a free webinar we’re hosting on November 25. The topic is a unique one: Serving and loving our neighbours as Catholics, through service on a board of directors or a committee. Whether a parish council, or a charitable board, a neighbourhood association, or even a business board, so many Catholics find themselves being invited to serve on committees. Is there anything to be afraid of?  How does our Catholic faith apply to that work? And indeed, how can we grow in our faith in such work? We’re bring together three very experienced board leaders—including two former chairs of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto—to tell us about their work and how their Catholic faith influences that work. If you’ve ever considered serving on a board or committee and wanted to learn more, don’t miss this webinar! You’ll find all the details below. And you can register by clicking here.

As always—you’re in our prayers, and we’re so grateful for your love and support.

One more thing: We’re always looking for new ideas. New programs we can undertake or events we can put together to help grow Catholic civic and political leadership in Canada. If you have an idea, send us an email! So many of our programs thus far have been inspired by the ideas of others. You can reach us at matthew@catholicconscience.org and brendan@catholicconscience.org.

With love,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

JOIN US WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25 FROM 7-8 PM AND LEARN ABOUT SERVING ON A BOARD OR COMMITTEE AS A CATHOLIC

In 2020, Toronto Catholics marked the first annual Stewardship Sunday: a reminder that all our time, talent, and treasure are gifts of God’s love meant to be spent in service of others. One way we can offer our gifts to others is through serving on a board or committee whether of a charity, non-profit, business, or other institution. In this webinar, experienced Catholic board leaders will share their stories and you’ll learn:

  • Who should consider serving on a board, and why;
  • How Catholic social teaching calls us to serve our neighbours;
  • How board service can help you grow in faith, particularly in serving your neighbours and living out your Gospel values; and,
  • Explore opportunities to serve on a board.

Click here to RSVP and get all the event details!

Works of Mercy In Out Community

TORONTONIANS: HELP ST. PATRICK’S OUT OF THE COLD PROGRAM

Many Catholic Conscience supporters are parishioners at St. Patrick’s parish in downtown Toronto – in fact, Catholic Conscience can be said to have grown up there. So, we would be remiss not to share info about the winter expansion of St. Patrick’s Out of the Cold program. If you’re looking for a way help a neighbor this winter, here’s a great way to do it! Details below.

This year, with COVID-19, the programming for “Out of the Cold” has changed.  Meals are prepared for about 600 people and sent down to two downtown full-time shelters to help support their food supply, resources and mandate of care for our brothers and sisters who access their services.

Through a collaborative effort between St. Patrick’s Out of the Cold Program, Street Patrol – which normally operates in the summer months from St. Patrick’s, and Ignite Youth and Young Adult Ministry, we are offering WINTER STREET PATROL: “Into the Cold” beginning Sunday November 29th and running each Sunday until March, beginning at 4:00 pm sharp, and running until about 7:00 pm.  Gather at Neumann Hall (131 McCaul Street).  

As we cannot safely provide shelter on a weekly basis, we are taking it to the streets.

Brief Description of the Program:

  • Our Core Team (made up of experienced Out of the Cold and Street Patrol Volunteers) will assemble to prepare coffee, soup, clothing and medical supplies to go on the walks.
  • Casual Volunteers sign up for a day to join the walks.  These Volunteers bring with them a backpack with bagged lunches (sandwich, drink, fruit, sweet snack) which the Casual Volunteers will distribute on the walk.
  • Our Van with extra supplies will follow the groups and set up stations and replenish supplies onroute.
  • Casual Volunteers are accompanied on the walk by our Core Team.
  • Provide referral information for safety, shelter and support services.

Commitment of Casual Volunteers

  • Volunteers sign up for a particular day using our online registration platform. This will help with volunteer  count and contact tracing records.
  • Volunteers respect and adhere to Health Safety Protocols and Social Distancing measures during the Program.
  • Being Casual Volunteers, you commit to the days you want to participate.  If you are looking to participate on more than one occasion, you need to register for each day you will participate.
  • Groups would ensure they sign up each person individually.  
  • We can only take about 25 volunteers per walk (usually in two groups), so registration is due by the Wednesday prior to a particular Sunday, or until the week is full.
  • Volunteers bring about 8-10 bagged lunches with them in a backpack.
  • Volunteers should be prepared to walk in the weather conditions of the day, and be able to use public transport (Presto Card) should the group travel by transit to a specific destination.
  • Except for the Van with extra supplies, the groups of volunteers led by the Core Team Members travel together for safety.

 
For More Information, please visit the Parish Website:  
www.bit.ly/winterstreetpatrol-info

To Register as a Casual Volunteer, Visit the Online Portal:  www.bit.ly/winterstreetpatrol

Please share this information with anyone who might be interested in taking part in an opportunity to reach out to our brothers and sisters who call the streets their homes, and who are very much effected by the realities of COVID-19 in these winter months.

Thank you, and God Bless!

Conscience Conversations

THE ELECTION IS OVER, BUT THE POLITICS CONTINUE: OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE B.C. CATHOLIC

After working with the B.C. Catholic newspaper on delivering the Catholic Action campaign for that province’s election, our President Matthew Marquardt was interviewed about feedback the campaign received and his thoughts on the need for Catholic engagement in politics between election cycles.

I think there is wide agreement that none of the B.C. parties this election had a perfectly Catholic platform, and it’s possible, perhaps likely, that none of them ever will. But I think it’s also possible that all of them could end up having very good Catholic platforms. One of the reasons we can’t tell what impact we have in the election is that none of the parties is perfect, yet none of them is entirely opposed to all the teaching of the Church. There’s room for conversation. There’s room for respectful discourse. So I think that over time there’s certainly room for improvement.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEW

Serving Your Community

READ IN THE CATHOLIC REGISTER ABOUT HOW YOU CAN PROVIDE WINTER CLOTHES FOR KIDS IN NEED

“I guess people have had more time at home to do their tidying up and cleaning,” said Louise Coutu, executive director of the St. Vincent De Paul Society. “They feel very good if the items can go to a cause where they know it’s either going to be used by someone directly or that they can use the return for the goods.”

In operation for roughly 30 years, the Bundle Up program has been a conduit between people who want to give away their surplus clothing and those that are in need. On any given weekend the organization sends vehicles to six or seven different parishes across the GTA where parishioners are able to bring their goods to Mass and just put them right on the truck.

“It has kind of eliminated the old drop box idea where there’s a lot of contamination where items are left out the door and open to the elements,” said Coutu. “This way the goods come to us in better condition and it’s still convenient for the parishioner.”

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

From The Holy Father

DR. BRETT SALKELD ON “VOTING LIKE A CATHOLIC”

We are still processing the wisdom and insights of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli tutti—on universal fraternity and particularly the vocation of politics. During the Saskatchewan election, the diocese of Saskatoon hosted us for a virtual conversation about the encyclical and the place of Catholics in Canadian politics. We were joined in that conversation by Dr. Brett Salkeld, the theologian-in-residence at the Archdiocese of Regina. Dr. Salkeld has written in the past about Catholic political vocation. We wanted to share a recent article of his on “voting like a Catholic”, which shares so much in common with our mission at Catholic Conscience:

Consider the following: What does it mean that American Catholics who identify as Republican or Democrat typically sound more like other, non-Catholic Republicans or Democrats than we sound like one another? We are happy to point out where we believe our party comports with the Gospel, but where it does not, we far too commonly downplay the irksome bit of Church teaching instead of critiquing our party with the Gospel. (We notice this pattern quite easily, by the way, when it is done by members of the other party.) Or, like Adam hoping he could hide his own guilt by blaming Eve, we think we can excuse the evils in our own parties because the other party is ostensibly worse.

This is a scandal! It shows that our priorities are often much more easily shaped by our partisan political commitments than by our faith. This is, to put it in the stark terms of the Bible, idolatry. And this idolatry is damaging our society, our Church, and our souls.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

What We’re Watching

FREE WEBINAR: CELEBRATE THE LIVING LEGACY OF DOROTHY DAY

Our Executive Director Brendan is a great admirer of legendary American Catholic activist and servant of the poor, Dorothy Day. Her biography Long Loneliness was a critical step for his return to the church, and she is an iconic example of Catholic citizenship in action. America Magazine and the Dorothy Day Guild are co-hosting an event to mark the 40th anniversary of her death.

Join the Dorothy Day Guild and America Media as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Servant of God Dorothy Day.

PANELISTS INCLUDE:
David Brooks, Op-ed Columnist, The New York Times
Anne Snyder, Editor in Chief, Comment magazine
Paul Elie, Senior Fellow, Georgetown University

Convener: Robert Ellsberg, Publisher, Orbis Books

Interviewer: Colleen Dulle, Assistant Producer, America Media

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR

Prayer

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER TO THE CREATOR, FROM FRATELLI TUTTI

Pope Francis wrote this prayer as part of his new encyclical. Pray it in a spirit of universal solidarity, that Catholics may collectively be peacemakers in politics around the world—serving justice and human dignity wherever we serve.


Lord, Father of our human family,
you created all human beings equal in dignity:
pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit
and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,
dialogue, justice and peace.
Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world,
a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.
May our hearts be open
to all the peoples and nations of the earth.
May we recognize the goodness and beauty
that you have sown in each of us,
and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,
and shared dreams. Amen.

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