The year in Catholic political leadership, and what’s coming next

An end-of-year reflection from Vickie McNally, member of the Catholic Conscience board of directors

Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception, 1628–1629

These days, my everyday work connects me with people pondering the question: “What does a post-pandemic Canada look like? And what can I do to make things better for Canadians?”

I hope at the beginning of this new year, these are questions that all Canadians are asking themselves.

I remember the day Matthew Marquardt, President of Catholic Conscience, asked me to consider joining this board. Really? I thought to myself. What to do I have to offer? What do I know about this organization anyway? And are they trying to do something that makes our common home better? I did some reading about Catholic Conscience, spoke with confidants and said a few prayers. I felt uncertain about making the commitment but was drawn to their mission, “to share Catholic social teaching and form Catholic leaders rooted in its truth and beauty.” It seems important, especially now!

It’s frequently said that Catholic social teaching is the world’s best-kept secret. This was the case for me. A few years ago, Matthew gave a presentation, on Catholic social teaching, at St. Peter’s Parish in Toronto. I was hooked! The opportunity to join the Catholic Conscience board came many months after that. For the time between the presentation and now and especially during the past few months, I thought a lot about what it means to be a leader. Not everyone has the gift or call to lead. We’ve all seen examples of that! Good leaders have clear visions and goals and they also need great support that offers information, perspective and inspiration and the right formation. This is where Catholic Conscience comes in.

In Fratteli Tutti, Pope Francis appealed “for a renewed appreciation of politics as a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, in as much as it seeks the common good.”

What’s wonderful about this appeal is how it declares the ideal form of politics to be “seeking forms of social friendship that include everyone,” a view that opens many ways to be leaders in the political arena.

For me, my way will be in supporting Catholic Conscience behind the scenes, listening to and sharing ideas and knowledge, and upholding the vision that every Catholic becomes a leader willing and ready to transform communities through Gospel values.

Upcoming Events

JOIN US WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20 FROM 7-8 PM EST AND LEARN HOW TO VOTE LIKE A CATHOLIC

“If you vote for a certain political party, you’ll go to hell.”
“I can’t vote because there’s no truly Catholic option.”

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.

Click here to RSVP—get your free tickets soon as space is limited!

Meet our guest:
 
Brett Salkeld is Archdiocesan Theologian for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, where he is responsible for deacon formation. Brett is the author of Can Catholics and Evangelicals Agree about Purgatory and the Last Judgment? and How Far Can We Go? A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating (with Leah Perrault). He is currently working on a book for Catholic teachers tentatively titled Making Every Class Catholic. Brett is a sought-after speaker on many topics related to the Catholic faith. He also serves the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as a member of the Roman Catholic-Evangelical Dialogue in Canada. His weekly podcast with Deacon Eric Gurash is called Thinking Faith! Brett has a large back catalogue of blog posts at both Vox Nova and sAsk-a-theologian. Brett was baptized in St. Wenceslaus Parish in Gerald, Saskatchewan, where he grew up. He now lives with his wife Flannery and their six children in Regina.


JOIN US WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13 FROM 7-8 PM EST AND LEARN ABOUT THE ENORMOUS IMPACT YOU CAN MAKE BY PURCHASING A PARTY MEMBERSHIP AND VOTING IN A LOCAL CANDIDATE NOMINATION

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.
 
RSVP for webinar link and login details.

Click here to RSVP—get your tickets soon as space is limited!

Works of Mercy In Out Community

IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING, CATHOLIC AGENCIES ARE READY TO HELP

At the centre of our faith are the spiritual and corporal works of mercy—every Catholic is called to love and serve their neighbours-in-need. Sometimes we too need the support of these works of mercy. If you or someone you know is struggling this winter season, Catholic agencies in Toronto can help. The Archdiocese of Toronto has provided links to a variety of services available in the GTA. You can refer these services to those in your life who might need them. Consider donating to some of these agencies at a time when the need in our city is growing.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Conscience Conversations

CONSCIENCE CONVERSATION: 2020—A YEAR IN CIVIC EVANGELIZATION

Despite the strange circumstances of the pandemic, 2020 was an energetic year in the Catholic Conscience apostolate. Read more from Brendan and Matt’s Conscience Conversation:

I am still digesting the Pope’s articulation of the idea of political love. Both you and I, Matt, have always taken the Pope’s concept of “politics as one of the highest forms of charity when ordered to the common good” as a real call-to-action in this work. But the way he expanded on this core idea to articulate a principle of political love. In arguing convincingly that those in politics–especially those who call themselves disciples of Christ!–must exercise a tender love for others, he asks bold questions for those whose vocation brings them into the realm of political and civic life: “How much love did I put into my work?” “What did I do for the progress of our people?” “What mark did I leave on the life of society?” “What real bonds did I create?” “What positive forces did I unleash?” “How much social peace did I sow?” “What good did I achieve in the position that was entrusted to me?”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Serving Your Community

HELP THE HOMELESS AND VULNERABLE THIS WINTER IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF TORONTO

The Archdiocese of Toronto keeps a page on its website where volunteer opportunities with Catholic organizations are shared. You can click the link below and see the full page, but we wanted to share a request for certain items from the Good Shepherd. This organization serves homeless people in downtown Toronto and it remains a critical service in COVID-19. Here’s how you can help:

The Good Shepherd,” as it is affectionately called, is well known on the streets of Toronto. It’s a place to get a meal, clean clothes, a safe, clean bed for the night. It’s a place to go when you need someone to listen, someone to help. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Good Shepherd remains an “essential” service and is open to care for the homeless. At this time, 700 bagged lunches are served daily. If you are able to support their important work, here is a list of items most in need – they can be dropped off at 412 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON or call (416) 869-3619 for more information: 

  • Hospital Grade Disinfectant
  • Surgical Face Masks
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Cheese Slices
  • Deli Meat (i.e. Ham, Bologna, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Juice Boxes
  • Chips
  • Individually Wrapped Cookies
  • Granola Bars
  • Sliced Bread
  • Bread Rolls (i.e. Sub Buns, Hamburger Buns, etc.)
  • Paper Lunch Bags
  • Ziplock Sandwich Bags

From The Holy Father

POPE FRANCIS DECLARES THE YEAR OF SAINT JOSEPH—FOSTER FATHER OF OUR SAVIOUR, GUARDIAN OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND PATRON SAINT OF WORKERS AND CANADA

Devotees of Saint Joseph were overjoyed at the news Pope Francis is declaring 2021 the Year of Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph is part of Catholic Conscience’s Board of Patron Saints—as patron of families, workers, Canada, and guardian of the Universal Church, his support and guidance touches on all aspects of our apostolate. In our ministry, we work to inspire well-formed Catholic civic and political leadership among the laity—the “ordinary people”, often “overlooked”, who Pope Francis so honours in his apostolic letter announcing the Year of Saint Joseph:

My desire to do so increased during these months of pandemic, when we experienced, amid the crisis, how “our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked. People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are surely shaping the decisive events of our history. Doctors, nurses, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious, and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone… How many people daily exercise patience and offer hope, taking care to spread not panic, but shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday ways, how to accept and deal with a crisis by adjusting their routines, looking ahead and encouraging the practice of prayer. How many are praying, making sacrifices and interceding for the good of all”. Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all.

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL APOSTOLIC LETTER

Prayer

POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER TO SAINT JOSEPH FOR THE GRACE OF CONVERSION

Pope Francis wrote this prayer as part of his apostolic letter announcing the Year of Saint Joseph. In the words of the Holy Father, “We need only ask Saint Joseph for the grace of graces: our conversion.”

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.

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