Hail Mary, full of grace
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!
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven
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.
Works of Mercy In Our Community
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:
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 23rd, nearly 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to assist our numerous civic engagement programs.
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.”
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.