Lord, where there is darkness, let me bring your light

June 2020 Common Good Catholic (Newsletter)

Thinking of St. Francis, and asking God to make us instruments of His peace

Dear friends,

I’m sure we all wondered what further chaos and discord 2020 could bring. And of course, 2020 did not disappoint us. The death of George Floyd in the United States and other people of colour across North America has sparked painful social upheaval. We have seen both peaceful protests and deadly riots in our cities. And everywhere, we see pain and anguish—the pain of those of our neighbours who feel racism’s heavy burden and sharp sting; the pain of family members who have lost loved ones; the pain of those whose lives have been injured in these riots, people who were already suffering as a result of coronavirus. These issues provoke powerful emotions and senses of injustice. Amidst such upheaval, what are Catholic citizens called to do?

For us, the Prayer of Saint Francis comes to mind. Those beautiful words that are so hard to live: Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is offence, let me bring pardon. Where there is discord, let me bring union. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, let me bring your light. How do we stand amidst pain, anger, and injustice, and live those words? Amid these tense and polarized issues, it is easy to see those we disagree with as inhuman monsters. God does not see them that way. He sees them as unique, irreplaceable, precious children, imbued with a dignity that comes from Him.

How do we respect the dignity of those we disagree with? It starts by listening more than talking. Hearing the suffering of others and treating it like the suffering of a dear family member. And then acting—addressing the suffering in a constructive, empowering way. Refusing to harm others in the process. Seeking a peace rooted in justice—the exact kind of peace we are called to create, in building the Kingdom of God.

May the Lord make you an instrument of his peace. We need those instruments now like never before.

With love,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven


Journalism is essential in a democracy like ours. Journalists bring us essential information about our culture, politics, and economies which help us discern the truth and determine our actions as citizens—how we vote, how we serve, and more. Journalism has been especially critical during COVID-19, so Canadians have access to the most up-to-date information for keeping themselves and their families safe. We are blessed in Canada to have access to high-quality Catholic journalism, in particular from the Catholic Register. We are especially blessed because that journalism is free—unlike many other media sites, the Register does not charge readers for its news.
The Register has delivered faith-based journalism for over 125 years. Let’s help them continue for another 125. Please consider a donation in support of the mission of Catholic journalism. Click here to read the Catholic Register—and be sure to bookmark it on your browser! It’s always a great source of Catholic news. And click here to make a donation.


CONSCIENCE CONVERSATION: What is subsidiarity? Understanding one of “the most constant… directives of the Church’s social doctrine

Many Catholics understand Catholic ideas of the common good and solidarity. But what about the third essential pillar of that triad, subsidiarity? Subsidiarity is the principle that social decisions should always be pushed to the lowest level that they can be responsibly left to. In their latest Conscience Conversation, Matt and Brendan explore the idea of subsidiarity and how it informs Catholic thinking on political and communal life.

“Properly applied, subsidiarity is a critical tool for preserving individual and social freedom, which itself is one of the fundamental values of the Church’s social teaching.  The idea is that each of us should retain the maximum responsible amount of control over our own lives, so that we can put the unique gifts God has entrusted to us to work in seeking our own proper paths back to God. Government should not do things that can responsibly be left to us to do for ourselves, or left to our families or our communities; to ethical and responsible private initiatives such as business, civil society organizations, the press, schools, or the church; or to more-localized levels of government… this enables each of us to maximize our opportunities for learning and growth. It also ensures that policies reflect of the legitimate and particular needs and concerns of local communities, respecting that it is most often these local communities that best understand their needs.”

Read the rest of the conversation by clicking here.


End of Life Issues: Legal and Ethical Considerations – 2020 Update
Our friends at the Thomas More Lawyers Guild of Toronto are organizing an event looking at proposed amendments to Canada’s euthanasia law and its implications for Catholic lawyers and society at large. Details below:
The Guild, in collaboration with the Newman Centre Catholic Mission (U of T), is co-sponsoring a program on the proposed amendments to the euthanasia law in Canada.  The Law Society of Ontario has accredited the program with two (2) CPD Professionalism hours.
On February 24th, 2020, the federal government introduced Bill C-7 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). The law in Canada is evolving rapidly towards a “euthanasia on demand” regime. As Catholic lawyers, this program will assist us in responding to the evolving areas of euthanasia, assisted suicide and assisted death in Canada through a renewed understanding of the key dimensions of a Catholic vision of care for the seriously ill and dying. The principles that guide Catholics through medical treatment and pain control decisions will be examined, including the role of wills, powers of attorney and other advanced directives (such as living wills) and legal safeguards. The importance of spiritual preparation for death and accompanying the seriously ill and dying will also be considered.
We hope you will join us for this important webinar on Thursday, June 11th from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.  You can register by simply clicking here.
There is no charge for this CPD program.  Donations are gratefully accepted.  Funds will be used to defray the costs of the webinar and net proceeds will be shared equally between the Guild and the Newman Centre Catholic Mission. 


PAN-CANADIAN VOLUNTEER MATCHING PROGRAM: Use this tool to find volunteer opportunities that match your skills and passions, right where you live
Community leaders like you are needed like never before. Many of us remain in lockdown, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t creative and critical ways to volunteer and serve our neighbours from home! This is a great tool created by Volunteer Canada to help identify volunteer opportunities that fit your interests and skill sets where you live. You can find volunteer opportunities based on your location, how you want to serve, who you want to serve, what causes you want to serve, what skills you want to develop, and more. Follow God’s call to lead your community: click here to use the tool.


Photo of Pope Francis

FROM THE HOLY FATHER: The Pope’s message to the English-speaking world about racism and street violence
As always, Pope Francis is a model for all of us when it comes to engaging in the public square with our faith and values in mind. In his General Audience of June 3, the Holy Father addressed the scourge of racism and the sometimes-violent street demonstrations that are taking place across the English-speaking world:
“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life… “At the same time, we have to recognize that ‘the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost’.”
Watch the Pope’s entire message by clicking here.


WHAT WE’RE WATCHING: Should Canada have a four-day work week?

With so many Canadians working from home and facing the challenges that come from working indoors for so much of their days, many have begun to consider the merits of implementing a four-day work week. Finding the balance between work and life-giving leisure is an important theme in Catholic social teaching, and its analysis of the role of employment in society. “When the organization of work takes the family hostage or blocks its progress, then we can be certain society has begun working against itself,” Pope Francis has said. Many of us are addicted to work, with harmful side effects for our families and communities. Catholic social teaching places great emphasis on the dignity imparted by work which supports the common good, but also cautions against work that undermines a balance with other essential parts of life like family and prayer. This segment of TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin brings together experts to discuss the advantages and challenges of a four-day work week.

Click here to watch the full panel.


Pray for all of those who live burdened by the injustice of racism, and those whose lives have been harmed by the social upheaval across North America. Keep them all in your hearts.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

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