Monthly Catholic Social Teaching - September 2017
NCEA is pleased to offer a series of service projects, prayers and activities surrounding the series of Catholic Social Teachings each month. The summaries and scripture references were taken from The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be. (USCCB 7 Themes of Catholic Social Teaching)
Explanation/Activity: The principle of solidarity focuses on how we are all one big human family. September also marks the start of the school year, with new students, teachers and community members. It is important to remember that we are more similar than different. For this month, a way to highlight this Catholic social teaching would be to visit different houses of faith. Going to a Mosque and listening to one of the community leaders talk about Islamic Spirituality and practices, while focusing on how we are all similar. Or, bringing in a speaker to talk to theology classes or the entire school about the central tenets of Islam and how both religions share some similarities.
“The word “solidarity” is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It presumes the creation of a new mindset which thinks in terms of the community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)
To help our students understand that we can be in solidarity with those close to us or others throughout the world, you can share the story and activities that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) offers for elementary students.
Closing prayer following the lesson:
Loving God, help us to remember that you ask us to take care of the poor. We know you love all people and even though they may do things differently than we do they are your children too. Help us to learn about their way of life and listen to their stories so we can open our hearts and minds to understand how we are all brothers and sisters. We ask this in your Sons, Jesus’ name. Amen.
Service Project Idea: Secondary schools could join forces with a local Mosque and host a social after evening prayers to get to know the community.
Modern connection: How mainstream Islam is treated by media, voices in the news.
Prayer service suggestion:
Creator God, we see you revealed in all of humanity, in our differences and our similarities. We thank you for the vastness of creation and ask that you help us learn to stand together.
1 John 3:16-18
A student or faculty member should prepare a brief reflection highlighting the themes of love of neighbor, service to everyone and treating others with compassion and care.
The principle of solidarity emphasizes that we are more the same then we are different. To emphasize this, give each student an opportunity to write on 9"x9" cards how they have witnessed this lived out in their own community or the greater world. Once they have written this down, have the students bring the cards forward to either the center of the prayer space, or have the students post them somewhere that will be visible for the month (or a few months). If the student body is too large to accommodate students writing during the prayer (due to logistics of handling everything out, having enough pens, or students ability to pay attention), students can fill out the cards beforehand (or right after) and turn them back in to be posted somewhere. Reflective music is played while this happens.
Almighty and ever-living God, empower your one human family to join hands on our journey of faith. Send us your spirit of hope, so that we may work to alleviate human suffering and foster charity and justice in our world. Amen.