My name is Kennedy Picard and I’m a junior at Sam Houston High School. I’ve been asked by the parish to begin a monthly column in the bulletin as a JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) Youth Animator. JPIC was founded to continue to works of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis was aware of God’s mission as Creator, Liberator, and Redeemer. We too are called to rebuild the church and restore it to a place that is just and reconciled. This may seem unrealistic to you personally, possibly too theological for one’s daily life. However, the choices we make every day strongly affect the building up or tearing down of our Catholic faith.
Many Catholics do not truly understand that the social teaching of the Catholic Church is an integral part of the Catholic faith. In my monthly columns, I will cover how we can live out the true demands of the Gospel and share the social mission and message of our Church. These topics covered each month will be Catholic Social Teachings, which some say is “The Church’s Best Kept Secret”. In the coming months, some topics I will discuss include: human dignity, faithful citizenship, works of mercy and caring for God’s creation. My hope is, that in some small way I can help with the struggle we all face to live out our faith in justice and peace.
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” –St. Francis of Assisi
The United Sates of America is a “nation under God” that values freedom and justice. With the transition to a new administration, we embark on another new opportunity to show the world strength in love and the ability to come together to solve problems of war and injustice. And as Christians, we must pray for our elected officials. Listed below I have a prayer for our country. Please join me in praying for our nation and for our new president, that he may govern us in a way that radiates God’s love and support. May we all be loving brothers and sisters to those around us, and encourage the spread of love and happiness.
Prayer After an Election:God of all nations, Father of the human family, we give you thanks for the freedom we exercise and the manyblessings of democracy we enjoy in these United States of America. We ask for your protection and guidance for all who devote themselves to the common good, working for justice and peace at home and around the world. We lift all our duly elected leaders and public servants, those who will serve us as president, as legislators and judges, those in the military and law enforcement. Heal us from our differences and unite us, O Lord, with a common purpose, dedication, and commitment to achieve liberty and justice in the years ahead for all people, and especially those who are most vulnerable in our midst. Amen.
Today when we turn on our television, we see once again racial tensions flaring in our nation, symbolized by such themes as “Black Lives Matter”, “Blue Lives Matter,” and their contrast, “All Lives Matter.” Merriam-Webster defines racism as the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racialdifferences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Racism is an evil which endures not only in our society but even in our Church, and we have a duty to renounce it. The Catechism says: “The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design” (par. 1935).
Below I am providing a Prayer for Peace in our Communities that I found on the USCCB website to ask God to help us with our discrimination. Let us pray . . . O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored. You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer, and so we turn to you in our hour of need. Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required . . . “Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:8). Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others. Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities. Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will. Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity. Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Catholic Social Teaching- Dignity of the Human Person, Pro Life
October is National Respect Life month, also known as Pro-Life Awareness month. ‘Pro-life’ includes issues surrounding abortion and also end-of-life care such as assisted suicide. At the very moment of conception, God gives that zygote (Cell) a soul. God knows each child before they are even conceived. Psalms 139:13, 16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb...Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God loves each human life from the instant of his or her conception and entrusts this gift to the protection of a mother and father. As such, abortion ends the life of a child and offends God. It also deeply wounds the parents of the child. Euthanasia also ends another’s life. The sixth commandment says, “Thou shall not kill.” Abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia violate this commandment by taking another’s life into our hands. Therefore, we as Christians stand against them. As the Catechism reminds us, “Human Life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person-among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being of life” (CCC no. 2270). This month, let us thank God for blessing us with life. And let us support the many “respect life” efforts going on in our parish and in our Diocese.