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Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Parish Leadership Training Day, July 22, 2008
Sr. Donna M. Franklin, D.C.

Bishop Cunningham and Kathleen Gallagher visiting at the Faithful Citizenship DayIt was a beautiful summer day in the North Country, perfect for fishing or camping or just relaxing and enjoying the sun and breezes. Yet, 120 people from all ends of the Ogdensburg Diocese came to St. Mary’s parish hall in Massena to participate in a workshop on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The group included Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, pastors, parochial vicars, parish associates, deacons, deacon candidates, Catholic Charities staff, Diocesan Department Heads and many of the laity from 45 parishes. What an expression of commitment from each participant to the reality that as Christians and as Catholics we have a right and a responsibility to be an integral part of the political life of local communities, our nation and on the global level.

Kathleen Gallagher from the New York State Catholic Conference was the presenter for the day. She led the group through the process of connecting the mandates in Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching to the call to faithful citizenship. Kathleen presented the unquestionable importance of our commitment to the sanctity and the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. She also educated the group on the broad spectrum of issues that are part of the Church’s social and moral vision. Kathleen’s extensive experience in the area of Respect Life and public policy work was evident in the quality of her delivery and the content of her educational materials. Her presentation and her response to questions provided the group with the opportunity to become more aware of the difference between the myths and the reality of the work of justice.

The participants viewed the new DVD from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops titled: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. This is an excellent teaching tool for parish councils, schools, social justice committees and other parish groups. The DVD contains three 15 minute segments. The first segment is in English and discusses the call to faithful citizenship. The second segment does the same thing in Spanish. The third segment is designed for adolescents. Catholic Charities has several of the DVD’s. If you would like to borrow a DVD for use in your parish, please call Catholic Charities at: (315) 393-2255.

At the end of the day, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham expressed his gratitude to everyone who had taken the time to come an learn more about Church teachings and the Forming Consciences for Faithful
Citizenship document. He offered words of support and encouragement to all present as they went home to their parishes to continue the work of charity and justice.

The words of Pope Pau XVI in his encyclical Populorum Progressio provide a description of the profound example that Jesus Christ has given to His followers:

We are not permitted to disregard the plight of our
brothers and sisters in dire poverty. The Christian
moved by this sad state of affairs should echo the
words of Jesus Christ,
“I have compassion for this crowd.”

The goal of the workshop was to educate, motivate and activate the participants to build the kingdom of God. Remembering the words of the Our Father…”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” can serve to motivate each of us everyday to be faithful citizens and builders of a society where all are welcome, all are respected and all are recognized as being created in the image and likeness of our loving God.

Reflections excerpted from a letter written in July, 2008 by Rev. Gregory Gay, C.M.
(Superior General of Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity)

These reflections were shared by Sr. Donna M. Franklin, D.C with the group gathered for the workshop on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

"If we are open to enter into this work of Justice, then, Matthew 25 takes on new dimensions.

The expression "I was hungry", will resonate in us as more then hunger for material bread, it will become a plea for the Word, for life in abundance.

The words "I was thirsty" will speak of the thirst for justice.

"I was naked" will also mean clothe me with the right to be a person, to be your brother or sister, to be a son or daughter of the same Father.

We are called to a profound experience of God who cries out for works of justice and life through persons who are impoverished, forgotten by the system. This God impels us to create a new society that is truly humane and that is penetrated with Gospel values."

Raising the Next Generation of Faithful Citizens

Resources for Youth Education

If you are interested in educating today’s young people on the ways that they can help change the world, then, you will want to know about this website:

The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed a website for Young Catholics.

The website includes an interactive quiz: "Are You a Faithful Citizen?"

Visit this educational and motivating website. Encourage the young people in your family, your school, and your parish to visit it.!

Are you interested in organizing a workshop on Faithful Citizenship in your parish or school?

For more information call:

Catholic Charities
(315) 393—2255

The goal is to:

Educate - Motivate - Activate

Working together to make real the words of the Our Father...
“...Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.”

Note: Funds for the educational outreach programs on the Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship are provided through a grant from the Daughters of Charity -Charitable Purpose Fund.


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