Friday, December 01, 2006

Connecting Scripture and Social Ministry: Catholic Charitites

Many of you in San José will know Elizabeth Lilly from liturgical, catechumenate, justice, and pastoral circles. She is now more actively working with parishes to help them foster and support their justice activities through her role with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Because she is a liturgist at the core, she has been working on helping parishes make the connection between liturgy and justice clearer. Part of her motivation comes from the United States Bishops’ 1993 document, Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish.

The most important setting for the Church’s social teaching is not in a food pantry or in a legislative committee room, but in prayer and worship, especially gathered around the altar for the Eucharist. It is in the liturgy that we find the fundamental direction, motivation, and strength for social ministry. Social ministry not genuinely rooted in prayer can easily burn itself out. On the other hand, worship that does not reflect the Lord’s call to conversion, service, and justice can become pious ritual and empty of the Gospel.
Below she offers us some bulletin reflections that you can use each week that connects God’s story found in the Sunday readings with our story found in the real-life events of a person affected by the work of Catholic Charities and gives information on how you can become part of this story by proclaiming the Gospel in concrete ways in Santa Clara County.

Here is the same text as a Word document that you can download and reprint.

Thanks go to Elizabeth Lilly
Director, Community and Parish Partnerships
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
elilly [at] ccsj [dot] org

Sunday Reflections and Social Ministry
Winter 2006 - 2007
For weekly bulletins, faith sharing groups, prayer at meetings, bible study, lectors, outreach actions, anywhere the word of God calls us to act with charity and justice.

December 3, 2006
“I will raise up for David a just shoot; he will do what is right and just in the land.” Jeremiah 33

Catholic Charities story: A teen age victim of human trafficking was placed in a foster home in Fall 2006. Another teen refugee asked for and received an additional year to complete high school graduation requirements, so great was her determination to succeed.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Become a foster parent for an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor. Click here for information or contact Coleen Gulbraa at 408-325-5159.

December 10, 2006
“And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value….” Philippians 1

Catholic Charities story: Teens from a gang impacted neighborhood in San Jose were able to relax and enjoy each others company on fieldtrips sponsored and supervised by staff at our Washington United Youth Center program.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Connect with youth in a safe and fun environment at the Washington United Youth Center on First Street in San Jose. Contact Tony Rodriguez at 408-938-6731.

December 17, 2006
“Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none And the one who has food should do likewise.” Luke 3

Catholic Charities story: Homeless for seven years, James now lives in a Charities Housing apartment. He also works part-time at the front desk of the complex and receives support from a Catholic Charities case manager.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Assist our Housing Case managers by finding creative ways to share your gifts. Some examples are going to church or a movie together, teaching English or cooking or resume writing, donating clothes or gift cards. North county: Filipa Rios, 650-941-4219; East side: Raymond Estrada, 408-678-4477.

December 24, 2006
“Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” Luke 1

Catholic Charities story: John can now get outside his care facility to take a “trip around the neighborhood” when his Friendly Visitor realized that being outside was what he was missing.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Visit an elderly person one hour a week, keep a record of the visits and work with our Friendly Visitor Volunteer Coordinator, Jeanette Miskimon, 408-325-5151.

December 25, 2006
“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” Luke 2

Catholic Charities story: Sheryl, a single mother with a disability, was able to move into her own apartment when our Housing Services case manager was able to match her need with a subsidy program.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Help in our office keeping listings current, scheduling appointments, conducting a satisfaction survey. Join the Shared Housing program. Contact Chelo Lund at 408-325-5209.

December 31, 2006
“Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” Luke 2

Catholic Charities story: At Delia Garcia’s day care in San Jose, preschool children gain a healthy love of books through our Raising A Reader program.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Help in the preparation of books and materials, English and Spanish, visit day care centers with annual survey, or assist with workshops and training. Raising A Reader program coordinator, Mike Honey, 408-283-6150 x244.

January 7, 2007
“Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.” Isaiah 60

Catholic Charities story: St. Lawrence parish is assisting a large refugee family from Somalia with clothing and household goods to ease their settlement in the USA.

Catholic Charities opportunity: To learn how a parish can sponsor a refugee family contact Archana Sharma at 408-325-5215.

January 14, 2007
“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” 1 Corinthians 12

Catholic Charities story: Bertha overcame depression because of a continuum of services she received as a CalWorks participant in our Behavioral Health Services and now leads a support group for participants who have suffered domestic abuse.

Catholic Charities opportunity: What is your gift? Many clients of Catholic Charities benefit from the personal attention of our volunteers. Call Rosa Chan-Astacio, 408-325-5228,

January 21, 2007
“The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Luke 1

Catholic Charities story: Eastside Senior Center recently celebrated its 40th anniversary providing variety of programs, including a nutritious lunch and tax preparation assistance for low-income seniors in the Alum Rock area.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Assist with recreation, computer lab, escorted transportation, dances and more. Contact Milton Cadena at 408 251-0215.

January 28, 2007
“If I give away everything I own…but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthains 13

Catholic Charities story: St. Francis of Assisi parish is a site for Day Break, our program for homebound older adults whose caregiver needs a break during the day.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Provide companionship to clients helping with activities and programs, including arts and crafts, and story telling. Frances Kiernan, 408-270-4900.