Thursday, April 26, 2007

Connecting Sunday with Justice - Catholic Charities

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.

Sunday Reflections and Social Ministry
April and May – 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. Community and Parish Partnerships Elizabeth Lilly, 408-325-5262,

April 29, 2007
“I, John, had a vision of a great multitude from every nation, race, people and tongue.” Revelation 7

Catholic Charities story: Mariama was an African refugee who escaped here alone, separated from family. She learned enough English to study at community college, and become a nurse. She is now working as a nurse's assistant, and hopes to be reunited with her children soon.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Volunteers are needed to speak English with newly resettled refugees and their families, visit them in their homes and accompany them on trips to the grocery store and other errands. The time commitment is flexible. Contact Archana Sharma, 408-325-5215, in our Refugee Resettlement Services.

May 6, 2007
“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” John 13

Catholic Charities story: Grandma Mickie spends her afternoons at a local school with Johnny, a preschooler who has difficulty learning and speaking. She gives him undivided attention, reads to him, plays games and does art projects. She has had several “foster” grandchildren and she keeps coming back because of all the love they give back to her.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Foster Grandparents are at least 60 years old, have good health, low incomes, and a desire to work with children. To learn more about becoming a Foster Grandparent, contact Teresa Wong, 408-325-5158 or

May 13, 2007
“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14

Catholic Charities story: A local skilled nursing home is discharging residents because Medicare won't continue to pay. Ombudsmen is empowering the residents to call the Medicare appeals number and coaching them on what to say and how to get their discharge reversed. About 80% of the time they appeal they can stay in the home a little longer to get healthier.

Catholic Charities opportunity: The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for all the residents of residential care homes and skilled nursing facilities in our county. Volunteers receive training and certification. For more information about this important ministry contact Bethany Pounders, 408-325-5134,

May 20, 2007
“You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1

Catholic Charities story: When Anna was a young child her family came to this country. Catholic Charities helped them settle in the community. By age 15, because of illness and death in her family, Anna needed help. Catholic Charities helped relatives become Anna’s legal guardians.

Catholic Charities opportunity: Anna is also supported by the Independent Living Skills program with our Kinship Resource Services. To learn more about our outreach to vulnerable teens contact Shelly Ahn, 408-938-6731, or

May 27, 2007
“Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104

Catholic Charities story: Ynez, after leaving a violent past, is blest with a home for herself and her three children, a case manager, daycare in the housing complex and the opportunity to be in a nursing program at the local community college.

Catholic Charities opportunity: For over 25 years Catholic Charities has been screening and placing appropriate clients in houses and apartments. Contact our Housing Search and Stabilization Services at 408-325-5277 if you are a landlord or if you need an individual assessment of your housing needs.