Respect Life and Social Justice Month
This guide will give examples of things to do as well as an example of a format for your event. Use this guide in whatever way best fits your local gathering. This guide is designed for a whole morning/afternoon/evening event. If you plan on doing a shorter event you can remove some of the videos/reflections. This guide is designed so you can organize your event in whatever way makes the most sense for your community.
Planning your event
Step 1 – Getting a team together: Gather people together to plan and organize the event. Make sure you include people from various backgrounds and different experiences/passions to showcase the breadth of Catholic Social Teaching.
Step 2- Find a space and publicize your event: Hold the event at your parish or a community center; somewhere that allows enough space for food and socializing. You will need to have the ability to show videos to those gathered in the space and it should be comfortable enough for the anticipated group that gathers. Internet access is necessary for videos. Make the space welcoming and decorate with materials directed at sharing in the diversity of the community. Use social media and other means to advertise your event. Some sample graphics and social media posts have been included in this packet below.
Step 3 – “Reaching out”: Share your event on social media! Take pictures, live tweet, go on social media with a live video feed! When sharing on social media use the hashtag #dbqarch. Maybe create photo booth area where people can have their picture taken and tag it #dbqarch and #respectlifesocialjustice .
Step 4 – Hospitality: Will you have a potluck? Coffee and doughnuts? Cookies and juice? Depending on time of day and where you are planning to have this event there are various ways to organize your hospitality. Perhaps you could have a potluck after mass on Respect Life Sunday or host an evening gathering during the week. Providing hospitality is always an important aspect of any community gathering.
Step 5 – Test all audio visual equipment before the start of the event.
Step 6 – How long will your event be? Have a start and end time planned out in advance, and advertise the schedule for the event, so folks who attend can plan accordingly.
Step 7 – Childcare: It isn’t always easy for parents of young children to attend events because of the need to arrange for childcare. Consider ways in which youth can be incorporated into the day or you may choose to provide childcare at the event so that parents find it easier to attend the event.
Proposed Timeline for Event
I. Introduction to the event (5-10 minutes)
Welcome people to the event. Introduce those who helped plan the event as well as offer an opportunity for people to get to know one another at their tables. There will be discussion questions later on after videos and it can foster the conversation if everyone knows each other’s names at their respective tables.
II. Opening prayer from Roman Missal (5 minutes)
For giving thanks to God for the gift of human life (collect)
God our Creator,
We give thanks to you,
Who alone have the power to impart the breath of life
As you form each of us in our mother’s womb;
Grant, we pray,
That we, whom you have made stewards of creation,
May remain faithful to this sacred trust
And constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
III. Catechesis Videos
- If every issue or problem first addresses and recognizes human dignity, how would that look?
- Whose human dignity must be considered?
- How does putting human dignity first change our perspective on our personal, political, and community actions?
- What are some of the biblical roots of Catholic Social Teaching?
- What does the Bible call us to do with regards to our brothers and sisters in need?
- How can reflecting on Scripture help us to address both individual and institutional challenges that people face in their lives?
- Pope Francis says peace depends on human dignity. Where in our society is human dignity ignored or abused?
- What is the “throwaway culture” that Pope Francis speaks about?
- What can be done to transform society into a culture of encounter?
- What is the Common Good?
- How does the Common Good relate to other principles of Catholic Social Teaching?
- When seeking the common good, who should be part of the discussion and decision-making?
IV. Taking Action
Gather– Gather people of broad experiences and background. Make sure to include people who are most directly affected by the topic being discussed. Gather resources including liturgical, theological and academic resources such as the Catholic Catechism, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, encyclicals, the Roman Missal, etc.
Pray – Prayer opens us up to receive God’s grace and humbles us to listen to Him and transforms us to be more charitable, merciful and just in our proceedings.
Learn – Learn about the issue. Study the Church teachings. Study reliable resources about the facts of the issue. Avoid partisanship and sensationalism.
Listen – Listen to the Jesus Christ, the Church, the marginalized, those who are most directly affected by an issue. Act
Act – Take what has been learned and develop goals and objectives. Make sure they are measurable and are possible. For example, “we’re going to solve world hunger” is a virtuous goal but is not achievable by a parish. Appropriate goals would be “We will set a goal of raising $3,000 for Catholic Relief Services hunger projects this calendar year; We will provide one meal a month at the local free meal site; We will meet with all three of our federal legislators on the importance of addressing systemic barriers to food locally and globally by supporting the “XXX Bill” by the end of this congressional session. These goals are measurable, they are achievable, and address both immediate needs and address systemic issues.
Review – What was learned in this process? Were goals accomplished? Why or why not? If yes, what new goals can we establish. If not, how might we revise the original goals or create different ways to accomplish those original goals?
V. Practice taking action by taking into consideration a specific issue.
Go through the steps listed above.
Gather – who should we gather?
Pray – what should we pray for?
Learn – where can we find the information needed to better understand this topic?
Listen – from whom do we need to hear? Are the voices of those affected present? Are we listening to the poor and vulnerable?
Act – What is one measurable goal with a timeline we can think of addressing this issue?
Review – How might we go about accomplishing this goal?
VI. Closing prayer (5 minutes)
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears!
Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
****Socializing with food, entertainment, etc. can happen before, during, or after the event begins. Whatever works best for your local gathering.****
For different age levels of youth go to the Respect Life and Social Justice Formation for All page for a large variety of videos, activities, and resources linked there. Choose what will work best for your community. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you have to use everything found there. https://www.dbqarch.org/offices/respect-life/formationk6andhome/october-2019-respect-life-and-social-justice-month-k-6-and-domestic-church/