Fall catechist workshop held
By James Buchok
WINNIPEG — If salvation is not based on doing good works, why
is it important for Catholics to perform acts of kindness and mercy?
Acts of mercy are important, Vermette said, “because we’re called to live out our faith in the image of Christ.” She read from the Gospel of Luke and the parable of the man attacked by robbers and the Samaritan who aided him, and Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
Hrizai spoke of Catholicism’s seven corporal works of mercy which include feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and visiting the imprisoned, and how Paprocki presents ways of performing such works that are aside from the obvious.
“You can go volunteer at a soup kitchen, but what about the mother with young children, who says, ‘I’m going to the soup kitchen,’ and then her other duties don’t get done. She can make a donation to a food bin and feed her family; that’s also feeding the hungry.
“You can approach a troubled teenager to visit them in the prison of their confusion or visit those imprisoned by loneliness, illness or old age. You can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity but if you can’t build things you can organize a bake sale and raise money for that cause. There are lots of different ways.”
“We are called as a church to be sure the world is in right relationship and that calls us to social justice,” Hrizai said. “Not everything is in right relationship and that is not how God wants us to be. If poverty is an obstacle for me to live in right relationship with the world, I have to try to correct that.”
Vermette said Paprocki describes what prayer is in the context of what prayer is not. “We do not pray to change God’s mind but to change ourselves. Prayer is not an attempt to manipulate or change reality. The most profound effect of prayer is not necessarily on the person being prayed for but on the person praying.”
Praying to God is much like our relations with others, she said. “When things are good we communicate easily. When things are not good in can be very hard.” But, she added, prayer should be easy. “St. Ignatius said we should be able to talk to God as a friend. But sometimes the notion of communicating with the creator of the universe can leave us at a loss for words.”
Vermette said the disciples had the same problem and that is why they asked Jesus how they should pray and why he taught them the Lord’s Prayer. Vermette said it’s significant the prayer begins with “Our father. It’s not ‘my’ father,” she said. “We all have the same father so we must all be brothers and sisters.”
Some Catholics have a problem with the word evangelization, Vermette said, because for most it brings to mind a fervent television preacher. Vermette quoted Pope Paul VI who said “the church exists to evangelize. Evangelization as Catholics is more about creating our own relationship with God and being yourself and letting people see that you have that relationship. The most important things for us as catechists is to bring people into that relationship with God.”