Steps along the way
By Kathy Gillis
It is the start of a new year, full of promise and longing. We begin the year with renewed hope for a just and peaceful world. As we open the door to 2010, let us remember a reflection that US Bishop Ken Untener offered during a commemoration of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero:
“...the Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work...We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing this. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”
There are many facets to the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work and this issue of Scarboro Missions offers just a few. Each are steps along the way, taken by people of faith working towards the realization of the Reign of God.
An essential guide comes in the body of thought known as Catholic Social Teaching, highlighted in this issue. From the depths of this teaching, we learn about our commitment to the whole society—to the common good; about standing on the side of the poor and powerless; about the protection of basic rights; about being in solidarity with others; about the beauty and dignity of all God’s creation.
An example of the type of commitment encouraged by Catholic Social Teaching is the Dignity for All campaign through which Canadians can build a social movement to eradicate poverty in Canada.
The building of the Kingdom also involves goodwill and collaboration among people of different faiths and cultures. The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. The UN is calling for action on all levels of society to promote dialogue among religions, mutual understanding, and cooperation in the cause for peace. This issue opens with a listing of events in Jewish-Catholic dialogue in the past 60 years, providing a glimpse of the positive relations between Catholics and Jews.
A Scarboro missioner, Fr. Bill Schultz, who had a deep interest in the language and culture of Japan where he worked for many years, and who walked humbly with the poor in Peru, is appropriately featured in this issue. Another, Fr. Jim Gillis, who stood on the side of the poor and powerless is also profiled. We hope their stories inspire you.
We also share with you some of the propositions made by the African bishops from their Special Assembly in Rome last October. The theme of the conference was The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace. As the US bishops say “our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly ‘Catholic’ unless we hear and heed the Church’s call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace.” May we journey into the new year with confidence and faith.