All posts tagged: Social Justice

What is the Catholic Worker Movement?

1. What is the Catholic Worker? What is its charism? The Catholic Worker is a lay movement that was started by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in the 1930’s in New York City. Dorothy was an anarchist journalist and a labor activist, and Peter was a working-class, itinerant philosopher. They met in the winter of 1932 and by May Day of the following year had put out the first issue of The Catholic Worker, a newspaper that addressed questions of labor, poverty, and nonviolence through the lenses of what we now think of as the Catholic social tradition. From there, they opened the first “house of hospitality,” welcoming the many people made homeless by the Depression in for a cup of coffee, a meal, and a place to stay. They developed a three-point program of houses of hospitality, round-table discussions, and “agronomic universities,” or farming communes where people could learn to grow their own food. Inspired by their example, other laypeople opened houses of hospitality or moved to farms in or near other cities. Today, …

What is the Community of Sant’Egidio?

1. What is Sant’Egidio? What is its charism? I often think that the Sant’Egidio Community is best understood through its founding, precisely because its founding was not really a founding. Nobody decided to create an organization, a rule, a structure. No, in Rome in 1968, at a time of great social ferment, a group of Catholic high school students began to gather together as friends in order to pray and to seek out and befriend the poorest of the poor. They did this regularly, grew in their ranks, and today you have a community of friends numbering tens of thousands and spanning nations and continents. This community has borne remarkable fruit, including friendship with the elderly and advocacy for the poor around the world, opposition to the death penalty, the combatting of AIDS in Africa, the mediation of numerous peace agreements in Africa and Latin America, and numerous other projects and causes. These “works,” though, all grow out of the community’s basic charisms of prayer, communicating the gospel, and friendship with the poor. Friendship comes …

Social and Liturgical Action in the 21st Century

Many of my fellow Catholic Millennials are concerned for moderate to drastic social change, especially in the United States. I would venture to guess, though, that many of these same Catholic Millennials do not realize there is a long history of Catholic social action deriving from the “source and summit” of the Catholic life, the liturgical action. How are these two seemingly different aspects of life connected? We cannot forget the words of our Lord for loving our neighbor and caring for the environment, but I would like to focus on making connections between the Liturgical Movement of the twentieth century and my generation’s affinity for social action. Virgil Michel, OSB was one of the foremost proponents of the connection between social action and liturgical action in the twentieth century. A monk of St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota, Michel is famous for his promotion of lay “active” or “actual” participation in the liturgical life of the Church. Founding the Liturgical Press in 1926, he used this venue to spread the latest news from the liturgical …

The Mass for Millennials: The Eucharistic Prayer

A few months ago, I was stuck in the deep trenches of service options on the Catholic Volunteer Network website. Simultaneously, I was overwhelmed when thinking about the enormity of social, political, and economic issues affecting real people’s lives inside and outside the U.S. Would I be choosing one community over another? What are the implications of that? Who is my brother, sister, mother? However, the priest’s words in my dorm’s Mass serendipitously intercepted me at a crucial moment of my post-graduate discernment process. The words were nothing out of the ordinary, but resonated loudly: Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself, grant that we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ. As I heard that line in my dorm’s chapel, I felt the deep call to see what a just world might look like when shared across religious, national, …