by Frank Lesko, Coordinator of Justice and Peace

The risen Christ walks with his disciples on the road, as our readings this weekend tell us.  So, too, does the Church walk with us in our Christian vocations.  That walk can be difficult:  It is not enough to know God, but also to keep his commandments, as the second reading today says.  How can we love God and love our neighbor in this complex, modern world?

With a presidential election looming in the fall, how can we participate as Christians and as Catholics?  Even though the election is just a simple matter of one vote, we will most likely be bombarded with rhetoric and viewpoints of all kinds between now and November 6.  How can the Church be a guide and companion as we sort through all this?

We are a people of flesh and blood.  Last week, Thomas needed to experience for himself the risen Christ.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus beckons his disciples to “Touch me and see.”  Too often, we engage in serious and complex issues only with our minds.  We are detached observers, reading about an event or hearing commentary through the media.  The Justice and Peace Ministry office would like to bring the issues closer to parishioners so that you, like the Disciples, can see, touch and hear for yourselves the human face of the issues we are deciding upon.

Using the USCCB document Faithful Citizenship as our guide, the goal is never to tell people how to vote—as no party or candidate represents the wholeness of Catholic teachings.  However, the Church can assist people in the formation of their conscience and to navigate the public sphere so that we can be active citizens.

Over the next several months, we will present a number of speakers, study groups, forums and other activities to help us get close to the issues in a meaningful way and help form conscience in light of Catholic Social Teaching.  Our ministry groups such as JustFaith, Franciscan Care for Creation, Dignity of Life and Committee for Immigration Justice will all be helping shape this programming, along with support from the Justice Theater Project and Witness for Peace Southeast.  Some spring offerings are already available, with more to come!  Contact Sheila Read at 919-847-8205 x420 or for more information!

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