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by Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

     As we welcome and celebrate the election of our new leader, Pope Francis,  in the Catholic Church, we pray that he will be guided by the Holy Spirit in his very important  role of leading the one billion Catholics worldwide who are commissioned to carry on the mission of Jesus. 

Before the election, many expressed their hopes clearly and directly.  They want a leader who will take the mission of Jesus given to the early members, to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We are to study that mission and bring the Good News of the Gospel to all people and cultures of our time. To fulfill this mission, leaders and members must be led and nurtured by the Holy Spirit. This calls us to remove all that hinders the work of the Spirit in our midst, issues like prejudice, power and control, lack of connectedness to the vital issues of our world today, lack of understanding and contact with people of other cultures who are a growing part of the membership at this time. Dealing effectively with the scandal of clergy sex abuse must be effectively addressed. The gifts of all church members, male and female, and people of all ages, should be recognized, developed and used for the creation of strong faith communities.

 We start out by leading people to study Scripture, do faith sharing, and use contemplation. Pastors and other leaders will be trained in good preaching and leadership practices. The Church cannot successfully transform culture without first transforming itself.  Gandhi once said; “We must be the change that we want to see happen” Children and families are to be well prepared in faith formation and for living their faith wherever they will be. Leaders also must be in touch with the issues individuals and families are struggling with today. Deep listening to the needs of individuals, families and society is an important requirement of leadership today. We are hopeful that our new pope will effectively accomplish these goals.

The Church membership must also be dedicated to working for justice and peace and creating a culture of non-violence in both public and private life. It is important to be aware of the issues that affect people’s lives and deprive them of the means to live a full and meaningful human life.  Members also are encouraged to know their political leaders and be ready to speak truth to power and engage them in restoring compassion, justice, and peace to a broken and bleeding world.  People could gather in small groups and explore ways to address these issues as part of living their faith.

 There is a growing effort to meet the needs of parishes where there is a great shortage of priests and spiritual nourishment for the members.  The gifts of women should be recognized and used to fill this need. There are many ways to involve and train youth to name and use their gifts in meaningful ways to help people in need. Welcoming people of other cultures is also very important. We can learn from their ways of expressing their faith, and help them put their faith into practice wherever they are.

All of us must practice civil discourse as a tool for healing and understanding each other in both public and private life. We all called to reflect and ask ourselves “How do we individually and as a community need to be transformed to reflect the face of Jesus?  Name some of the things we can do as members and leaders of the Catholic Church to reach out effectively to the ends of the earth, so that God’s purposes will be fulfilled through us. How can we restore hope in the Catholic Church? The choice is ours. Let us begin today with courage, conviction and hope. With God’s unfailing help we can accomplish our mission. No effort is too small to make a difference.  


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -

• Justice Bulletin Board •
• A New Year •
• Two Essays on Peace •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •

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