By Monsignor Elvin Sunds
JACKSON – One day a pastor was giving his fourth-grade religion class a tour of the church. As they went through the church, he pointed out the altar, tabernacle, pulpit, crucifix, baptismal font, book of Gospels, etc. He explained the significance and importance of each. Finally, at the end of the tour he said there was one more very important item.
He pointed to the exit sign at the main door of the church. He explained that if what we celebrate for one hour on Sunday morning does not make a difference in how we live the rest of the week, we have missed the purpose of our Sunday worship. As we exit the church, we cannot leave at the door what we celebrate in the Mass and read in the Scriptures. Our faith is not meant to be confined to the four walls of the church building. It is meant to be lived every day outside the walls of the church.
We find the same message in the Gospels. After giving us the Beatitudes Jesus says we are the light of the world. We must let our light shine before all “so that they may see the goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father” (Mt. 14-16). Likewise, in the Epistle of James (2:14-24), we read that faith without action is lifeless and worthless.
The Faith in Action Team of the Diocese of Jackson seeks to help Catholics and Catholic parishes put their faith into action. It supports the efforts of Catholic Charities to encourage and assist parishes in putting faith into action through service to the community especially to the marginalized and vulnerable. The Faith in Action Team also identifies and prioritizes issues that have an impact on human life and dignity in the diocese. It seeks to educate Catholics on those issues and solicit their support in addressing the issues.
A major activity of the Faith in Action Team of the Diocese of Jackson is organizing the annual Catholic Day at the Capitol. At the Catholic Day at the Capitol, Catholics gather to witness to our Catholic values concerning issues impacting the population of our state, especially the vulnerable and marginalized of the state. One to three priority issues are identified and addressed each year. Materials are developed to inform Catholics of these issues and how our Catholic values speak to the issues. This year’s Catholic Day at the Capitol is scheduled for Wednesday, March 4, 2020. More information will be provided in the months ahead.
The Faith and Action Team is composed of volunteer laypersons, religious and clergy from around the diocese. Membership is open to all that desire to actively live their Baptismal call to be a “Visible sign of Christ’s love” to all, especially to the vulnerable and marginalized in our midst. The team meets monthly at the Jackson office of Catholic Charities. For more information on how you or your parish can be part of the Team or work with the Team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.