April 4, 2008

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

SHINE is a new social ministry renewal initiative

David Siler“Spreading Hope In Neighborhoods Everywhere,” the acronym SHINE, is a new social ministry renewal initiative being launched by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Beginning with a large, archdiocesan-wide event for pastoral leaders during the day on Oct. 1, 2009—and for everyone during that evening—the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries will lead a yearlong effort to respond to Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation to bring about more love in our midst.

In the pope’s encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” (“God is Love”), he writes, “Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dark … to experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter the world—this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present encyclical.”

This, in turn, is the invitation that we extend to all of you.

We are challenged by our Holy Father to take a good long look at how we are living out our individual and collective baptismal call to bring light (hope) into the lives of others.

The pope tells us that the ministry of charity is as important to the Church as the preaching of the word and the celebration of the sacraments. We will invite our local Church to ask if we are giving due attention to the ministry of charity.

The Catholic liturgy itself beautifully contains the three essential elements of the Church: we gather to be fed by the word of God; we join together in the most Blessed Sacrament—the Eucharist; and we are sent forth to love and serve the Lord. The sending forth for service is where our faith becomes real, tangible and felt by those around us.

Holy Spirit Parish at Geist in Fishers, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese, a parish to our north, concludes every Sunday liturgy with the congregation reciting together this phrase, “The Mass never ends. It must be lived. So let us go forth to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!”

What might happen in our neighborhoods if this became the lived reality for all of us?

From Oct. 1, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2010, we will invite all of you to celebrate all that is done for those in need by our Catholic parishes, schools, agencies, hospitals and other social service institutions. We will, in turn, challenge ourselves to ask, “Are we doing all that we could/should do to serve those in need around us?”

We will know that we have been successful if we can see that more people are engaged in the ministry of charity, if more individuals and families are being served and if our Church is more fully alive.

We hope that this yearlong intensive focus on the ministry of charity will live well beyond a year, and that we will all be inspired to live the invitation of the Holy Father and Christ himself, who calls us to be light.

To learn more about SHINE and how you and your parish can become involved, visit the archdiocesan Catholic Charities Web site at www.CatholicCharitiesIndy.org.

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at dsiler@archindy.org.) †

Local site Links: