August 7, 2009

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

It’s almost time to SHINE!

David SilerBy now, I hope that the acronym SHINE means something to you. It stands for “Spreading Hope In Neighborhoods Everywhere.”

This is the name given to describe our upcoming archdiocesan social ministry year of renewal.

This year of social ministry renewal will be launched at a conference-style event just two months from now on Oct. 1 at the conference facilities at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The kickoff event is being held for the pastoral staff of our parishes, and the leaders in Catholic health care, education and all Catholic social ministries.

The SHINE conference is targeted for our pastoral leaders with the intention of inspiring and equipping them to assert their leadership in fully living out the call of the Gospel to service, works of mercy and justice.

It is no secret that most often in our parishes those that actually carry out the work of social ministry and justice are not the pastoral leaders themselves, but rather members of the parish—those that volunteer to both lead and serve.

However, we know from experience that the work of volunteers in social ministry and justice is only made possible by pastors and pastoral leaders who encourage, support and inspire this ministry.

Another reason to begin our year of renewal with our pastoral leaders is an effort for the various ministries within a parish to be more integrated in their approach to social ministry.

When social ministry and justice is seen as the responsibility of every part of parish life, rather than left to a few dedicated individuals, our parishes come alive as beacons of hope in our neighborhoods.

A beautiful example of this integrated approach occurred in the Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. a few years ago when their bishop asked every parish to pose this question at every meeting, “How does what we are doing or considering doing affect the poor?”

In order to further equip and educate the parishioners who carry out the ministry of charity in our parishes, we will offer a parish social ministry training on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7 at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove. More information is forthcoming, but you can read the details at

The parish social ministry regional training is just one of the events that will take place during the SHINE year of renewal.

Although the Oct. 1 kickoff will be a large event to begin this year, there are numerous people working hard to set up trainings, events, resources and structures that will help us all truly focus our attention on our call to live out the Gospel call of charity and justice.

The timing of the SHINE year of renewal seems providential as it coincides with a time of exploding need for works of justice and mercy due to the economic crisis that we are experiencing. As baptized Catholics, every one of us is called by God, inspired by Jesus and sustained by the Spirit to “shine” as a light for all to see.

To get all of the details about SHINE, log on to

(David Siler is executive director of the Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at

Local site Links: