Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis — "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security" — the first retreat of the Parish Solidarity Initiative is set for Jan. 20.
"We wanted to make it unique to Oakland," said Robert De Leon, Catholic Relief Services parish solidarity coordinator in the Diocese of Oakland. Among the groups involved are the Office of Life and Justice and Latino Ministry in the Diocese of Oakland; CRS; Catholic Campaign for Human Development; St. Vincent de Paul; St. Mary's Center, Oakland; and Maryknoll, De Leon said.
The Parishes in Action program invites participants to reflect on the meaning of discipleship and the call to local and global solidarity and learn how to implement the initiative in their parishes. Participants are also invited to learn leadership and organizing skills. It is hoped that new leaders and participants will emerge from the initiative.
The retreat will be led by Kimberly Mazyrack, Catholic Relief Services' relationship manager for national partnerships.
The retreat, which is free, begins with registration at 8:30 a.m., with the program beginning promptly at 9 a.m. in St. Joseph Room. Spanish translation will be available. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. The event will end at 6 p.m.
RSVP by Jan. 15 to Roberto De Leon, CRS parish solidarity coordinator, at 805-668-1249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is hoped Parishes in Action "will strengthen the Catholic tradition, especially Catholic social teaching," DeLeon said. Organizers also hope it will strengthen the connection between the parish and the diocese.
In light of the CRS connection, Parishes in Action, De Leon said, could "bring awareness locally of our brothers globally."
Additionally, Parishes in Action could help focus on migration, putting into action Pope Francis' call for a two-year commitment to be aware of migrants on their journey, and to accompany them.
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