By Bev Beckman
At Holy Trinity, our pastor, Father Mark Spalding, often reminds both parishioners and school children of the Scripture verse from the Gospel according to St. Luke: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (12:48).
We are a community that has been given “much,” and our pastor’s challenge recognizes the great outpouring of service and charity that has taken place over many years at the parish. It also spurred our decision to formally apply to become a “Compassionate Parish” in 2014, following our school’s designation as a “Compassionate School” in 2013.
This program invites organizations to become partners with Compassionate Louisville’s efforts to build a community of compassion and involves a reflection and education process that results in the creation of a compassionate resolution.
The resolution reflects how the organization will live out this call.
This process was not complicated for a parish that, for many years, has embraced the call of Catholic social teaching to work for the common good, help build a just society, uphold the dignity of human life and lift up our poor and vulnerable brothers and sisters.
For more information about the compassionate organization process, see www.compassionatelouisville.org.
Compassion is embedded in the Holy Trinity mission statement, “Following Christ’s example, we are striving to grow spiritually through worship, lifelong formation/education and service. We are dedicated to building a loving, caring faith community, sharing our gifts with all God’s people. In achieving our mission, we value prayer, reconciliation, participation, inclusion, outreach, stewardship, and respect for each person.”
Over the last two years, our parish has worked to strengthen our service and advocacy efforts by coordinating and integrating long-term and very established ministries such as St. Vincent de Paul and Respect Life with our very active school service and youth ministry programs and with new efforts in education and advocacy.
Through our strategic planning process, we have sought to challenge all committees of the parish to think about how we can live out the principles of Catholic social teaching and our call to serve others compassionately.
These efforts have resulted in outreach efforts to numerous local, statewide and even international organizations, including St. Martin de Porres Church in Belize City, Belize. Activities include financial support to seven local organizations, multiple food and clothing donations, emergency assistance to more than 500 local area clients and 250 friendship visits.
Recipients of outreach include the St. John Center for Homeless Men, Sister Visitor Center, Catholic Charities Mother-Infant Care Program, Little Way Pregnancy Resource Center and St. Augustine Church’s Thanksgiving program.
Through the efforts of the St. Vincent de Paul team and parish support, Holy Trinity also provided Christmas outreach to 442 individuals in Cumberland County, Ky., as well as to Boy’s and Girl’s Haven in Louisville. In 2013, Holy Trinity established a Speaker’s Bureau that provides education and supports advocacy efforts on issues such as immigration reform, human trafficking and the sanctity of human life.
The Charter for Compassion that undergirds the compassionate organization process includes a definition of compassion that we found inspiring in our efforts.
It says, “The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow human creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity, and respect.”
As we strive to “follow Christ’s example” in all we do, we are pleased to be able to partner with other organizations to build a more compassionate community.
Bev Beckman is the chair of Holy Trinity Church’s social outreach committee.