By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
A group of close to three dozen, including Archdiocese of Louisville priests and individuals who serve in various ministries, heard that the challenges of the local and global church are many, but with solidarity, the church can keep providing hope.
The group — led by Mark Bouchard of Catholic Charities of Louisville — met Nov. 15 at the Common Table Cafe for a discussion about “Parish Global Solidarity” — an initiative to bring education and awareness of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to the Archdiocese of Louisville.
CRS is the international humanitarian organization sponsored by the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
During the Nov. 15 discussion, Bouchard asked participants to imagine they were in a helicopter looking down on everything that’s happening in the world.
“What color would you (use to) describe the world?” he asked.
Some envisioned green and blue, which they said meant healing and hope. Others said they would see red, depicting anger and armed conflict; gray, which stands for hungry children; and black, which depicts the “darkness threatening to cover” everything.
Bouchard also asked those gathered to think of a social concern that’s important to them and their parish. The answers included:
n Secularism — which they said is challenging the church in it’s work to provide hope.
n Food and nutrition shortages — a growing inequality between those who have too
much and those who don’t have enough.
n Prejudice — the tendency to shun people who are different.
n Violence and greed — the exploitation of the poor for the benefit of those in power.
Bouchard shared with the gathering that he hears with “frequency” a similar outlook of a world steadily growing darker. The church is in need of solidarity, he said, adding that the challenges are many. This “Parish Global Solidarity” initiative is an “invitation to deal with” what’s happening in the world, said Bouchard.
CRS’ work attempts to “deal” with some of these issues, noted Bouchard. CRS provides access to clean water and improved sanitation in impoverished African countries and improves the health and wellbeing of children through access to food and nutrition around the world.
Bouchard shared with his listeners that he has witnessed the connection of the local and global church through the opportunities he’s had to travel abroad with CRS. “It’s phenomenal to see what we can do as a church and how we are received,” he said.
There are tentative plans to hold similar discussions quarterly on issues that are “current” and “relevant,” said Bouchard.