The Church was ‘born’ at Pentecost when the apostles of Jesus were empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit to go out and preach the Good News. The Good News, which continues to be preached by the Church today, is that Jesus is alive and God loves all people regardless or race, colour or culture and calls them into relationship with Him. Today, the Catholic Church is truly ‘catholic’ or universal, in the sense that there is a Catholic presence throughout the world. Jesus also promised his followers that “I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” which means that Catholics believe the Church is everlasting.
The social role of the Church
In Jesus’ teaching, especially in the Greatest Commandment (“This is first ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one only Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength’. The second is this ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.”), as well as the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46), we are reminded that we will be judged on the way we treat others. Catholics therefore believe that life should be concerned with helping those who are less fortunate at both local and international levels.
Justice and Peace Groups
In some parishes, people meet to discuss justice and peace issues. This can take the form of examining some of the issues of the day, for example, the question of refugees or asylum seekers, gun crime, or by considering the needs of the developing world. This means that Justice and Peace Groups will often be linked with CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and they might organise Family Fast Days within the parish to raise money for CAFOD and to raise awareness about issues affecting the developing world. (The work of CAFOD will be discussed further in Catholicism 2). Justice and Peace Groups might also work in the local schools, organising activities like Racial Justice Weeks to...
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