Workshops to focus on faithful citizenship
Four parishes will host presentations
As Catholics, we are both obligated and privileged to participate in shaping a moral society, said Helene Paharik, associate general secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
As part of that obligation and privilege, and in anticipation of the general election Nov. 6, Paharik, former director of the Department for Human Dignity, will conduct four workshops this month and in October on faithful citizenship and political responsibility. The subject of the presentations will be based on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."
"How does our faith -- our understanding of the dignity of all human life -- infuse our participation in political life?" Parharik asked. "The presentation examines our responsibility as Catholics to be active in the political process and to vote with an informed conscience."
The sessions will be held: Wednesday, Sept. 19, at St. Bernard Parish in Mount Lebanon; Wednesday, Sept. 26, at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Beaver; Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Scott Township; and Monday, Oct. 22, at St. Wendelin Parish in Pittsburgh's Carrick neighborhood. Each session will be from 7-9 p.m.
The workshops are a continuing effort by the diocese, which recently sent materials to pastors on faithful citizenship and political activities. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference also is partnering with the Knights of Columbus to conduct voter registration drives in diocesan parishes this month.
Among the information sent to the pastors were: the Political Action Guidelines of the Diocese of Pittsburgh; a bulletin insert on faithful citizenship; and a parish resource guide that includes prayers, lesson plans and bulletin articles to foster faithful citizenship.
"Our nation faces political challenges that demand urgent moral choices," Paharik said.
It is critical to understand that these moral issues do not have the same moral weight, she said.
"The church's moral teaching, rooted in Scripture and our Catholic teaching, helps us understand the issues," Paharik said. "The role of the church is to form consciences for faithful citizenship. It is not to tell us for whom to vote or which party to join. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her properly formed conscience."
All people are welcome and encouraged to attend one of the workshop sessions. People who plan to attend are asked to RSVP by calling the Department for Human Dignity at 412-456-3157 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure sufficient seating and materials.
A $5 donation would be appreciated to help defray the cost of materials. Donations may be made at the event.
Contact the Department for Human Dignity at 412-456-3157 with any questions.