“A ROOM AT THE INN” – Pastoral letter on homelessness in Ireland – Senior Students Justice Study perhaps.

A Room at the Inn? looks in depth at the root causes of the housing crisis and offers solidarity with anyone experiencing homelessness.  The dignity which, as Catholics, we recognise in every person, must be reflected in the reality of life in our society.

Key findings of A Room at the Inn? are:  

  • housing be recognised as a human right and that it should be safe, affordable and appropriate;
  • the provision of housing cannot be left solely to the market;
  • housing should not be treated as any other commodity;
  • housing policies should recognise the rights of families and seek to bring about greater equality in our society;
  • action must be taken to increase the supply and reduce the price of housing;
  • the private rental sector needs to ensure fair pricing and security of tenure in the context of its recent growth at the expense of home ownership and social housing;
  • cooperative housing should be encouraged and supported with the introduction of a new ‘Cost Rental’ sector which focuses on actual cost of providing housing and not profit;
  • taxation be considered for vacant sites; close tax loopholes and use compulsory purchase powers to utilise potential sites which lie undeveloped for a lengthy period of time;
  • the making of enormous profits through land speculation in housing developments and in maintaining high rents is particularly damaging to society;
  • the accommodation needs of the Travelling Community and of asylum seekers must be addressed in a housing strategy;
  • housing provision should take account of environmental sustainability and the use of proper building standards to ensure quality of living for occupants;
  • housing provision should take account of rural and urban development policies;
  • housing policy should be committed to ensuring that those employed in the construction sector can work in safe, secure and fair working environments;
  • energy poverty is widespread in Ireland and many are living in substandard or in minimal standards of accommodation;
  • the absence of adequate housing occurs as a result of governments prioritising other objectives over the provision of housing which is necessary for the dignity of the person;
  • an absence of an adequate and a secure home for children will impact on their life in terms of education, employment and health;
  • allowing a continuation of the disparity between those who have adequate and affordable housing and those who are poorly housed or without a home will create a divided society;
  • There needs to be an open debate about how public policy can serve to reclaim housing from global markets so that its primary and essential purpose is realised.

Please see the following link to the full text in pdf of A Room at the Inn?

Bishops-pastoral-letter-on-Housing-and-Homelessness-A-Room-at-the-Inn

A great example for us all is the life and teaching of Mother Theresa now a Saint.

She experienced a second calling in her life and chose to go and work with the poorest of the poor.

Watch this video of her story.

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Pope Francis encourages us to live the Beatitudes. He says

“The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card. So, if anyone asks: ‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives. The word ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’ thus becomes a synonym for ‘holy’. It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness.” {GE, 63-4)

Living these are a true challenge for us all.  Pope Francis continues

“If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian! ” (GE, 98)

My good friend Aidan Donaldson has recently written about the new Beatitudes mentioned by Pope Francis in Sweden

In his own beatitudes, he tells us that this is what this path to happiness and holiness looks like:

  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

(Beatitudes announced by Pope Francis in Sweden 2016)

For more on this read “The Beatitudes of Pope Francis, A manifesto for the modern Christian ”  By Dr Aidan Donaldson  Published by Veritas   9781 84730 850 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYNOD ON YOUNG PEOPLE, FAITH AND VOCATIONAL DISCERNMENT

The Bishops of the world are meeting in Rome this month with Pope Francis together with observers to discuss the theme of Young People, Faith and vocational discernment.  Archbishop Eamon and Bishop Donal McKeown are attending this month long synod.

.Pope Francis noted: “The theme, an expression of the pastoral care of the Church for the young, is consistent with the results of the recent Synod assemblies on the family and with the content of the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Its aim is to accompany the young on their existential journey to maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they discover their plan for life and realize it with joy, opening up to the encounter with God and with human beings, and actively participating in the edification of the Church and of society.”

 

This video explains what the synod is all about.

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In October 2018 Catholic Bishops from around the world will meet in Rome to focus on how the church helps, guides and accompanies young people as they grow in faith and discern the part they can play in shaping the future of the Church.

The participants will take part in a Synod of Bishops meeting in the Vatican to discuss and debate the subject in question. In 2018 the theme is: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.  It is the fifteenth Ordinary General Assembley of the Synod of Bishops.

Ahead of the Synod, a preliminary outline document called a Lineamenta is prepared and distributed to all concerned for comment. Based on the responses to this, a working document – the Instrumentum Laboris – is released globally and acts as the basis for discussions at the Synod.

When gathered in Rome, the assembly examines the proposals, or propositiones, put forward by members and passes those that receive approval to Pope Francis. The Pope uses these as a guide for a post-synodal apostolic exhortation – a papal document often written following a synodal gathering of bishops.

The final version of the preparatory Working Paper for this synod is attached here.  Young people from all over the World met with Pope Francis and this document has been drawn up to form the basis of the work at the October Synod.

Download and read this doc.

Youth Synod working doc

This document was drafted by the young adults who participated in the Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome and was presented to Pope Francis on Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018.

Irish Episcopal Conference discusses Synod.

Synod of Bishops in Rome on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment

From today until 28 October Pope Francis will host a Synod of Bishops in Rome on the theme: ‘Youth, faith and vocational discernment’. 

The Synod is an assembly of bishops from around the world, gathered with the Holy Father, to share their wisdom and experiences in the common pursuit of pastoral solutions which have a universal validity and application.  Taking place every three years, this will be the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.  Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the President of the Bishops’ Conference and Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry, chair of the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, are representing the Irish bishops at the Synod.

As part of the preparations for the Synod, bishops met with representatives of youth ministry from around the country to discuss key themes arising from a web-based consultation which they undertook with young people.  This involved feedback from 2,500 respondents. 

Arising from this information, bishops noted positive examples and obstacles facing young people regarding their faith and growing up in the contemporary world, such as:

–          young people face many challenges including peer pressure, mental health issues and from social media;

–          young people are passionate about justice, equality and fairness, and desire to be listened to even when their opinions are not in line with Church teaching;

–          many young people want to learn, experience and have a greater role in their faith, but sometimes struggle in achieving this; and

–          the positive experiences of chaplaincy services, pilgrimages and other dedicated national and international youth encounter events.

As they reflected on the importance of this year’s theme for the contemporary Church, and on the responsibility placed upon the Synod Fathers, bishops asked the faithful to join with them by praying the Prayer for the Synod by Pope Francis.

Lord Jesus in journeying towards the Synod,

your Church turns her attention to all the young people in the world.

We pray that they might boldly

take charge of their lives,

aim for the most beautiful and profound things of life

and always keep their hearts unencumbered.

Accompanied by wise and generous guides,

help them respond to the call

you make to each of them,

to realize a proper plan of life

and achieve happiness.

Keep their hearts open to dreaming great dreams

and make them concerned for the good of others.

Like the Beloved Disciple,

may they stand at the foot of the Cross,

to receive your Mother as a gift from You.

May they be witnesses to your Resurrection

and be aware that you are at their side

as they joyously proclaim you as Lord.

Amen.