During the 2016 election season, several offices in the Archdiocese partnered together to launch a program – Civilize It – that called on both the principles of USCCB’s Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship and our faith’s demand that we recognize and honor the dignity of every person. (Prior to the 2020 election, the USCCB adopted this program as part of their national initiative to call for charity, clarity, and creativity in our politics.) At the same time…

In the wake of the very divisive 2016 election, a new organization – Braver Angels – was formed to heal the division that was tearing us apart. The founders harkened back to President Lincoln’s call for us to appeal to our “better angels” to guide us towards reconciliation, peace, and civility. (Since that time, Braver Angels has grown into a national organization with coordinators in all 50 states.)

In recent months, the Respect Life and Social Action offices have been working with Braver Angels to bring these two programs together: using the ideals and values of Civilize It and the proven practices of Braver Angels. The overlap of the ideas of the two programs is overwhelming, and the synergy that has been created has been significant.

We are proud to now be able to offer the first fruits of this work. The primary workshop of Braver Angels is the Red-Blue Workshop, and we are offering, for the first time, the Red-Blue Workshop – Catholic version. We’ll share more about the content of the workshop next month, but here are details to save on your calendar: the workshop will take place on two successive Thursdays – June 2nd and 9th from 6:00-9:00pm (over Zoom). There are a limited number of spots available so we’ll have registration for the program, and we’ll be sure to have an equal number of people who tend to lean red and tend to lean blue.

If you have any questions, please contact the Social Action Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Don’t forget to save the dates, and look for more information next month.

Description

Join us for a two-part online workshop that brings together Red (conservative or Republican-leaning) and Blue (liberal or Democratic-leaning) citizens for moderated activities and structured discussions that reduce stereotyped thinking, clarify disagreements, build relationships and find common ground through listening and learning rather than declaring and debating.

This workshop is hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The framework of this Braver Angels workshop will include guidance based on our Catholic values and beliefs. Each workshop will open and close in prayer.

Registation

Registering for Part 1 (June 2nd) automatically includes you in Part 2 (June 9th) of the workshop. This workshop is conducted on two separate Thursday evenings and is three hours for each session. It is important to be available and committed for both segments. Register here in advance.

Process

In part one, participants get to know one another and a foundation of trust is established. This paves the way for a deeper dive into authentic, respectful and thought-provoking questions and answers in part two.

Who can attend?

Catholic parishioners who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of, and connection with, people whose political beliefs differ from their own. This Braver Angels workshop has been revised to incorporate Catholic values and perspectives. There are two ways to join a Red/Blue Workshop: as a Participant or as an Observer.

  • Participants engage in small – and large – group discussions with individuals of both the same and different political persuasions. Participants identify as “red” or “blue” leaning. We strive for an equal balance of red and blue participants: 6 to 8 people on each side.
  • Observers watch and listen, but do not participate in the discussions.

Workshop Goals

  • To better understand the experiences and beliefs of those on the other side of the political divide;
  • To seek out areas of common ground in addition to acknowledging and respecting difference;
  • To gain insights that might help to heal the increasing polarization in our community and the nation.

Questions?

Andrew Musgrave, Director Social Justice Office: amusgrave@catholicaoc.org

Bob Wulzelbacher, Director Respect Life Ministries: bwurzelbacher@catholicaoc.org

We are planning on holding information sessions on the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and how our Archdiocese will be implementing the different goals across the different sectors. We don’t have a hard date set yet, but please be on the look out for an invitation for events to be held the week of February 14-18.
Here’s a brief article giving a bit more information on the new platform.
In May of this year the Vatican launched the 7-year Laudato Si’ Action Platform (laudatosiactionplatform.org).  This initiative’s aim is to have every Catholic institution, from the family to large organizations, become ecologically sustainable in seven years. Pope Francis’ goal is “to help lead the world’s Catholics along a journey of intensified action in caring for creation.” In his video message on May 24th, Pope Francis stated that “We need a new ecological approach that can transform our way of dwelling in the world, our styles of life, our relationship with the resources of the Earth and, in general, our way of looking at humanity and of living life.”
“Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsible ways are threatening the future of our children…I therefore renew my appeal: let us overcome the temptation of selfishness that makes us predators of resources; let us cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation, let us inaugurate a lifestyle and a society that is finally eco-sustainable,” said Francis in his video address.
In his encyclical Laudato Si’, published five years ago, Pope Francis identified the ecological crisis as “a summons to profound interior conversion; a reexamining of our relationships with the Creator, with creation, and with our sisters and brothers.” He also noted that “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue…and calls for a spiritual and cultural revolution to realize integral ecology.”
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform focuses on seven sectors: families, parishes, schools, hospitals, businesses, organizations, and religious orders. It has seven goals: the response to the cry of the earth, the response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of simple lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality, and community involvement. More specific steps about how the various sectors can become active participants in working towards the action plan goals are available at www.catholicclimatecovenant.org.
“There is hope,” Pope Francis says. “We can all collaborate, each one with his own culture and experience, each one with her own initiatives and capacities, so that our mother Earth may be restored to her original beauty and creation may once again shine according to God’s plan.”

Our in-person Winter Solstice Celebration returns this year, with a slight modification. We will gather at 6:45 am OUTSIDE Sieben Hall. Indoor facilities will be open for those who need them.

We will observe the longest night of the year with prayers for world peace and a reflective candlelight procession through the woods of Mount St. John.  A bonfire in the prairie at sunrise will welcome the Prince of Peace.  Hot beverages and a light breakfast provided.

RSVP : 937/429-3582 or info@meec.center

Follow signs to Lot C.  For directions and a map of Mount St. John & Sieben Hall, visit http://meec.center and select “visitor information.”

Celebrating 200 Years of Service in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
“Let Your Service Shine”
An Archdiocesan-wide Service Day
When: Saturday, October 9, 2021
Where: Across the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Who: As many people as possible across the Archdiocese – Young and old, families, parishes, schools, colleges and universities, young adults, youth groups, senior living centers, religious congregations, etc.
Why: Many religious congregations of women and men came to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati 200 or more years ago to serve new immigrants, especially German, Italian, Irish, and others, through education, health care, and other social services. Partnering with and engaging people of all ages today in service across the Archdiocese is a fitting way to honor and extend the 200 years of service given by Sisters, Brothers and Priests.
How: Each organization is invited to chose one of the following options:
A. Choose a ready-made project. For example, donate to a Catholic Charities food pantry, or partner with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) by writing letters for the World Day against the Death Penalty, which is October 10, with St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati or Dayton or with another organization.
B. Create your own project.
  •  Select a committee and a chair or coordinator for your 10.09.2021 project(s). Groups within a parish or small parishes could work together on the project(s).
  •  Create projects that will benefit those most in need and involve volunteers of all ages and capabilities.
  • Invite the volunteers.
  • By September 1, 2021, send your service plans to Cerb@sistersofmercy.org
  • On your service day, take pictures.
  • Send pictures, the number of volunteers who participated in your service projects, and a simple name or description of the service projects in each photo to Cerb@sistersofmercy.org
  • Help us spread the good news of the number serving and the number of those being served.
  • Celebrate with your volunteers the many ways that your group assisted others.
Go to www.Cincy200.com for updates, timelines, service ideas, contact information for agencies, etc.

Fr. Michael Depcik, OSFS, is among fewer than a handful of culturally Deaf priests worldwide. Fr. MD, as he is known, was ordained a priest in 2000 in the congregation of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He currently ministers to Deaf Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit, and is a graduate of St. Rita School for the Deaf in our very own Archdiocese.  We are fortunate to welcome Fr. MD to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in September as he offers Mass and Reconciliation in ASL for the Deaf community.  He will be at St. Michael Parish in Sharonville on Saturday, September 11 offering Reconciliation from 1:30pm – 2:30pm with Mass at 3:00pm, and will then offer a Mass at 6:30pm at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Centerville with Reconciliation to follow.  Fr. Mike will return to the northern part of our Archdiocese on Saturday, September 25 to Immaculate Conception Church in Bradford to offer Reconciliation from 1:30pm – 2:30pm and Mass at 3:00pm in that region.  While these liturgies are being offered predominately for the Deaf Community, hearing people are also welcome to attend the Mass.  There will be an interpreter available for the hearing at these liturgies.  All are welcome!

To celebrate our rural Catholic heritage, the St. Martin Deanery Farm Mass, with Archbishop Schnurr as principal celebrant, will be held at the home of Tim and Lori Leibreich at 5517 Franklin Road, Hillsboro, Ohio, 45133 on September 17 at 7:00 pm. All priests of the deanery are invited to concelebrate and parishioners from throughout the deanery are encouraged to attend, whether or not they live on a farm. A social gathering will follow the Mass. For further information, contact Marilyn Fryer at 937-515-9075 or mmmrf1989@frontier.com

Fr. Michael Depcik, OSFS, is among fewer than a handful of culturally Deaf priests worldwide. Fr. MD, as he is known, was ordained a priest in 2000 in the congregation of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He currently ministers to Deaf Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit, and is a graduate of St. Rita School for the Deaf in our very own Archdiocese.  We are fortunate to welcome Fr. MD to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in September as he offers Mass and Reconciliation in ASL for the Deaf community.  He will be at St. Michael Parish in Sharonville on Saturday, September 11 offering Reconciliation from 1:30pm – 2:30pm with Mass at 3:00pm, and will then offer a Mass at 6:30pm at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Centerville with Reconciliation to follow.  Fr. Mike will return to the northern part of our Archdiocese on Saturday, September 25 to Immaculate Conception Church in Bradford to offer Reconciliation from 1:30pm – 2:30pm and Mass at 3:00pm in that region.  While these liturgies are being offered predominately for the Deaf Community, hearing people are also welcome to attend the Mass.  There will be an interpreter available for the hearing at these liturgies.  All are welcome!