Love Your Neighbour...


The Society of St Vincent de Paul holds its annual Christmas Appeal this weekend, 7-8th December. Please give as generously as you can. The Society is grateful for the continuing support of our parish in its work.

In 2015, in Ireland the St Vincent de Paul Society’s 11,000 volunteer members in over 1,200 local Conferences, assisted by 850 support staff, spent over €77 million responding to calls for assistance in nearly every parish in the country.

Professor John Monaghan, then National Vice-President of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, gave testimony at the International Eucharistic Congress in June 2012. He described the origins of the Society, its work and its mission in Ireland today:
• to offer friendship and support – both financial and emotional
• to help people achieve independence with dignity from both the St Vincent de Paul and the state
• to identify the structural cause of poverty and need in Irish society and to advocate for their elimination.

Below are some extracts from Professor Monaghan’s talk.

Christian Solidarity
It is worth recalling that when Jesus was asked, ‘Master what is the greatest commandment?’ he replied that there are in fact two commandments and they are intertwined. The first is to love God with all your heart and the second is to love our neighbour as ourselves. So these two great intertwined and inseparable commandments indicate that we cannot say we love God if we do not simultaneously love our neighbour in a very tangible way, in other words through showing solidarity. Consequently, in loving God we are all expected to look beyond our own personal needs, spiritual and worldly, and actively reach out to our neighbour, whoever and wherever they might be.

Catholic Social Teaching
Thankfully, the Church has provided us with a clear pathway that guides us as to the attitude and the actions necessary to help us fulfil our dual obligation to love God and love one another. That pathway is clearly signposted by the 10 principles of Catholic Social Teaching:
The dignity of the Human Person – that a human person is never a means, always an end.
Respect for Human Life – that it is always wrong to directly attack innocent human life.
Association – that the organisation of society in economics, politics, law and policy all directly affect human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community.
Participation – that all people have a right and duty to participate in society and especially the poor and vulnerable.
Preferential Protection for the Poor and Vulnerable – that we must protect the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the homeless, the prisoner – those affected by poverty and lack of power – those with no voice.
Solidarity – that we are in fact our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers wherever they live and that ‘Loving our neighbour’ has a global dimension, so we must all work for more just social structures throughout the world.
Stewardship – that we have a moral responsibility for the protection of the environment and the proper use of natural resources.
Subsidiary – that limits must be put on oppressive government and that no higher level of an organisation should perform any function that can be handled efficiently and effectively by persons or groups that are closer to the ground.
Human Equality – that this comes from a person’s essential dignity and while differences in talents are part of God’s plan, cultural and social discrimination in fundamental rights are not.
The Common Good – means the promotion of social conditions that allow every person to reach their full human potential and realise their human dignity. This takes on a global dimension today and so we must always be sensitive to the impact that our actions, lifestyle, politics, economics, etc. can have on our neighbour, irrespective of where they live in the world.


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Today’s Mass Readings
An Advent Family Prayer
Loving God,
as your light grows in the dark of winter,
bring its gifts of hope, peace, joy and love to our world.
Just as you sent the star of Bethlehem to lead the way to your Son,
guide us to follow your ways of justice and peace.
As we remember the journey of Mary and Joseph,
may the Holy Family be a source of courage for our family,
inspiring us to reach out in friendship to all those in need.
Help us to see in the Christ child this Christmas
the one who came to end all divisions.
And may the Lord bless us
and keep us safe today and always. Amen.
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