Volunteers: Connect faith and values with action
We learned that many people based their vote on "moral values" in the last national election. It also appears that they volunteer their time based on moral values, too.
According to a recent national survey of American adults' volunteer habits, Americans volunteer for many reasons. But primarily they volunteer to act on their moral values.
Acting on values. Seventy-five percent of those who volunteer said that acting on their moral values was either an absolutely important or very important factor in why they volunteer. The national survey was conducted by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Not surprisingly, those who attend religious services weekly were most likely to say acting on one's moral values was an important motivation for their volunteer service (80 percent). Most Americans see volunteerism as a means to connect their faith and values with their actions, commented Brad Hewitt, Thrivent Financial senior vice president of volunteer outreach.
Two other positive findings: more Americans volunteered last year than in the year before and many volunteers said they are changed more through their service than those they serve.
Church depends on volunteers. This survey reveals, then, that volunteerism is alive and well as we observe National Volunteer Week (April 17-23). The Catholic Church, of course, depends on volunteers to assist with the vital work of our Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals, agencies, and organizations.
For Catholics, volunteering is not just a nice thing to do. It is really part of our baptismal call to live out our faith in the church and in the world. The Catechism of
the Catholic Church discusses the "vocation of lay people" in detail, emphasizing the important role of the laity in the "front line of Church life." Says the Catechism: "Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it."
While we recognize the absolute need for priests, deacons, consecrated women and men, and professional lay ministers in our church, the laity as volunteers provide many needed services in such areas as education, liturgy, pastoral care, social action, and business/technical support. Lay people also serve on advisory boards and commissions, providing expertise in everything from stewardship and development to strategic planning.
Witness in the world. Besides volunteering within the church, Catholics also put their faith into action in ecumenical and community efforts. As Catholics, we work side by side with people of other faiths in stocking community food pantries; in helping the homeless; in supporting parents and children in need; and in working for justice, dignity, and the right to life for all people in our society.
National Volunteer Week provides an excellent opportunity to thank those who volunteer in our churches and communities. A thank you note, special prayers, flowers, a pat on the back - these are a nice way to show appreciation.
For those who are not yet volunteers, think about how you can use your skills and talents to help others. Call your parish, diocesan offices, or local agencies and find out how you can put your moral values and faith into action.
Mary C. Uhler, editor
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A behind the scenes 'miracle'
To the editor:
I thought this behind the scenes "miracle" would be of interest to your readers. St. Raphael Cathedral was THE most easy church for me personally . . . . it had ALS receivers in some pews and the staff there was always so wonderful in keeping it in working condition. It was a terrible blow to lose that easy access with the fire at the cathedral. Perhaps this story will provide hope and courage to others from St. Raphael and others who do not know of such systems.
We all lost our Mother Church . . . but those who used the assistive listening system (ALS) in the cathedral faced the loss of sacramental participation. When Bishop Morlino chose St. Maria Goretti and Holy Redeemer for the Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday Masses, he was not aware NEITHER of those churches was equipped with an ALS.
When Patrick Gorman, director of the Office of Worship, learned this, he MOVED! First he attempted to install the portable system from the Pastoral Center in St. Maria Goretti, but it was not compatible with their regular PA and so Gorman was only able to post signs on the church doors informing worshippers.
At Holy Redeemer he learned they had installed a system but had never bought receivers. He was successful in obtaining several receivers in time for the Mass on Holy Thursday. I was the very first person to request a receiver . . . but another lady from St. Raphael saw me and she also used one. On Good Friday I again was noticed by another hard of hearing worshipper who also was happy to have a receiver . . . and noticed a gentleman using a receiver.
Great thanks to Gorman for his efforts during what must be a hectic season!
Peggy Rakow, Catholics with Disabilities, Madison
Pope would like commentary
To the editor:
A most telling recognition of the excellence of the guest commentary by Beverly Hartberg, in the April 7 issue of the Catholic Herald, is how vigorously John Paul II would have endorsed its penetrating insight.
Fr. Robert Buholzer, Stoughton
Thanks for editorial on next pope
To the editor:
BRAVO and thank you for your kind editorial on "The Next Pope: He is not elected by opinion polls."
B. Hoeft, Waunakee