In a practical five-step process called: See, Judge, Act, Evaluate and Celebrate, parishes can realize Jesus’ gospel mission to serve immediate needs and alter unjust social conditions.
To SEE means that we take notice of the issues that affect people in need. For example, take some time to look closely at the needs at your local hospitals, clinics, prisons, schools, and community centers. Go beyond appearances to determine what justice issues exist in people’s attitudes, customs, values, and laws.
- To JUDGE means that we examine what we have observed through the lens of the Gospel and Catholic social teaching. This is a prayerful step that connects the reality of what we have observed with how Jesus would respond and how our faith encourages us to act.
- To ACT means that we respond to the needs that we have identified. Plan your action. Choose to do something attainable, with a clear objective, and a defined timeline. Tap into any planning and project management skills that parishioners have honed from their professional and personal lives. Share the tasks among the group members according to each one’s gifts and talents.
- After you take action, EVALUATE what happened. How has a need been met? How has an injustice been challenged? What have you learned? What still needs to be done? Based on your evaluation and reflection, don’t be afraid to make changes in your priorities, or your approach to your parish’s evangelizing mission. Whatever is not serving the mission should be changed or discontinued.
- The final step is to CELEBRATE. When we celebrate, we show gratitude to God and all involved for the goals achieved, the challenges overcome, and the time spent in solidarity. A joyful celebration also serves as a witness and an invitation for others, creating an ever-widening circle of commitment to mission.
It is important for parish leaders and members to ask themselves who will realize Jesus’ gospel mission of serving immediate needs and altering underlying conditions, “if not us”? We are all called to be a community of disciples on a mission to go out together with joy to the peripheries of our parish and society with the two feet of love in action—charity and justice—impelled by the Holy Spirit and empowered by the love of our merciful God.