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act together

“A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother,” Pope Francis says, “is a sterile and incomplete prayer.”  Prayer leads to reaching out and learning, which leads to action. At the same time, action flows from prayer and its fruits of love, gratitude, forgiveness, compassion, hope, respect, hospitality and humility.  This page includes ideas for service and relief, community development, advocacy, ethical choices and practices, and preaching. Such faith-inspired actions are part of our efforts for the New Evangelization and God’s work to transform individuals and communities.

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service & relief

We love God by loving our neighbor, as Jesus tells us in the Mt. 25: 31-46. When our brother is hungry we must feed him. When our sister is a stranger, we must welcome her. This section offers resources to help us as we respond to immediate, short term needs through charitable works, service and relief.

Best Practices for Service

Whether planning a one-time service activity or a multi-day immersion experience, these resources can help ensure that service is done in a way that is empowering, faith-inspired, educational, and action-oriented.
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Empower Those You Serve

Do you work with economically vulnerable populations? Use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website's tools and resources to financially empower those you serve--and learn how to report those who exploit vulnerable persons.
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Find a Service Opportunity

Ready to serve? Find a Catholic Charities agency, CCHD-funded organization, or long-term service program looking for volunteers.
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Pray, Learn and Fast for Those in Poverty

CRS Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services' Lenten faith formation program that connects Catholics in the U.S. with those in poverty around the world through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The program benefits CRS' work across the globe and also funds local hunger and poverty alleviation efforts in dioceses throughout the United States.
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community development

As we seek to transform our communities according to God’s vision of love and justice, we know that we cannot do this alone.  Our efforts can be strengthened by joining with others—churches and faith communities, organizations, and others of good will. Working together, we strive to create institutions and structures that protect the life and dignity of all.

Examples of Community Development

How does community development work? What does it look like? On this page, see some real examples of community development in action.
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Join Local Community Development Efforts

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic bishops. CCHD-funded organizations address the root causes of poverty through community and economic development led by poor and low-income persons.  Find out what is happening near you by using the Poverty Map (choose County-Level view, then “All Markers”) to “pin” organizations that receive funding from CCHD.
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Colleges, Universities and Community Development

Catholic students and higher education institutions can join with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to address poverty in their communities. Internships and campus-community collaborations are just two ways this can happen.
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advocacy

As Christ’s disciples, we are all called to raise our voices in the public square, shining the light of our faith and values on public policies that impact those who are poor and vulnerable. This section points to information and tools we need to be informed citizens and active disciples.

Take Action with the U.S. Catholic Bishops

Sign up to participate in action alerts on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are poor and vulnerable.
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Take Action with Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Raise your voice on behalf of our brothers and sisters in poverty around the world. Catholics Confront Global Poverty is a joint initiative of the U.S. Catholic bishops and Catholic Relief Services.
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Visit Your Members of Congress

We are called to share our Catholic values with public policymakers and representatives. Here are some easy ways we can do so.
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Faithful Citizenship

As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to participate in the public square. The U.S. Catholic bishops’ statement on Faithful Citizenship, and a variety of accompanying resources, can help guide us—not only during election season, but all year round!
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More Ways to Advocate

Here are more ways to put faith in action by raising your voice to advocate on behalf of those who are poor and vulnerable.
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ethical choices & practices

As Catholics, we are called not to abandon the world, but to help shape it. In our families, homes, schools, workplaces, and in business and politics, we are called to be instruments of God’s grace. This section can help us live out our vocation to be “leaven” of the Gospel wherever we are.

Ethical Choices for Individuals and Families

As individuals and families, we can be instruments of God’s grace and creative power at home, in our communities, at work, and in the public square.
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Ethical Practices for Leaders and Institutions

These resources can help Catholic business leaders, employers, and leaders of institutions ensure that workplaces are just and that businesses and institutions serve the common good.
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preaching

Week after week, day after day, the lectionary calls the community to reflect on the scriptural message of justice and peace. This section can help us connect the Word of God to the everyday lives of followers of Christ, helping us to witness the Gospel in daily life.

Forming Community: the Sunday Homily

These videos are recordings from a conference that aimed to implement the U.S. bishops’ document on Preaching the Mystery of Faith: the Sunday Homily in seminaries, deacon formation programs, and the ongoing formation of clergy; to provide professional development for teachers of homiletics; and to improve techniques for teaching homiletics.
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Homily Helps from the U.S. Catholic Bishops

These homily helps from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops can assist homilists to incorporate God's concern for those who are poor and vulnerable into the Sunday homily.
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Preaching the Mystery of Faith: the Sunday Homily

These excerpts from "Preaching the Mystery of Faith: the Sunday Homily," a 2012 statement from the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, describe how homilists can help disciples reflect on love of neighbor and the Church’s mission of justice.
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Preaching the Social Doctrine of the Church

These excerpts, including a sample homily help, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s Preaching the Social Doctrine of the Church in the Mass, can help us reflect on the strong connection between Sacred Scripture and the social teaching of the Church.
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Preach Solidarity: CRS Global Fellows

Global Fellows are priests, deacons and seminarians who have experienced the work of Catholic Relief Services in some of the world’s poorest countries. By preaching and sharing personal stories with faith communities in the U.S., they communicate a vision of solidarity and an invitation to help end global poverty. Find out how to become a Global Fellow, or invite a Global Fellow to visit your community.
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evaluation

Evaluation of our efforts and actions should be a regular part of our work and ministry.  By taking the time to evaluate and reflect, we can improve our efforts and ensure that our work flows from our relationship with Christ, which is always undergoing growth and transformation.

Evaluate Your Efforts

Evaluation is essential. It can help us identify where we are doing well and where we need to improve. It also creates a space for us to hear where the Holy Spirit might be guiding us. Here is one process for evaluation after finishing an event or activity.
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Assessment Tool

As disciples of Jesus, we pray together, reach out together, learn together and act together.  How is our faith community doing in each of these areas? This assessment tool can help us identify opportunities for growth.
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