A member of The Catholic Messenger’s Editorial Board, weary of the divisiveness in our world and the media’s tendency to dwell on it, asked: can’t we editorialize on the good things that are happening? Point well-taken! As a society, we permit the perception of bad news to overshadow the good news happening in our midst. We overlook the efforts of compassionate, empathetic people of faith striving day in and day out to make the world a better place.
The evangelist Matthew tells us “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matt. 5:16). Let’s give the good news an opportunity to come out from under the bushel basket, and make that a daily practice. Some inspiration, for starters:
• College student Alicia Ordaz, the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, serves the Diocese of Davenport as an intern for its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) program. She assists with various classes and provides translation, among other activities at the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa. A member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, she says the experience has opened her up to other cultures and helped her to put herself in someone else’s shoes. (Read more about her story in this week’s issue).
• Diocesan seminarian Osmin Melendez of St. James Parish in Washington became a U.S. citizen on Valentine’s Day. He took his oath of citizenship at the offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Des Moines. Melendez worked for five years at West Liberty Foods in Mount Pleasant as a machine operator before entering the seminary. While serving in his parish, he said he saw many signs that God was calling him to be a priest or to serve in the priestly life.
• The Franciscan Peace Center and Better Angels, a non-partisan, national organization working to facilitate respectful conversations and search for the common ground, are sponsoring a Red-Blue Workshop on March 16. The workshop, to be held at the Canticle, home of the Clinton Franciscans, seeks 14 individuals, seven each from the two major political parties, to participate. Up to 15 observers will be allowed to attend. Call (563) 242-7611 or visit the website www.ClintonFranciscans.com for more information or to register.
• Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley have launched a “Listen Up” campaign that taps into the talents of area teenagers and adults in a video project that aims “to reconcile the racial divides that exist in our community by giving at-risk youths a voice to express themselves.” Look for the videos on social media and in movie theaters beginning March 8. You can also watch them March 9 at the Humility of Mary Center in Davenport from 2-4 p.m.
• Twenty facilitators led 66 listening sessions with more than 1,600 people participating in Vision 20/20, an ongoing initiative of Bishop Thomas Zinkula to equip Catholics in the Davenport Diocese to become spirit-filled evangelizers who bring renewed energy and joy to the church. Continued enthusiasm for Vision 20/20, with regional conversations getting underway, will make us a better church. Visit the diocesan website (www.davenportdiocese.org) for more information. Ask your parish leaders how you can help move Vision 20/20 forward.
• Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist throughout the Davenport Diocese bring the body of Christ to individuals who are homebound or in the hospital, nursing home or prison. Your parish may need you to serve in this ministry that brings hope to individuals dealing with some of life’s greatest challenges.
These examples represent a sampling of the good news that unfolds each day in the Davenport Diocese but rarely makes the headlines. Editorials on challenging, divisive issues have their place in striving to move dialogue forward. At the same time, we need to celebrate the good news that conveys to the world the Joy of the Gospel.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor