NEWS: Pax Christi Texas hosts “We Grow Together: Pax Christi USA and Catholic Communities of Color” workshop

PC Texas leader David Atwood; workshop presenter Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN; and workshop participant Jerry Maynard at the We Grow Together workshop in Houston.

by Jerry Maynard, We Grow Together participant

Prior to attending the workshop, I spent some time in prayer and personal reflection on what Spirit was doing in regards to this workshop, as well as, to see if the Lord had a “now” word for those attending the workshop. In my prayer, I had a deep sense that the Holy Spirit was calling, not only Pax Christi USA, but all of the Catholic Church (especially laity involved in leadership) to reground ourselves in the Gospel truth and to humble ourselves before God who has brought us a far way in the last 50+ years. We must realize as we engage the current issues of our day that we must begin to allow God’s grace to form us in understanding of how God is revealing God’s self to us.

At the beginning of the workshop, we opened with prayer and two songs. One of the songs that I believe really signifies a very relevant truth was “We’ve Come This Far by Faith”. The chorus to this hymn states the truth: we really have come this far by faith. However, this faith has not been a mere faith of passivity but a deeply determined faith of action! As we look back at the many faithful who were involved in the struggle for racial justice, civil rights, and the anti-war movement, we can definitely see the hand of God guiding the activists/peacemakers who keep taking a step forward even when they only had enough light for that one step. This is the faith that must be the fuel which fans the flame of the Spirit today.

As I sat in the workshop attentively listening to each word the presenters said, watching each slide from the different PowerPoint presentations, I really had a sense that God was planning something big for Pax Christi USA and for the universal church. A shift is occurring and we need to move with it. Just like what happened on Pentecost, when the Spirit overshadowed the early Church, they were sent out in the power and anointing of the Spirit to preach the Gospel of Christ. Let us do the same brothers and sisters! As we gather for these workshops, discuss the issues of our day, and commit ourselves to the dynamic lifestyle of nonviolence/peacemaking, let us be open to the power of the Spirit and shift with the wind which blows towards justice.

Thank God that many people are starting to take seriously the social teachings of our Church and are no longer seeing these teachings as just a mere “ideology” or a “leftist agenda”, but as a very important aspect of our Catholic faith. We cannot be “authentic” Catholics without living out our social teachings. So, as I walk away from this workshop, I have a renewed sense of hope, a fresh fire for living the call of the Gospel, and a sincere belief that God is faithful, even if the world does not always reflect that faithfulness.