Eagan Parish Explores Catholic Social Teaching

It’s an ambitious but accessible series for anyone who wants to understand the main social teachings of the Catholic Church – and act on them.

St. John Neumann in Eagan has lined up seven speakers from October 25 to May 16 who will address topics such as the life and dignity of the human person, rights and responsibilities to the poor and vulnerable, the call to family and community, and caring for God’s creation.

Each evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. An in-church conference, question-and-answer and small-group discussions will shape each gathering, said Mirla Conlon, coordinator of the parish’s justice and charity committee, which hosts the effort. .

St. John Neumann parishioners have long been socially conscious and active, such as helping stock local food shelves, serving meals to the homeless and providing Christmas gifts to those in need, Conlon said. . It is fruitful to continue to keep Christ-based service to others, she said.

“It’s always good to remember the true source of social justice,” she said. “Come and revisit the source of these actions, which is Christ and the teachings of the Church.”

Jeanne Buckeye

Pastor Father Tony O’Neill said he hopes people from the parish and beyond will attend. He had the idea and a team of people from the parish are helping to bring it to life.

“I hope it will bear fruit with this true association with the poor, this human dignity, which is trampled on in this culture, in this society,” Fr. O’Neill said.

Jeanne Buckeye, retired associate professor of business and ethics at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, will discuss the dignity of labor and workers’ rights in her January 17 presentation.

“Relatively few Catholics know the whole of Catholic social teaching, its beauty, its depth, its integration and its richness,” she said. Work, for example, is a gift from God that helps people participate in creation and grow as human beings, Buckeye said. Work plays an important role in building families and communities. It’s a right and a responsibility, she says.

Michael Naughton

Michael Naughton

Michael Naughton, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at UST, will kick off the series with an overview of the Catholic social tradition. A challenge in transmitting the social teaching of the Church is that discussions can become ideological, left-wing or right-wing, he said.

“There is a theological foundation that connects us to the deeper messages of what the teachings of the Church are,” he said. “It is expressed in the course of the Gospels and in the 2000 years of tradition of the Church. … The teachings are the authoritative messages of popes, bishops and (Church) councils,” he said.

To close this year’s talks, on May 16, Arthur Hippler, chair of the religion department at Providence Academy in Plymouth, will discuss “Caring for God’s Creation.”

“That teaching element is important,” Hippler said of learning and doing. “It is important to understand why we act. To understand the larger vision of the Church and why it is here. We have a particular motivation that must be grasped.

Arthur Hippler

Arthur Hippler

“We are not just bringing people a better society or a better world,” he said. “We bring people to Jesus Christ. We always want to be a community of love, to love as perfectly as possible. It colors everything else that happens.

Father O’Neill said this year’s talks could lead to two more years of reflection on social teaching: the development of Catholic social thought, then the importance of social action.

“I’m very excited about this,” Father O’Neill said. “I am invested as a priest in the teachings of the Church. Hope this is enlightening for people. We will leave the fruit to the Lord and let him do his work.

To learn more about the series, dates and speakers, visit sjn.org/catholic-social-teaching.

Key words: Arthur Hippler, Eagan, Father Tony O’Neill, Jeanne Buckeye, Michael Naughton, Mirla Conlon, Providence Academy, St. John Neumann

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