Playing with blocks

Dear Parishioners,

If you had breakfast at Sacred Heart University last Sunday, you learned how to play with blocks….The occasion was the Annual Communion Breakfast for Educators hosted by the Fairfield County chapter of the CAPP (Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice) a world-wide pontifical organization which aims to empower business, professional, and academic leaders to implement Catholic Social Teachings. Honored at the breakfast was our own parishioner, Donna Spigarolo. Many of you know Donna as a Special Education teacher for the Fairfield School System (since 1988)….or maybe as a Director of Religious Education (St Thomas Aquinas, Fairfield and St Rose, Newtown)….or through Habitat for Humanity in Bridgeport (a past President of the Board of Directors as well as many years of hammering nails and painting woodwork)….or the Merton House…..or Catholic Family Services……or from her involvement right here at St A’s in RCIA and Bible Study and Eucharistic Minister workshops. Donna is very much a “doer,” someone who is never hesitant to roll up her sleeves and jump into something. She has been gifted with many talents and shares them generously, which is why I am delighted that the CAPP recognized her contributions this year with their award.

Featured as the keynote speaker at the breakfast was Dr. Michael James from Boston College. He’s the guy with the blocks, foam blocks, printed on each side with a different directive to love: Love one another; Love the other as your-self; Love your enemy; Be the first to love; etc. Each directive corresponds to a principle of Catholic Social Teaching: Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community and Participation; Solidarity; Rights and Responsibilities; etc. These blocks are a tool for educators to use with young children, helping them learn the basics of building a just society and living lives of holiness in a language and at a level they can understand

Nice, but I’m thinking that we adults can use these blocks as well. Although entire libraries of books have been written on the development of the thought and theory of Catholic Social Teaching, getting “back to the basics” is ultimately what will make a difference. Employing attributes like Respect, Inclusion, Empathy, Courage, and Reciprocity does not rely on the brain so much as the heart. A parish that is aware of the needs within itself as well as those of the immediate and global community in which it exists, a parish that is respectful of its member’s opinions and lifestyles, a parish that is inclusive and open, a parish that takes the initiative to help, a parish that views difficulties as opportunities, is a parish that is “doing” Catholic Social Teaching.

With God’s grace, may we become such a parish…. …….and with such excellent teachers among us like Donna, we are well on our way!