CCG Leaders Hold Summit to Set Marriage Advocacy Plans

SAN FRANCISCO, February 10, 2011 -- Catholics for the Common Good leaders from all over California met at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on January 23 to plan strategy and action for expanding the Stand with Children project during 2011. "We need to develop a sense of urgency because marriage is being attacked on every front—in legislatures, in the courts, in the classrooms, in the media, and in corporate board rooms," said CCG Chairman William B. May.

"Many have been waiting for action—now is the time," May said. "We are building on the strong foundation that the trainings provided from last year, and we are moving into more of a parish based program. Working with you, we are building a statewide network for action."

May stressed the need for a shared vision and to "surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit. We are not a political movement. We are embarking on a mission that is inextricably tied to the mission of the Church. This is a role that has been particularly set aside for the laity—a mission to restore the original value of God’s creation to civil society—not as an imposition of faith, but by the use of reason purified by faith."

"When people ask if there is any hope that we can change the culture on marriage and family, I point to the Solidarity movement in Poland that toppled Communism. In 1981, Venerable John Paul the Great said to them, 'Solidarity was not against something or somebody, but for something. . . . Let your work serve human dignity, let it elevate man, let it elevate families, let it elevate the whole people.'"

May reminded participants that what makes CCG unique is that it is not against anything or anyone. The focus is on promoting the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society—a good for the human person and all of human kind. "We must always be in solidarity with the victims and become love, even to our detractors," May said. "Who are the victims? The increasing number of children who are deprived of married mothers and fathers, and young people who are being taught distorted views of love, marriage, and human sexuality that affect choices they make in life. These human tragedies are touching nearly every family."

San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer opened the Summit reflecting on the reality of the human person. The group was reminded about his admonition that in approaching the work of evangelization of culture, “We are not on our personal crusade. We are walking with Christ and in Christ. Doing it on our own is a sure sign that Jesus is no longer working through us.”

Participants worked in breakout sessions by region to plan the establishment of Faith and Action Circles in parishes. The circles are designed to help members develop a deeper but practical understanding of the reality of love, marriage, family, and human sexuality so they can communicate in a secular language that  people can understand. It prepares members to start this work with their  families and friends. These circles will also help end the isolation so many people are feeling in fighting the influences of the culture.

A new Network for Action Committee was established to work on organizational structure for linking people from the Faith and Action Circles under local leadership.

Plans were also announced for small regional conferences where member will be able to hear educational and spiritual speakers, partcipate in workshops, and network with other local participants.

Many agreed a high point for the summit was the "sending forth" at the end of a busy and productive day. As an expression of communion with each other in Christ and unity of mission, all participants formed a large circle and, while placing their left hands on the shoulders of the persons next to them, recited the "sending forth" prayer—the Prayer for the Evangelization of Culture:

O Holy Spirit, our Advocate and guide,
help us open doors to Christ's saving power,
which alone is the source of hope for humanity
and the renewal of society.

Fill us with courage to respond boldly
to the call of John Paul to evangelize the culture.

Enable us by Your grace to live our faith in the public square,
so that we may promote a civilization of love and a culture of life, and
may secure justice for every human person at every stage and condition of life.

We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Venerable John Paul the Great. Amen

This seemed to be the beginning of a new CCG tradition for the conclusion of all meetings.

CCG leaders returned to their regions, parishes, and families rejuvenated and with new tools to institute Faith and Action circles and promote the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society. The first circles have been started with strong postivie feedback from participants. Contacts about the program with bishops, and with parishes and deaneries  has also begun.

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