For the remainder of this year, the theme for the Newman Volunteer Corps is “Saved by Hope,” based on, “Spe Salvi.” Our parish is continuing to explore Catholic Social Teaching, going back in time through papal encyclicals related to social justice.
“Spe Salvi,” the second most recent encyclical written by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 explains, “Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope…The present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads toward a goal…[and] if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey…To come to know God—the true God—means to receive hope.” Jesus calls us to be hope to the hopeless—to bring light to those in darkness and to be Christ to one another, so that those we come in contact can have the experience of the true God through our service and love.
This semester, we are working toward overcoming the injustice of seemingly hopeless situations, focusing on modern-day slavery. On the Day of Service, we will hear learn about the hopelessness people experience being caught up in the cycle of poverty. We also will look at pro-life issues, including the perception of hopelessness many women have, due an unwanted pregnancy, driving them to seek abortions, and the hopelessness of living on death row. We strive to bring hope by working to eliminate injustices of poverty, human trafficking, abortion, and the death penalty.
For March, our main efforts are focused on human trafficking, raising money to bring hope to the survivors—through the light of education.
The Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia explains, “The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a multibillion dollar industry, forcing over 2 million children worldwide into the sex trade each year…In Thailand, approximately 800,000 children are forced into the sex trade,” some as young as four.
Although we are 8,635 miles away from these children who are experiencing a very dire situation, human trafficking happens here in Columbia. Our parish can do something to help the situation of the victims of human trafficking in Columbia though education, and in Thailand, through fundraising. Through our Dinner Theater, we hope to raise money to fund parishioner Chelsea Laun’s project to build a library for the young women of COSA, to bring the hope of a better future and an escape from enslavement.