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Catholic Social Teaching: A Lived, Reflective Experience of the Guiding Principles

Catholic Social Services Victoria recently hosted a day of reflection and engagement with the key principles of Catholic Social Teaching in the light of Laudato Si by Pope Francis. Eighteen participants from as far as Brisbane, Bairnsdale, Warrnambool and Wangaratta joined Melbourne colleagues at St. Joseph’s By The Sea, Williamstown on Tuesday 27 November for this final Catholic Social Teaching workshop for 2017.
This was the second Train The Trainer workshop for this year at the Sisters of St Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Williamstown – the first workshop in July was held at Edmund Rice Centre, Lower Plenty. The Williamstown workshop was again facilitated by Peter Hay of Edmund Rice Formation Ministries, Sr Bernadette Keating (Presentation Sisters) and Peter Hudson of CSSV.
The first session of the day was a gentle walk and contemplation along the Williamstown coastline as Peter Hay explored the interconnectedness of all creation in the light of such guiding principles as the dignity of all creation, integral ecology and subsidiarity. Participants were invited to sense and feel the presence of the mystical in nature all around them. The remainder of the day was spent at the centre in further reflection and dialogue applying the various guiding principles to the lived experience and concerns of the participants.
One strong purpose of the day was to model processes and activities that could be adapted by participants back in their own workplace settings. Another highlight was the choice of three creative personal activities during the afternoon to help participants ground and honour their insights from the day.
Participants feedback acknowledged the worth of the variety of experiences offered: "this experience can easily be adapted to suit my own context"; "a great balance of listening, reflecting, sharing, discussion"; "lots of ideas to take back"; "very supportive and personal experience for my work, also much learning in offering opportunities for others in reflective way."
Many thanks to all for the spirit and openness of the day together and a special thanks to the Sisters for their warm hospitality and rich sharing during the day.
Photography by Fiona Basile

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