Come to the market place at the cathedral!

I think we could all agree that the world is a bazaar. One could almost say it’s a ‘bizarre’ bazaar – a mélange of people – fat and thin, short and tall, black and white, brown and yellow, healthy and unhealthy, a world of justice and injustice – a world where Christ, two thousand years ago, preached from the hillsides and in the market places – to come and follow him and to learn how to love one another.

In the world of the Church, Social Justice Sunday will be celebrated on 25 September. To me, social justice in the Australian vernacular is all about giving a person a ‘fair go’ and that principle applies to everyone in the human bazaar.

This year, the annual statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops is titled A Place at the Table: Social justice in an ageing society. It will explore growing old, being old, caring for the aged and loving the aged – giving the old a respected place in society – giving them a ‘fair go’ with love and understanding.

Social Justice Sunday will be celebrated locally under the auspices of the diocesan Social Justice Council, with the “Market Place at the Cathedral” event. Representatives of diocesan agencies serving the aged will offer information and answer questions. There will be a lawyer in attendance to answer all those vexing questions about wills, powers of attorney and enduring guardians.  There will also be a psychologist to remind us how to care for the infirm with respect, consideration and love – in the manner of Christ.

The event will be opened at 1.30pm by Bishop Bill Wright in the grounds of Sacred Heart Cathedral and will conclude with his presiding at the 5pm Mass at the cathedral.

As with many Church initiatives, we preach to the converted and the converted come along, but everyone is welcome!  This is for ‘the whole bazaar’! Age affects all of us, sooner or later. So all members of the community are welcome at our table, welcome to utilise our services, welcome to our friendship – just welcome.  

This Market Place at the Cathedral is a beginning, but the Social Justice Council wants to go further into the ‘real’ market place. A kit full of information and ideas will be sent to parishes where markets are held. Amongst our generous volunteering community, parishioners will come forward, go to the markets, set up their table and distribute to the milling crowds the principles of Social Justice with particular emphasis this year on Age. It’s good for people of all ages to recognise the part our aged have played in the formation of the character of this wonderful country as well as their commitment to faith over their long lives.

Shirley McHugh is the Chair of the Diocesan Social Justice Council. Please visit the diocesan website and the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.  

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