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PSM: Study Session Handout Week 1

PSM: Study Session Handout Week 1

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Study Session Handout Week 1
Study Session Handout Week 1

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Published by: Catholic Charities USA on Nov 20, 2012
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06/04/2013

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Study Session: Week #1

To be distributed prior to or at beginning of the first session

You are the servant of the poor... They are your masters, and the more difficult they will be, the unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give them. St. Vincent de Paul 1581-1660

Reflection

Think and Act Anew: Handout
The beatitudes are among the most well known verses in Scripture, and the Church has captured them in the corporal works of mercy and Catholic social teaching. But when we reflect on ‘the poor’ as identified in the beatitudes, do we think about poverty in America? The US government reports that about 40 million Americans are officially poor. However, official measures of poverty often are misleading. The probability is that many more people are living with insecurity about where their next meal will come from, how they can afford to heat their home, or pay the rent. In the first week of the study group we will explore the concept of poverty in America, and try to determine who is poor, and what are the underlying causes of poverty.

Reading Assignment for Week #1

• Pages 7-42 from Think and Act Anew: How Poverty Affects Us All and What We Can Do about It by Fr. Larry Snyder.

Sixty-Six Canal Center Plaza Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-1390

Consider the following questions while reading the assignment.
1. How do we define poverty? What does poverty look like in a poor country? What does poverty look like in the United States? 2. Who are the poor in America? Where do they live? What do they look like? What do they do? 3. How do we determine if someone is indeed poor in America? (Refer to the five factors on p. 42) Are there any factors you would add? 4. A person who works at a fast food restaurant makes an average of $8.60 per hour, or $17,888 yearly. This falls more than $4,000 below the official poverty line, which is $22,050 for a family of four. How would a family of four live on less than $18,000/year in your community? 5. What are the root causes of poverty in America? Consider the following: unemployment, illness/mental illness, low wages/high cost of living, single parenthood, family has been poor for generations, age. Are there others? 6. Given the many causes of poverty, it is likely that many of the working poor become invisible. Are they more or less likely to receive help? 7. Have you or anyone close to you ever experienced poverty? To the extent that you are comfortable, share how Fr. Snyder’s comments resonated with that experience

Additional Resources
• Text of Caritas in Veritate (on the Vatican website): www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/ hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html • Overview of Catholic Social Teaching: www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/ NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=297

Sixty-Six Canal Center Plaza Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-1390

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