Church Twinning Fulfills Our Call To Be The Church for the Poor
The St. Matthew-GIFT Smart Farming project is an important initiative for Christians and the Church, as it fulfills Social Justice regarding supporting the poor; Corporal Works Of Mercy in feeding those who are hungry; and Pope Francis’ messages on alleviating suffering as "The Church for the Poor."
This initiative is an extension of St. Matthew's long commitment to Haiti twinning and its commitment to the Norwich Diocese Outreach to Haiti initiatives. St. Matthew and the Norwich Diocese bring considerable insights regarding the needs of the Haiti community and a long history of working to address these needs. The church can also attest to the rewards of giving to those in need through parish twinning.
This initiative and instructional support portal have been purposely developed in a manner which can be replicated for use by multiple churches and ministry groups in their twinning, social justice, solidarity and family-faith-formation efforts.
Equally as important, this portal is designed to educate Christians on the severe need for smart household farming and the particularly efficacious value there is in focusing on advancing best practices in sweet potato farming.
Ideally, this initiative will also create a greater sense of solidarity through the close interaction between God's children that's enabled by this twinning technology. Ideally, families join together in something that's both fun and necessary. Ideally, we'll appreciate all the more that we're all part of the family of God. Such that we'll grow in our care for our brothers and sisters. Ideally, this initiative will convince us that we should not tolerate indifference to suffering, and that perhaps we have more capacity to address suffering than we've realized.
Moreover, the portal is designed as an instructional resource to support people and churches in their want to make a difference through sweet potato farming, with capacity-building instruction. -- written and video.
The portal can enable "chats" between St. Matthew parishioners and other parishes interested in beginning a sweet potato twinning effort as well as "chats" between domestic church communities and their global parish twinning communities.
This initiative and the smart technology can also be a model for the youth and young adults globally regarding the innovativeness of God's children; and this can serve as a test bed for youth to become familiar with leading-edge technology and sustainable agriculture for their own long-term job pursuits and economic viability.
Importantly, based on the admonition in the USCCB Document on the Laity, which states “All of the baptized are called to work toward the transformation of the world… All of the faithful are called in various ways to share in the Church’s mission of announcing the reign of God and transforming the world in the light of Christ," GIFT is engaging in this twinning effort to support the Church's mission and to equip Christians to fulfill their calling. http://www.usccb.org/upload/co-workers-vineyard-lay-ecclesial-ministry-2005.pdf (pgs. 8; 20)
Again, far more than just providing a resource, this portal seeks to encourage, inspire and support participation through teachings of the Catholic Church and the Pope Francis. Consider:
In his encyclical on caring for creation, The Holy Father admonishes us to concern ourselves with serious issues confronting our planet and all its people, "...more zeal is shown in protecting other species than in defending the dignity which all human beings share in equal measure. Certainly, we should be concerned lest other living beings be treated irresponsibly. But we should be particularly indignant at the enormous inequalities in our midst.... We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions… we are all too slow in developing economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources.
In his General Audience, June 3, 2015, Pope Francis emphasized again our need to support the poor, expressing concern for those who live in poverty, "...how much misery, how much degradation." He explained that in the worst conditions, there are many poor people who persevere with dignity, entrusting themselves to the goodness of God. But he warned this fact should never be used to justify our indifference, rather it must increase our shame that so much poverty exists.
The Church, as a mother – he said - can never be blind to the sufferings of her children. He said that she too must be poor so as to become fruitful and to be able to respond to so much misery.
(By the way, as the poor entrust themselves to God's goodness, all of us Christians must realize that we're God's body here on earth, the only resource that can provide fulfillment for those who are entrusting themselves to the goodness of God.)