Discussions are structured in a simple format based on Scripture and Catholic Social Teachings, reflection questions and dialogue, actions and sharing experiences, and beginning and ending with prayer. Each session is approximately one and one-half hour.
The Discussion Group Sessions address:
1. Catholic Social Teaching: Principles for Equity
This session outlines the Church's social mission and its inherent "engagement with the world." Through our personal conversion to Christ, we enter a new life where there is no separation between faith and works, but a living communion with all. In addition to reflection questions, there is a group exercise to clarify responses for meeting immediate needs and addressing unjust policies.
2. Conversion and Communion
Conversion leads to a new life in which there is no separation between faith and works. As the U. S. Catholic Bishops noted “Fidelity to the Gospel means engagement with the world.” A video presentation depicts the development of the Baltimore region, the evolution of boundaries, and how it affects us today.
3. Solidarity with Our Neighbors
Solidarity is expressed in Christian love that seeks what is best for all, especially the oppressed who cannot speak for themselves. This leads us to share the blessings we have with others - both spiritual and material blessings, for the common good. What does this mean to us and to our community? How can we achieve this?
4. The Poor, Vulnerable, and Disenfranchised
Who are the poor and vulnerable? This session informs us about the complexities of poverty, imbalance of resources, and the effect on the social and economic health of our region.
5. Discrimination and Racism
Racism affects the dignity of all human beings. Its influence is still exerts a powerful influence on the socio-economic issues of our region, especially through economic segregation. How can we confront and overcome this?
6. Tolerance is not Enough: Strategies to Achieve the Common Good
Tolerance alone cannot solve the complex problems and provide fair opportunities for all. We must actively address work for the best interests of all, eliminating isolation of the poor. Affordable housing, in thriving, mixed income neighborhoods that provide opportunities for good education, safety, work, and all facets of our lives is a top priority.
7. Issues and Solutions: Collaborating on an Approach
What is expected of us as disciples? Statistics underscore the disparity in our communities and the complex, interrelated and increasing challenges that affect all of us whether we live in a comfortable neighborhood or struggle in a difficult environment. As the Bishops state: “We must come together across economic, ideological, and ethnic lines to work for a more just society and economy offering justice and opportunity.”
8. Taking Action: Working Together for Equity
Collaborative dialogue from these discussions offers new insights into the causes of inequities and provides a good start to undertake action. In developing advocacy for affordable housing, a top priority for Beyond the Boundaries, we work to raise awareness of the issues, reaching out to develop relationships with stakeholders, policymakers, and others on this shared interest to positively influence decisions. Community planning is often the quickest way to effectively promote inclusive housing policies.