Good Works

Featured Image: Volunteer helping senior.jpg Pakkin Leung, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

“Involvement in social justice issues was seen generally as an integral part of what it means to be
Catholic, following Jesus’ admonitions to feed the hungry, visit the sick and the prisoner, and provide
comfort and shelter for refugees. Some people wanted the church to make more of the good works that
were done, to counterbalance the negative views of church from recent abuse scandals. Others wanted
pastoral care and visits, especially for the old and lonely. Some spoke warmly of the care they had
received, if only virtually, during the lonely times of Covid. Only a few responses referred to the call
to care for the environment, which might seem somewhat surprising or just that more work needs to
be done to help people to be more aware of Laudato Si and that aspect of the call to holiness. One
person spoke against too much emphasis on good works.

from The Synthesis Report on Hallam Diocese Synodal Journey by the Diocese of Hallam: April 2022
This retreat material uses the diocesan synod report as the basis of a prayer journey. The themes raised in synod meetings by the people of God in the diocese of Hallam were gathered into a synthesis report which Bishop Ralph conveyed to the Bishops  Conference of England and Wales. This was incorporated into the Continental report sent to Rome in 2022. While these are not necessarily his views, Bishop Ralph is fully supportive of the synodal process and encourages the synodal method of Conversations in the Spirit, prayerful reflection and further discernment with these themes.

Opening prayer

If you are using this prayer by yourself at home, then remember that you are not alone. You are a valued member of this group, you are sharing this retreat together. Each person will pray and ponder in their own time and place, but the Spirit is with each and every one and all of you. You are together in God.

A: God, you have gathered all your people in Synod, We give you thanks for the joy experienced by those who decided to set out to listen to God and to their brothers and sisters, with an attitude of welcome, humility and siblinghood. Help us to enter these pages as on “holy ground”.

A: Creator of the world, eternal God,
B: we come together from our own places for a little while.

A: Redeemer of humanity, God with us,
B: we have come with all our differences seeking common respect

A: Spirit of unity, go-between God,
B: we have come with stories of our own to a place where stories meet.

A: So here, in this space, let us take time together. for when your people gather and stories are shared, there is much to celebrate and honour.
B: In your name, three in one God, pattern of community. Amen.

Adapted from “Iona Abbey Worship Book”, 2001. copyright © WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow, Scotland. Reproduced by permission.

Summary of the Diocesan Report

  • Rebuild an understanding that integral to being a Catholic is to follow Catholic teaching on social justice – feed the hungry, care for the sick and the prisoner, provide comfort and shelter for the refugee and care for our common home.
  • More pastoral visits

A. First impressions

  • What I like about this summary is ………
  • What I do not like about this summary is ……..
  • This summary makes me feel ……..


Matthew 25:35: 40

Jesus said, ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me.’         

Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Points to Ponder

  • In Matthew’s Gospel this is the final piece of Jesus’s teaching before his Passion starts. We are meant to sit up and take note.
  • Who is it that enters eternal life?

Reflect, Respond. Share

B. Reflect

  • In this passage Jesus is saying to me …
  • My response to this is …
  • This makes me feel …

C. Respond

  • If I was to review my responses to parts A and B I would say …
  • Something I have discovered is …

D. Share

  • A few days later, read what you have written for C. Is there something that you are comfortable to share with the group? It could be what you have written, or maybe a poem, painting or photo could better express what you want to say.

Closing prayer

A: As we continue in our retreat together, in this day and in our lives
B: May we be grateful for the blessings of this day, today and each day.
B: May we be grateful for the new stories and new ways of thinking we have explored, today and each day.
B: May we be grateful for kind company, heedful to God, heedful to ourselves and heedful to each other, today and each day

A We pray for God’s generosity 
B. In sharing ourselves, our talents and our possessions with those in need
A. We pray for God’s healing
B. On all those who come to us in hurt or distress
A. We pray for God’s blessing
B. On our groups, our societies, all the ways we cooperate to bring about Good Works.
A. We pray for God’s courage
B. In continuing our work when our energies flag
A. We pray for God’s Wisdom
B. As we work together with the structures of our society to bring about the Good News of the Gospel.

A: God from whom all gifts come, who shares our adventure, and delights in our friendship
B: We thank you for your presence with us as we continue in our retreat this day, and each day of our lives. Amen