ADVENT REFLECTIONS: THE TREASURES OF VATICAN II
“The Church, therefore, urges her [children] to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions. Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, also their social life and culture.” (Decree on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions)
By Betty Amatangelo
As we approach this joyous season, we are all seeking ways to connect to our fellows in meaningful and helpful ways. Perhaps the brightest example of the above decree, which asks us to acknowledge and honor other religions while standing firm in our own, is the ministry of Emmaus Soup Kitchen. Once per month I have the privilege of transporting a group of our students to Emmaus to prepare and serve a meal. While watching the women who lead this ministry, I am honored to be in their midst. They empower college students by delegating tasks to them, greeting their “guests” at the door, distributing not only food but also clothing and sometimes financial assistance. Their actions are rooted in unconditional compassion with no discussion of religious affiliation. The result is a natural flow of humanity. There is no separation, only unity. We all leave with a sense of wholeness and connection.
There are many opportunities to honor the paths of non-Christians and still remain grounded in one’s Catholic faith. We can open our hearts and minds without fear and resignation, for the common good. In Campus Ministry we encourage spiritual/religious dialogue through our programs, hoping to continue the mission of Vatican II. It is my hope that as we trudge (walk with purpose) on our spiritual paths, God fills our hearts with the certainty that we are all children of the Creator and the Creator is greatly pleased.
Betty Amatangelo has been a part of the Mercyhurst family as a student and employee for 17 years. She is currently the secretary for Campus Ministry and yoga instructor/advisor for the flourishing yoga community on campus.