Eucharist and The Workers. By CAJETAN PETER D'SOUZA

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The churches contribution to workers goes way behind the year 1891, when Pope Leo XIII released the first encyclical of the Catholic Church, Rerum Novarum, when he made us aware of the rights and dignity of labour. Rerum Novarum focused on the workers contribution to the Catholic Church. Thus the Eucharist played a vital role in empowering the workers. The founder of the Christian Workers Movement, - a Catholic based Workers Apostolate, Joseph Cardinal Cardijn said, Without work, there is no host, no wine& thus work and workers contribute to make the Eucharist meaningful and becomes a sign of empowerment to all workers.
The Eucharist is a combination of human dignity & labour. It enhances workers to build a new world through their efforts and contributions. The sweat, blood, tears and toils if workers when brought to the altar of God becomes holistic and attributes in building Gods kingdom at our places of work. Thus our places of work become a place where God helps us to bring out ourselves as his apostles and challenge situations that threaten humanity. The Eucharist helps to challenge ourselves to stand for truth & righteousness; justice & peace; for understanding & injustice. The Eucharist takes workers through the journey of Calvary where Christ was first condemned to death and as the journey continues, Christs encounter with various people the good & the bad; the Tax Collectors and the Pharisees; we find that many of us are all wrapped up in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The first Eucharist that was celebrated on Maundy Thursday, still today live through the sweat, tears, toil and bread of the worker, empowering the workers. It is encouraging to see many workers have taken refuge in Christ & the Eucharist when they are struck with unpleasant movement of their lives and this empowerment helps workers stand upright during those times when they have to face hardships in their lives.
The Eucharist empowers and encourages workers to be considerate towards those workers who are suffering for the sake of other workers and participate in their mission of building a Just & sustainable world for workers. The Eucharist in a very special way encounters the sufferings of workers as Jesus Christ is broken as His Body in the form of host & Cup of wine drunk in the form of his blood.
The empowerment of workers begins at the Eucharist and this Eucharist is later taken to workers of all faith when we consolidate with their joys & sorrows, their hopes & struggles. When we help our fellow workers gain dignity, we bring empowerment of the Eucharist in that worker. This work later transforms into a wonderful ministry through the empowerment and then into a meaningful Apostolate that goes to empower workers in the light of the Holy Gospel, with human and gospel values.
The Eucharist also invites Catholics to participate in the mission of Jesus Christ of building Gods kingdom at their places of work, Church & society. It empowers workers to be Christs apostles and transform their lives and their work. The Eucharist empowers workers to stand for Christ and the greater glory of God. Hence Catholic workers must fulfill their vocation as workers and enroll themselves as members of the Christian Workers Movement the Church amongst workers and participate in Christs mission of building Gods kingdom at their places of work.
Christian Workers Movement has invited all Catholic workers, professionals, business people, housewives and other Catholics including the retired and those taken VRS/CRS from all parishes to enroll themselves as members. Founded by Joseph Cardinal Cardijn in 1957, this Movement is affiliated to Christian Workers Movement-India and is recognized by the Archdiocese of Bombay & the Catholic Bishops Conference of India Commission for Labour, Christian Workers Movement organizes and conducts seminars, training programmes and projects on workers causes and other social issues. Seven members are required to start a parish section. For a free membership brochure write to Christian Workers Movement.

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