Is it heart breaking or maddening? There are over 2
million Catholics in Greater Boston (myself included), but apparently that wasn’t enough
to prevent the cancellation of the 2007 Archdiocesan Social Justice Conference due to low registration.
Compare that to the sale of St. Joseph statues to
help sell homes. Ask any Catholic bookstore in Greater Boston or beyond, and they’ll tell you the same thing: they sell out quickly! One national web site, www.stjosephstatue.com, has reportedly sold more than 500,000 statues up from 6,000 seven years ago.
Instead of burying St. Joseph statues upside down, why not use his
feast day on May 1st to invite thinking Catholics (and others) to
reinvent this misguided superstition by creating a more meaningful and
appropriate spiritual practice to honor the Patron Saint of Social Justice?
That’s what the interactive art project shown in the video above tried
to do last year at the 2006 Social Justice Conference in Boston. The
tool chest contained 40 empty S.O.S. bottles, one for every million
people currently infected with HIV-AIDS, and participants were invited
to put a St. Joseph medal into each S.O.S. with a message of their own.
year, our interactive art project morphed into an online interactive
map, which enables you to share your prayers and local devotions to St.
Joseph online at St. Joe 2.0: Geography of Faith. Imagine what would happen if 3.5 million Catholics in eastern Massachusetts honored St. Joseph by donating a fraction of the profit on their home sale or commission rebate check to provide shelter for AIDS orphans.
If other cities around the nation (or globe) imitated Boston, much like they’ve adopted our celebration of "First Night, believers and non-believers could raise millions — maybe even billions — annually, and donate more money annually to support AIDS orphans than the Gates Foundation or FXB.org, founded by the countess who has adopted the world’s AIDS orphans as her cause.
We’d be glad to introduce any church group, organization, or individual homebuyer and seller to the proposed campaign, called ASAP: AIDS Shelter Alliance Partners, through a webinar or a local seminar. In the meantime, sample ASAP Pledge forms are online to help inspire your own local social justice initiatives.