Catholic Witnesses in the Public Square (CWPS) is a parish group program designed to reawaken and strengthen your Christian voice in our secular world, promoting and defending the Church’s participation in the public debate about the issues that are determining the future of our society.
Each available volume of Catholic Witnesses in the Public Square is based on four pillars (prayer, education, fellowship, and action) and features six to seven individual sessions packed with powerful information from Church leaders, professional speakers, and laity just like you. Each session’s packet includes the following materials:
• 15 min HD video • Leadership guide • Participant’s guide • Prayer & reflection • Promotional tools
Starting a CWPS small group is simple, and for a limited time all materials are our gift to you free of charge. By signing up, you’ll also be notified as future volumes and sessions are released.Get Started
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What image comes to your mind when you think of four pillars? Four pillars in a row along the front of a building? Four pillars in a square supporting a roof? When you think of the four pillars of CWPS, we ask you to picture an architectural anomaly. Imagine one big, sturdy pillar with three pillars on top of it. The large, foundational pillar is the prayer pillar. It is the pillar on which the other three pillars are built. Without the prayer pillar, the others fall to the ground.
Prayer is the foundation of CWPS because through prayer we come into contact with God. Prayer helps us to live in God and to let God live in us. The daily encounter with God in prayer overflows our lives, making us His effective witnesses. The over-arching theme of the prayer pillar can be summed up in Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John: “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt with all your heart that you knew the truth, but were unable to defend the truth properly? For example, you may have heard the question, Why should religious liberty trump a person’s right to sexual expression? Do you think to yourself, I know there is a good reason, but I can’t quite explain it? This can happen with a number of important issues. We live in a culture in which people question the truths that formerly were considered absolute. If we want to be effective witnesses of God’s truth, most of us need to do a bit of research. The education pillar will help you with that research. CWPS videos and discussion guides are a great starting point to learn more about Catholic teaching on pertinent issues in society today.
“For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). This simple statement from the Word of God reminds us of a truth we can also learn through experience: love means action! If your friend or your spouse says, “I love you,” but never actually expresses love in action, you may begin to doubt the professions of love. The same is true in our life of faith. An encounter with the God of truth and love should urge us to share His saving message with others.
When you think of an action pillar, perhaps you worry about adding one more thing to your already-busy schedule. And yes, at times God may ask you to re-order your priorities to make room for some particular work of His. But other times, action for God doesn’t require adding an extra activity, but merely changing the way in which we do the things we already do. For example, you might pray in the car rather than listen to music; or share what you have learned in the education pillar with a friend while you sit at your child’s sports practice; or vote for candidates who will defend the non-negotiable principles. The action pillar is the fruit of the other pillars. If you are faithful to the other pillars, especially the prayer pillar, you will know what action to take!
For action items you can try, check out Living Our Faith.
Have you ever felt alone as a Christian in an overwhelmingly secular world? Perhaps you have even thought to yourself, I wish I could take my family to a quiet island to get away from this crazy world! The reality, however, is that God does not call most of us to live on a quiet island. He calls us to live in the world, but not to be of the world. This is a difficult task, especially if we feel alone. The book of Ecclesiastes gives us some advice: “Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The bonds of Christian fellowship can strengthen us to be God’s witnesses in the midst of adversity.
In addition to the strength we find in the fellowship pillar, our unity itself becomes a witness of God’s love. Jesus prayed to the Father, “that they may all be one…that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:21). Unity among Christians is itself a sign of God’s presence.
The CWPS fellowship pillar offers group members strength through friendship and also offers the world a sign of God’s love.
What do we call a person who says one thing and then does the opposite? At best, a weak individual; at worst, a hypocritical liar. Surely, we do not want to fall into either of these categories or anything in between them. As Catholic Witnesses, our goal is to live a life of integrity, meaning that we want to live in accord with our beliefs. And unless you happen to be a hermit, living out your beliefs means living them out both in private and in public.
For the purposes of Catholic Witnesses, we understand the “public square” to be any place outside the privacy of your home. When you think of living out your beliefs in the public square, perhaps you think of marching in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. or contacting your legislators in support of marriage. Although these are important examples, we also want to call to mind the ways in which we canlive our faith in the public square every day. Here are some examples: make the sign of the cross and pray before your meal at a restaurant; give food and a warm smile to a beggar; do not enter into the gossip of your workplace; defend the right to life of the unborn to a co-worker over your lunch break; let the joy of Christ radiate to all you meet; etc. Every time you leave your home, you have the opportunity to be Christ’s witness in the public square. Don’t miss the opportunity!