Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
November 8, 1985     Arkansas Catholic
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November 8, 1985

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Page 2 * Faith Today THE Changing Jobs By Joe Michael Feist NC News Service To paraphrase an old adage, nothing is quite so constant as change. No statement could be truer when it comes to the evolving American scene. The nation, for example, is aging rapidly. The me- dian age in 1983 was 30.9, the oldest ever, and is inching higher. More Americans are remaining single and the fertility rate is declining. The Frostbelt has been forsaken for the Sunbelt. A majority of Americans now live in western and southern states. Changes in the birth rate and population shifts cause shifting employment patterns and job realignment. An increase in the number of elderly, for example, means an increased need for nurses and nurses' aides. What does all this have to do with the church? Your diocese? Your parish? Plenty, says Loretta Girzaitis, director of adult educa- tion in the Archdiocese of St. Paul- Minneapolis. An awareness of trends and developments in socie- ty, especially in the world of work, is essential if the church is to minister effectively, she said. In many areas, Ms. Girzaitis said, people "must be prepared for change so it doesn't overcome us through stress." She also thinks that job realign- ment is one area in which parishes and dioceses can make a contribu- tion, if they are knowledgeable. "A parish can set up support pro- grams when a large number of people are unemployed and help them find, or provide, resources so that they can retrain themselves or transfer their skills to another area," she said. The nature of work and the kinds of jobs that will emerge in the future are favorite themes for Ms. Girzaitis, who holds a master's degree in catechetical theology from Manhattan College in New York. "(In the future), I think we'll see that agriculture won't have the same role," she said. "Hydroponics is now coming into its own. We won't need soil or the kind of space we use now to grow things. Younger people corn- . ing up won't be in agriculture as we know it now." Another rapidly expanding development is embodied in the term "worksteader." A worksteader, explained Ms. Gir- zaitis, is one of the 5 million Americans who labor within the confines of their homes. The number is expected to double by 1990. Many worksteaders, she con- tinued, work for a company and communicate with their offices ...... :: through computers. But a large number are the new entrepreneurs, setting up numerous kinds of businesses in basements and spare bedrooms. The advantages: no commuter costs, no child-care costs, work time is flexible. The disadvantages: no benefits, lack of interaction with fellow workers. But whatever the particular job, Ms Girzaitis said, there is a need to see a relationship between one's work and one's faith. "We must see that work is an extension of our creative ability. When God put us here he wanted us to create," she said. "My men- tal attitude determines how I'll act toward work. We should look on work as a gift and a means of gaining satisfaction." How are Christian values brought to one's work? "We do that by giving the best we're able to give. By not cheating on time or quality. By not being so involv- ed in my own work that I fail to see the needs of others," said Ms. Girzaitis. She added that people "must realize that we cannot become slaves to our work" that we cannot so identify with work that we don't have an identity outside work. High tech or low tech, now or in the future, it's attitudes and values that count, noted Ms. Girszaitis. (Feist is associate editor of Faith Today.) God...What a By Father John Castelot NC News Service After Jesus healed the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, he was pounced on for working on the sabbath. But he said: "My Father is at work until now, and I am at work as well" (John 5:17). In the book of Genesis, God had rested on the seventh day of creation. Refraining from work on the sabbath was based on this. Even so, the rabbis conceded that God's work was never done. People were born on the sabbath and died on the sabbath, and God was intimately involved in both processes. Only he could give life and only he could judge those whose life was over. God was, and is, eternally active. It is significant that the first page of the Bible shows God at work. By creating, God expresses not only his power, but creative love. It is in this context that one reads: "God created man in his image; and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). Men and women are made in the image of a God who works. Through the work they do, peo- ple carry out God's intention and find fulfillment, happiness and wholeness. When people find no oppor- tunity to Contribute through work, through service of some kind, they are prevented from be- ing as fully human as they might be, images of a creative God. The result can be dehumanizing. There is a well-known story Jesus told about the owner of an estate who was looking for workers at harvest time. On his last trip to tlae marketplace, It found jobless men standing around, still hoping for a few hours' work. "To these he said, 'Why you been standing here day?' 'No one has hired us,' told him. He said, 'You go vineyard too'" (Matthew The story is a parable God's reign -- a reign whiCt tails the active working out God's plan for humanity. This helps to explain why that when the U.S. Catholic bishops express concern unemployment, they are about something beyond justice as such. They are upon furthering the reign As long as people reduced to idleness that is dehumanizing, the reign of  thwarted. The Creator's