Presenter encourages Catholic Division staff to help heal a divided world

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Vallimar Jansen, a contemporary Christian musician, lecturer, and college professor from Los Angeles, addressed the staff of the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division at the division’s Faith Day opening conference Aug. 29 at the Heritage Inn.

A Christian presenter encourages Moose Jaw Catholic Division employees to better integrate the Church’s social teachings into their lives to help them heal a divided world.

Vallimar Jansen, a contemporary Christian musician, lecturer, and college professor from Los Angeles, addressed the staff of the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division at the division’s Faith Day opening conference Aug. 29 at the Heritage Inn.

The title of his presentation was “Walking Together in the Light of Christ,” which focused on the seven social teachings, rights and responsibilities of the Catholic Church, and walking with other Christians and non-Christians.

The Seven Social Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are:

  • Respect the human person
  • Promote the family
  • Protect property rights
  • Work for the common good
  • Respect the principle of subsidiarity or encourage the government to play a positive role in guaranteeing the common good
  • Respect the work and the worker
  • Pursue peace and care for the poor

Apply the lessons

“I think there’s a way to apply them to our lives to make the world meaningful for us, in a time when there’s a lot of division in the world right now,” Jansen said. “But when we focus on these seven principles… (they help us) make sense of everything that’s going on around us and give us a moral and ethical center from which we can work.”

The teachings aren’t worth it if they can’t be applied everywhere, the Louisiana-born speaker continued. Teachers can apply these principles by treating students and fellow educators well, allowing them to observe that treatment, and to imitate that authentic behavior.

It doesn’t matter whether someone is a teacher, a sanitation worker, or an accountant, that person can apply the teachings in how they treat others at work.

“Again, that’s how to be social beings. We first learn to be social beings in the family setting. That’s how we first learn to socialize, (that’s) how we watch our parents…” Jansen said.

“And then these teachings teach us how to leave the family unit, the domestic church, and how to connect with the larger church and how to experience the same things that we are taught to be in the family setting…in the world . ”

Educators should specifically work to teach and apply social teachings in their classroom, whatever subject they teach, she continued. Even if students do not remember the course material, they will remember how their teachers treated them.

Purpose in life

God has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life and a reason for speaking lives in existence, Jansen said. The fundamental reason we exist is to glorify the Lord, while “the rub” is how we do that and make the planet a better place for everyone.

The world would be different without musicians, artists or accountants, when during the pandemic and the shutdowns many people discovered the importance of delivery people and garbage collectors, she continued.

“…I think the pandemic and quarantine have shown us that we are like cogs in God’s machine. And we all have a reason and a purpose for being on Earth…” she remarked.

Love God and neighbor

Another goal of life is for people to love themselves so they can love God and love their neighbor as Jesus asked, Jansen continued. Even though people cannot determine what they are supposed to “do”, they should rather “be” someone who fulfills the two main commandments of Jesus.

Changing hearts and minds

Jansen used songs and chants to communicate his message to Holy Trinity staff during his presentation.

She pointed out that scientists have discovered that music is the only activity that “activates” all parts of the brain simultaneously. This discovery sends shivers down her spine, knowing that the music effectively reaches people, which is probably why parts of the Catholic Mass are sung.

Apart from music, Jansen also incorporates storytelling into his presentations because this combination can change people and change their way of thinking.

“I believe it’s not the debates, (but) it’s not even the scientific empirical evidence that is going to change people’s hearts. I believe it’s a story (because) that’s how Jesus changed hearts,” she said. “He told stories; we call them parables.

Catholics must learn to take what they hear in the Bible and through the liturgy and put those messages into action, Jansen said.

“We have to get it from head, heart and lips into our working hands,” she added. “And that’s the main thing I would like to leave for people.”


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