By Deacon Matt Dulka on Wednesday, 01 March 2017
Category: Deacon Congress

Why this Lent I will shift my focus from my personal sin to my social sin

For most of my life, my Lenten practice has focused on addressing my personal sins. As my family and friends will testify, I certainly need ongoing work in that area. But this Lent, I want to do something different. I've been inspired by what Pope Francis has been preaching but disturbed by what's going on in the world, so this year, I plan to focus on my social sins. By social sins, don't mean bad things I've said on Facebook or at parties. Rather, I mean my involvement in sinful and evil social-political-economic structures. In Catholic Social Teaching, we have a rich tradition that teaches that because we are all interconnected, personal sins can become collective sins that infect social structures. (See John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei Socialis 35-37). Lent is a penitential season that provides the opportunity for us to grieve our sins, seek forgiveness, make amends and move beyond our mistakes. A time to grow into the person God hopes us to be and find our place in the creation God has provided. 

This Lent, these are some of my social sins that I want acknowledge, beg forgiveness for, strive to fix and grow away from, in order to grow closer to God: 


I commit to the following spiritual practices this Lent to address my social sin: 

I admit that I have had a bad track record of starting out Lent with great intentions and rarely crossing the finish line 40 days later. I know I can do this better if I make this public commitment and moreover if I have the support of others who are struggling along the same path. If you want to join me in this, I'd love to hear from you and support each other on the journey. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deacon Matt Dulka is a deacon of the Oakland Diocese and the Associate Director for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in their engagement of the U.S Church to promote missionary discipleship.



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