What is Social Justice Ministry? It is helping people in need and working for a more just society. It is being a voice for the voiceless.
Mission Statement The mission of St. William’s Social Justice Ministry is to educate our parish community on ways to promote a more just society.
What is Catholic Social Teaching? “Catholic Social Teaching” refers to a set of documents that includes papal encyclicals, pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council and statements by national or regional bishops’ conferences. To be fully Catholic we must act on our faith in our daily lives. (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) These writings call us to work for justice and peace in the world in service to others.
Pope Francis and his encyclicals have rejuvenated parish conversations and interest in scriptural themes and Catholic principles. His message is clear that we are to serve the poor and be a Church for the poor.
The major themes of Catholic Social Teaching can serve as guides for acting on our faith consistent with the Bible and various church teachings including Catholic Pastoral Letters, the Second Vatican Council documents and Bishops’ Conference statements. The major themes of Catholic Social Teaching are:
- All human life is sacred and every person is created in God’s image.
- Dignity and human potential are realized in common good of families and communities.
- People have fundamental rights to life, food, shelter, healthcare, education, employment and participation in their own well-being along with corresponding duties and responsibilities.
- The moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.
- There is dignity in work and workers have rights to decent work, just wages, private property, and economic initiative.
- Solidarity recognizes that we are one human family and the fates of all peoples of the earth are linked.
- We show respect for God by our stewardship of creation.
- Global solidarity means that we are all one family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences.
- Government has a constructive role to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good.
- Catholic teaching promotes peace as a positive, action-oriented concept.
"How I would love a Church which is poor and for the poor," -Pope Francis, shortly after his election as Pope and later re-stated in The Joy of the Gospel, 2013, Ch.4, #198.
"None of us can think we are exempt from concerns for the poor and for social justice," -Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 2013, Ch.4, #201
The Difference between Justice and Charity The two feet of loving social action are Charity and Justice. Charity is an immediate and frequently short-term response to the direct needs of the poor. Social Justice compliments charity by trying to solve societal and structural problems by attacking the root causes of social problems, especially as they affect the most vulnerable members of our society and impact people living in poverty. While this action can be political or directed at those who govern, it does not have to be partisan. (Two Feet)
Biblical justice directs us toward the elimination of oppression, poverty, and everything that keeps men and women from their full development as human beings.
What Can You Do? Live out your call to justice through one of the following examples:
- Serve on the Social Justice Committee — or participate in its activities. It meets on the second Thursday of the month at 10:00 AM in the Parish Administration Center. We do not meet during the summer months of June through August. All parishioners are welcome to attend the meetings and join the Committee.
- Attend Social Justice Events — at St. William’s and in the Twin Cities area. This past year, we completed a 14-week Bible study course called, “Good News People,” this past year and will offer it again in the Fall of 2016.
- Join Sowers of Justice— an Archdiocesan social justice network to learn of issues the CC Office for Social Justice is addressing. (Office for Social Justice)
- Speak or Write letters and send e-mails — to local, state and federal elected officials on social issues that greatly concern you.
- Educate yourself — on various issues of the day. (USCCB) Immigration, homelessness, refugees and sex trafficking of children are examples of important issues identified by the St. William’s Social Justice Committee.
- Volunteer — to serve homeless families through Families Moving Forward who come to St. William’s for shelter for a week every three months, or to work at the Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) Food Shelf.
- Pray — join with other parishioners to pray for those most in need and to protect creation.
- End Homelessness — help us END, not just manage, homelessness.
- Partnering — partner with our neighbors in non-profit service groups to make a difference in our community.
- Partnering for Peace— answering God’s call to care for the world. The Church of Saint William has a Social Justice Committee that advances the cause of peace throughout the world.