What is social ministry? It has a variety of names: social concerns, social justice, Faith Justice, social ministry and others. I describe social ministries as those activities that call us out of our churches and into our communities to serve others through both charity and justice efforts. For many of us, this means moving out of our comfort zone to do God’s work in the world. Our outreach ministry efforts are guided by Catholic social teaching.
I think our parishioners clearly understand that our faith calls each of us to respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters who are marginalized, and to recognize that charity and justice go hand-in-hand to address social issues. Charity is our direct service response, via face-to-face and monetary or in-kind support; while justice addresses the underlying systemic causative factors through legislative advocacy or community organizing, for example.
Members of our ACC parishes, which include St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s, St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s, were among a group of St. Cloud area citizens who helped draft a Community Policing Agreement with the St. Cloud Police Department. This is an example of social justice – addressing the underlying causes for a problem, and working for change to ensure equal treatment and transparency and accountability.
Other parishioners have addressed the issue of affordable housing – or, more accurately, the lack of affordable housing in the St. Cloud area. They are raising awareness of the extent and seriousness of the housing issue both by assisting persons experiencing homelessness and by addressing the social issues that contribute to the problem of homelessness.
Still other members of our faith communities have helped to address the issues of sexual trafficking, food insecurity, racism, immigration and asylum issues, etc.
In addition to these efforts, our parishes have been generous in offering financial support to many organizations that provide direct services or work for justice. Our petitions and parish prayers also raise our awareness of the needs of our brothers and sisters in our community and around the world.
Thanks to all of you for your generous service to others, loving and caring for all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Special thanks to all those parishioners who have taken leadership roles in various ministries. Please contact me if you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding our ministries, or if you would like to volunteer for any ministries. You can reach me at 251-3901, or e-mail at email@example.com