Parish Social Ministry is the coordinated effort within a parish to:
Parish Social Ministry is about the transformation of both the individual and society. It is not the work of a committee or a specific ministry, rather it is the work of all God’s people as a response to God’s love. It is an interaction with the world that requires us to reach beyond our families, communities, parishes, our state and national boundaries and take up the task set before us by Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est.
Catholic Charities West Virginia’s Parish Social Ministry Coordinator works with regional directors to empower local parishes to serve the most vulnerable in their communities and live out the Church’s social mission.
The goal of Parish Social Ministry (PSM) is to assist the Catholic faithful to better understand the principles of Catholic social teaching and seek ways to put these principles into concrete action in their daily lives. Since the parish is the place “where the gospel is proclaimed and where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth,” PSM seeks to build effective partnerships with parishes, CCWVa and the diocese in order to help organize and then carry out works of charity and justice in local communities.
Catechetical trainings, youth ministry presentations, religious education and RCIA materials, evenings or days of reflection… Parish Social Ministry can help strengthen your community in a number of ways. Please call or email Kate to talk about specific programs that your parish needs or wants. Here are some general ideas:
Use the Contact Us box at the bottom of this page, or contact your Regional Director.
Learn about Catholic Social Teaching and how your faith can change the world! Educate and engage your parishioners on the topics that affect your local community the most, as well as our global family.
Help form volunteers for ministry through education, workshops, days of reflection, and celebrations of achievements.
Create small faith communities of justice and peace. We can help train a core group using nationally recognized programs such as Communities of Salt and Light, and Good News People [external link]
Catholic Social Teaching is a collection of principles that have been identified from various aspects of our Catholic tradition (including scripture and letters written by popes and bishops). The principles guide us in our personal decision-making, and help us recognize and address injustices in our society.
The foundational principle (Life and Dignity of the Human Person) acknowledges that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God – and for this reason alone we are all called to love and serve one another. The other principles (see below) comment specifically on aspects of life and how we all deserve to live, based on our relationship with God. Since economically disadvantaged people are most likely to experience injustice, many of the principles address different aspects of poverty.
There are several encyclicals (letters or documents written by Popes) that are often associated with Catholic Social Teaching. Pastoral letters (written by bishops) give us reflections that are particularly relevant in a geographic location or cultural context. Along with the Bible – both Old and New Testaments – these letters clarify the Church’s position on many issues related to life in society. You can download and read any of these letters for free at the following links.
Bishop Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has written these pastoral letters:
Collectively, the Bishops of the 25 dioceses of Appalachia have signed the following pastoral letters:
And for a comprehensive list of encyclicals and pastorals that have to do with CST, check out this link.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops defines 7 principles. You can read descriptions of each of the principles and get more information at the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Or, contact Kate.
“…love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The Church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word.”
– Deus Caritas Est para 22