Parish Social Ministry
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Mission of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida
Catholic Charities carries out the social mission of the Catholic Church in Northwest Florida to serve, to empower, and to advocate for vulnerable families and individuals of any race, religion or national origin.
Mission of Parish Social Ministry
Parish Social Ministry, based on the USCCB document, Communities of Salt and Light, describes the vision of the social mission of the church (charity and justice) as a constitutive element of parish life. As such the mission is to engage parishioners in concrete acts of charity and to foster a life of Catholic discipleship necessarily including advocacy and justice.
From Catholic Charities USA “Catalysts and Collaborators in Parish Social Ministry”:
Parish social ministry reinforces the proclamation of the word by bringing Jesus’ call to life. In the Gospels, Jesus calls on everyone to care for poor, vulnerable, and suffering people and to work for justice and peace. Through Catholic social teaching, the church makes this call relevant in our day by evaluating social justice issues through Gospel principles. Parish social ministry facilitates action on the word of God by providing opportunities to respond to Jesus’ call. This helps to bring parishioners to a deeper understanding of the word of God.
Through the sacramental life of the church, the faithful come into contact with God in a deeper way and commit to bringing forth the kingdom of God on earth. The sacramental life of the parish reinforces parish social ministry by commissioning us to the Gospel through baptism and confirmation, sustaining us through the contact with God’s healing love as experienced in the sacrament of reconciliation, and uniting us to one another through the Eucharist. Parish social ministry reinforces the administration of sacraments by providing opportunities for parishioners to act on the mission they are charged with.
Parish social ministry helps the faithful to grow in love with God and neighbor by drawing them to the side of the most vulnerable and asking them to be the presence of God’s love. As Catholics, we must recognize that meeting immediate needs and correcting unjust systems alone are insufficient to live out the Gospel that we proclaim. In Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that greater than the physical need of people is “an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern.” 7 He encourages Catholics to go beyond fulfilling the physical needs of the person to becoming a sign of Christ’s love to the person. A parish does this on its own when its own parishioners or community members are impacted by need or injustice. When needs and injustice are beyond its reach, however, the parish needs to support trusted organizations to be the sign of Christ’s love on its behalf.
Parish social ministry is not easy, and a parish cannot leave the faithful alone in the process of becoming a sign of Christ’s love. It requires leadership, intentionality, and a commitment of time, talent, and treasure from the parish. In addition, parishes must provide reflection on the word of God and Catholic social teaching, a supportive community, the encounter with God in the sacraments, occasions to stretch beyond one’s comfort zone to protect the life and dignity of another, and opportunities to form and discipline one’s conscience and prayer. This is parish life at its best! Bringing together the social ministry, sacramental, and prophetic tasks of the church into parish life creates the power to transform hearts, minds, and the world.
How can we help your social justice and outreach ministry?
We’re available to talk with you about our educational and spiritual opportunities to help move your faith into action. Whether you are staff or a volunteer, a youth or elder, a catechist, or involved in adult education, we welcome the chance to work with you.
on the outreach/peace and justice committee?
on the pastoral council?
on a parish staff?
a parishioner interested in social justice?
Not listed here?
We offer parishes transformational educational opportunities, spiritual resources to love as Jesus did, the chance to volunteer for great work, and 80 years of professional experience with the accompanying resources of the Gulf Coast’s premier social services agency.
The mission of Catholic Charities’ Parish Social Ministry is to work with parishes to foster their social justice and outreach ministry, educates parishioners to serve those who are poor and vulnerable through both charity and justice, and provides opportunities for the spiritual development of individuals in this ministry. Grounded in this belief, we work with Catholic parishes to develop and foster their social justice and outreach ministry. This means that we are a resource for support, guidance and information on a variety of topics and possibilities for your parish’s social ministry. We offer workshops, retreat days, and educational sessions on Catholic Social Teaching and social concerns topics.
How can we help you?
Contact Lindsay Myers 850-435-3578 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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