Office of Social Justice
Our work for social justice is first and foremost a work of faith, a profoundly religious task. It is Jesus who calls us to this mission, not any political or ideological agenda. We are called to bring the healing hand of Christ to those in need; the courageous voice of the prophet to those in power; and the Gospel message of love, justice, and peace to an often suffering world. -- (U.S. Catholic Bishops, "A Century of Social Teaching")
Parish and Community Social Action Program
We serve the wider community of southern Minnesota as we work to create more effective ways of serving and empowering those in need. Our program areas are: Social Concerns; Rural Life; Disaster Relief Services; Parish Social Ministry; Community Social Action; the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Catholic Relief Services; and Disability Ministry.
The work of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester includes:
- Providing education, information, and resources on social issues to individuals, groups, and church institutions;
- Promoting reflection on current social issues in light of Scripture and Church teaching;
- Supporting legislative advocacy and political responsibility;
- Helping to integrate the social teachings of the church into other diocesan ministries.
Disaster Relief Services
Provides support and assistance to the victims of disaster by:
- Consulting with pastors and pastoral staffs in communities where a disaster has occurred;
- Providing information on sources of aid from local, state, and national sources;
- Helping to coordinate a deanery or diocesan collection to provide grants to affected individuals, if warranted.
Parish Social Ministry
Works with parishes to strengthen local pastoral support through service, outreach, and community action by:
- Serving as a listener/facilitator/catalyst for parish action, ideas, etc.;
- Offering convening and training opportunities and resources to assist parish leaders in identifying and acting on local issues;
- Empowering parishes and their leadership to establish and/or enhance, develop, and maintain effective outreach and social ministry efforts.
Community Social Action
Increases the level of local response to community needs by:
- Working with local communities to assess unmet needs in the diocese;
- Collaborating with community leaders to create innovative responses to local needs;
- Working with an empowerment model to ensure that the dignity of people of limited income and resources is respected.
Works of Justice Fund
The Works of Justice Fund is a diocesan funding program for community groups and organizations working for social justice. Every year, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) does an annual collection in order to provide grants for various groups and organizations around the United States. While 75% of what the Diocese of Winona-Rochester collects goes back to the CCHD National Fund, the other 25% collected is returned to the Diocese and placed in the Works of Justice fund.
If your group or organization is interested in applying for a grant provided by the Works of Justice Fund, please visit the links below to view related materials pertaining to the grant application process.
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Catholic Campaign for Human Development addresses the root causes of poverty through:
- Support of community-controlled, self-help organizations that encourage people to join together to build strong communities and break the cycle of poverty;
- Empowerment of people with limited income and resources through local initiatives;
- Promotion of solidarity between the poor and non-poor through justice education.
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services gives active witness to the call of Jesus to respond to human needs by assisting the poor and disadvantaged outside the United States in the following ways:
- By responding to victims of natural and human-caused disasters;
- By providing basic necessities to those in immediate need;
- By supporting self-help programs which involve people in their own development;
- By helping to educate the people of the United States to fulfill their moral responsibilities in alleviating suffering, removing its causes, and promoting justice.
Bible Study on the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
The US Catholic Bishops have identified 7 themes in Catholic Social Teaching (CST). The CST bible study is an eight week course with introduction, and a session on each of these seven themes. It may be adapted to meet the needs of a given group. This bible study can be used weekly or in a monthly format covering a school year. The sessions are set up to be approximately 60 to 90 minutes in length, depending on the size of the group.
Leaders of this study act more as facilitators rather than teachers, which means the given leader does not have to have extensive knowledge of scripture in order to have a successful session. Discussion questions provided are meant to be thought provoking and to open up a discussion into practical ways to live our faith. The bible study is provided by Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota and there is no fee.