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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")

Seven Themes of Catholic 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; Parish Social Ministry; Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Catholic Relief Services; Disaster Relief Services; Disability Ministry; and Community Social Action.
Program Areas

The work of the Diocese of Winona 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.

Rural Life

Works with the diocesan Rural Life Committee to promote a sustainable system of agriculture, a healthy environment, and strong rural communities by:

  • providing opportunities and resources for education on the church's teachings on rural concerns;
  • gathering the diocese together for prayer at the annual Harvest Mass celebration;
  • promoting prayer and liturgical resources which celebrate rural life, the planting and harvest seasons, and the goodness of God's creation;
  • advocating for sustainable agriculture and land stewardship at the state and national levels.

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.

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

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.

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

Social Justice Concerns are shared by the Office of Life and Catholic Charities.

Contact Us

Diocese of Winona
55 W. Sanborn
PO Box 588
Winona MN 55987

Contact: Joel Hennessy

Phone:(507) 454-4643
Fax:(507) 454-8106