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.
Works 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.
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.
The Discipleship Series
Faith-Sharing Resources with a Mission of Love
The Discipleship Series aims to inspire and deepen communion with God and neighbor. This program is designed to engage the leadership and participation of the laity so as to be a source of joy and consolation to the parish. It is a program that is particularly attractive because — with just six sessions — it does not place many demands on the participant’s calendar. It also integrates four key elements of the Christian life – prayer, reflection, fellowship, and service – in a very user-friendly format that does not require an expert leader.