The Social Concerns Ministry offers adult educational programs to encourage dialogue on a variety of topics in keeping with the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church, most particularly highlighting papal encyclicals as well as pastoral letters and statements of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the California Catholic Conference.
About this Ministry
The social concerns ministry, founded by parishioners in 2002, supports and builds upon one of the major recommendations for the Los Angeles Archdiocesan 2003 Synod – the establishment and maintenance of vibrant social concern activities by encouraging action steps following these forums when feasible. The ministry serves the community-at-large bringing hundreds of people together for well-crafted speaker series designed to be fair to all points of view, while not diluting the emphasis on gospel values and Church teaching.
The educational programs have been both informational and formational. Topics have included the death penalty, juvenile justice, the plight of the incarcerated, gang rehabilitation, just war, understanding the Islamic faith, environmental issues, hunger, evolution of Catholic teaching especially in the area of social justice, and immigration.
As a result of various forums, new parish ministries have been formed. These include the Fair Trade Ministry, tutoring programs at Dolores Mission and at the Guadalupano Homeless Project of Proyecto Pastoral, and the Restorative Justice Ministries – detention ministry at Central Juvenile Hall, Get On The Bus, and collaborative efforts with Homeboy Industries, including recruiting of doctors for tattoo removal and establishment of the Home Garden Project with Homegirl Café. The Restorative Justice Ministry also works closely with the Center for Restorative Justice Works to invite women to participate in the Center’s programs at the California institution for Women.
The Social Concerns Ministry is eager to welcome new members particularly those with a passion for the Church’s social justice teachings and a willingness to immerse themselves in the Church’s teachings on a variety of topics. When particular expertise is required, the committee often calls upon parishioner experts in a particular field to be part of the planning team for a specific program without the need for a long-term commitment. The ministry has also collaborated with other parish ministries, such as Holy Family Bookstore and the Restorative Justice Ministries.
Speakers series or programs are scheduled annually. Occasionally, when there is a topic of immediate concern, additional programs have taken place. Meetings are held seasonally with a planning meeting normally taking place in the fall, and subsequent meetings held on an as-needed basis during the planning process.
Tattoos on the Heart, Presentation by Greg Boyle, S.J., May 5, 2010
The Necessity for Immigration Reform, Presentation by Cardinal Roger Mahony, January 27, 2011