Social Justice Ministry

The Parish Social Justice Ministry at St. Andrew the Apostle supports the integration of Catholic Social Teachings into all ministries and parish life by providing resources, training and information.

What the Lord requires of you is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Principles of Catholic Social Teaching Made Simple

  • All people are holy, made in the image of God.
  • People are both holy and social; when one suffers, we all suffer.
  • People have a basic right to life, food, shelter, health care, education and work.
  • The "Jesus" test of a community or society is how it treats its neediest members.
  • Money, work and business exist to serve people, not the other way around.
  • We are called to work for justice for all people.
  • We care for God's creation.

Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably hand crafted items, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, and flowers.

Fair trade's strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade. Fair trade proponents include a wide array of international religious, development aid, social and environmental organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas International, and Oxfam.

At St. Andrew we invite parishioners to support fair trade as a way of acting justly in solidarity with those seeking a just and living wage. On the third Sunday a month we sell coffee from Café Justo and tea, chocolate and olive oil through Catholic Relief Services/SERRV. Come by to learn more about fair trade and purchase some very fine coffee, tea, chocolate and olive oil. We can take orders via email at cathy.olds@standrew-cfc.org or you can go to the official web site:

Valley Interfaith Project

VIP is a faith based ecumenical advocacy organization that works with our legislature and local leaders to address local issues and promote greater justice and dignity for the people of greater metropolitan Phoenix. Our present work is educating and advocating for immigration reform and better funding for our local school districts. We are looking for people who:

  • Are driven to ask why things are as they are
  • Are prepared to engage in civic conversation
  • Seek to work for change through relationship and education

If you are interested in putting Catholic social teachings into practice in very practical ways, contact Cathy Olds.

Just Faith Ministries

JustFaith is an opportunity for parishioners to experience a spiritual journey into compassion. It provides a lively and challenging format to read, discuss, pray, experience and be formed by the our Catholic justice tradition that changes lives, inspires faithful witness, and transforms the world through love and service. This program is now offered in hundreds of parishes across the country and can be offered here at St. Andrew the Apostle. Anyone interested in a group here at St. Andrew should contact Cathy Olds. JustFaith Ministries works in partnership with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services. You can read more about JustFaith on the web site at www.justfaith.org.

Voices that Challenge

Peace

…justice, right reason, and the recognition of man's dignity cry out insistently for a cessation to the arms race. The stock-piles of armaments which have been built up in various countries must be reduced all round and simultaneously by the parties concerned. Nuclear weapons must be banned. A general agreement must be reached on a suitable disarmament program, with an effective system of mutual control.
—Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth – 1963 encyclical.
  • Read the US Bishop's 1983 Pastoral Letter The Challenge of Peace
  • Papal encyclicals, and the Pope's World Day of Peace messages are available at www.vatican.va
  • To read about local and national Catholic peace efforts go to www.paxchristiusa.org
  • Suggested books include:
    • Chacour, Elias — Blood Brothers: The Unforgettable Story of a Palestinian Christian Working For Peace in Israel, Chosen Books 2003
    • Ferguson, John — The Politics of Love: The New Testament and Nonviolent Revolution Fellowship of Reconciliation, Surry, England 1977
    • Dear, John — Put down Your Sword: Answering the Gospel Call to Creative Nonviolence Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008
For resources on Catholic teaching on peace, migration, poverty, and care for our common home, click here

Migration

Christian commitment to immigrants draws strength from Christ's love, which is Good News for all human beings. Thus, the Church works to ensure that every person's dignity is respected, the immigrant is welcomed as a brother or sister, and all humanity forms a united family which knows how to appreciate with discernment the different cultures which comprise it. Jesus reminded us "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me."
—Pope John Paul II, Message for World Migration Day, 2000.
  • Read the US Bishop's Letter – Strangers No Longer – published in 2003 (Click here).
  • Read about the five principles of immigration reform from the U.S. Bishops (Click here).
  • Read an Education for Justice article on Catholic Social Teaching.
  • Other resources can be found at Catholic Charities AZ and Justice for Immigrants.

For more information on catholic teaching about migration go to the US Bishops' Conference sponsored web site Justice for Immigrants at www.justiceforimmigrants.org.

Poverty

Prayer to Reduce Poverty
Good and Gracious God, we pray for your assistance in alleviating the pain and needless struggles of our brothers and sisters in need. Working together and with your grace, we know that each person deserves and should have affordable housing, adequate food, health care, and economic security. Loving God, we know that whatever we ask, in your name, it will be granted to us. So help us in trying to alleviate poverty, and may our efforts give you praise and be a sign of your kingdom on earth.
Amen.

From a Judeo-Christian perspective, poverty means that the covenant with God has been ruptured. Our relationship with God is not in right order, and the injustice of poverty and extreme inequality cries out for change. Among the moral values that should govern our analysis of poverty are the following: human dignity, the common good, human rights, and the option for the poor.

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
—Matthew 25: 40

Visit Catholic Charities USA to find publications about poverty in the U.S.

Things You Can do to Address Poverty

  1. Pray for those whose lives are impacted by poverty.
  2. Use scripture to deepen your understanding of poverty.
  3. Familiarize yourself with Catholic social teachings on the poor.
  4. Educate yourself about poverty in your community and in the United States. Read Poverty in America: A Threat to the Common Good and other facts.

Social Justice Web Links

  • Diocese of Phoenix, Catholic Relief Services.
  • Information and links to the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform sponsored by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • Two thousand Catholics and other people of faith have gathered in over 40 states to articulate shared principles about building a culture of life, promoting economic justice and peace, establishing foreign policy rooted in global solidarity and caring for God's creation. Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good offers articles and opportunities to advocate for Catholic values in our political system.
  • Equal Exchange offers fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa and snacks.
  • Catholic Relief Services provides information and resources on relief work around the world.
  • Office of Social Justice for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
  • Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
  • Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute educates its advocacy network, opinion leaders, policy makers and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad.
  • Network, a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation.
  • Word & World is a school, a celebration, a movement. Through week-long gatherings, each rooted in a different city, this "moveable institute" seeks to provide education, training, and capacity-building for Christian disciples dedicated to the work of social transformation.
  • The Community of Saint Egidio began in Rome in 1968 with a group of high school students who wanted to take the Gospel more seriously. Today it is a movement consisting of over 40,000 Christian laypeople in more than 60 countries throughout the world. The community sponsors works of charity and justice while rooted in daily prayer.
  • Catholic Charities USA Campaign To Reduce Poverty – Poverty in America is a moral and social crisis that threatens the health and well-being of our country. It's time to renew our commitment to action on behalf of the poor and vulnerable.
  • Justice section of the online Theology Library of Spring Hill College includes documents on social issues from the Vatican and U.S. Bishops as well as articles on social issues.
  • The Catholic Climate Covenant supports and complements USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and the bishops’ Environmental Justice Program.