This ministry is rooted in the principles of Catholic Social Teachings. In light of the Gospel message of peace and social justice, we seek to enlighten and empower our community of faith. We are a vibrant group who are called to, PRAY, LEARN and ACT. Our gatherings start with prayer, reflection, discussion, discernment, and action. Topic include, but not be limited to the study of Pope Francis encyclical Fratelli Tutti- “building a better, more just, and peaceful world”, racism, immigration- how do we welcome the stranger, homelessness, and poverty in our community, and care for creation.

Pope Francis in a meeting at the Vatican in 2019 stated “do not be discouraged in (our) commitment to justice for the poor and the care of our common home. It will make it easier to enter into the dynamic of the Beatitudes- Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied”. All are welcome, virtual meetings take place every other week on Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Prayerfully consider joining us and be an instrument of Our Lord in building His kingdom on earth.

We will post events/notifications periodically. Please see below registration form.

If you would like to be part of this ministry, please fill out the form below and a representative will contact you. If you have questions or concerns, please email Susana at SMorones@sjnstcharles.org.

Series on Catholic Social Teachings & Drawing Contest

Our St. John Neumann Peace and Social Justice Ministry is excited to share with you the principles of Catholic Social Teaching as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops organize them. The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. For the next seven weeks, follow us while we address in the bulletin each one of the principles and highlight several of the key themes that are the heart of our Catholic social tradition. The seven principles as we will be presenting them are: (1) Life and Dignity of the Human person; (2) Call to Family, Community and Participation; (3) Rights and Responsibilities; (4) Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; (5) The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; (6) Solidarity; and (7) Care for God’s Creation.

In addition, we would like to invite you and/or your family to a drawing contest. Choose one or more principles and draw a picture that represents that principle to you. What would you draw to represent Life and Dignity of the Human person? You can submit one, two or more drawings representing one or more principles. The drawing that better represents each principle will be posted on our Peace and Social Justice section of the website. Please submit your drawing(s) to Susana Morones at smorones@sjnstcharles.org by May 9th. For more information about this ministry, contact Graham Woodward at grahamwoodward214@gmail.com.   

Principle 1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, the value of human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. Human life is threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person. (USCCB, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions)

Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God’s image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are. (St. John Paul II, On the Hundredth Year [Centesimus annus], no. 11)

Every individual . . . . is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church. Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church’s very heart; it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life in all the world and to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15). (St. John Paul II, The Gospel of Life [Evangelium vitae], no. 3)

Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. (Second Vatican Council, The Church in the Modern World [Gaudium et Spes], no. 27)

In our society of today, we can clearly identify other forces that compromise the integrity and dignity of human life: poverty, racism, the discrimination of immigrants and refugees, disregard for the disabled, homeless, etc. We are called to live the gospel; to respect every person. This is true of us as individual Catholics and also required of our church as an institution. It can be easy to love my neighbor who looks, thinks, and acts like me, but what about those who do not look like me? Those who may challenge our way of encountering the world? God sent His son to live among us and teach us to treat all we encounter with dignity. Simply put – Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31) Everyone is my neighbor!

Here are some Bible passages that teach us this principle:

  • Psalms 139:13-16. God formed each of us and knows us intimately.
  • Luke 10:25-37. The Good Samaritan recognized the dignity in the other and cared for his life.
  • J​ohn 4:1-42. Jesus broke with societal and religious customs to honor the dignity of the Samaritan woman

How would you illustrate this principle? Send us your drawing at smorones@sjnstcharles.org

Principle 2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation

“The person is not only sacred but social. How we organize our society—in economics and politics, in law and policy—directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in the community. Marriage and family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable” (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions).

Family

  • “The first and fundamental structure for a ‘human ecology’ is the family … founded on marriage, in which husband and wife create an environment in which children can be born and develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity” (St. John Paul II, On the Hundredth Year [Centesimus Annus], no. 39).
  • “The Christian family is called upon to be a sign of unity for the world … by presenting to their children a model of life based on the values of truth, freedom, justice, and love” (St. John Paul II, The Family in the Modern World [Familiaris Consortio], no. 48).
  • “The family proclaims the Gospel through solidarity with the poor, openness to a diversity of people, the protection of creation, moral and material solidarity with other families, including those most in need, commitment to the promotion of the common good and the transformation of unjust social structures …” (Pope Francis, On Love in the Family [Amoris Laetitia], no. 290, quoting the Final Report of the Synod of Bishops, 10/24/15).

Community/Participation

  • “Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Gaudium], no. 220, quoting USCCB, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, Nov. 2007, no. 13).
  • “Good government intervention is as that which truly ‘helps’ … contribute to the common good by directing, urging, restraining, and regulating economic activity as ‘the occasion requires and necessity demands’” (USCCB, Economic Justice for All, no. 124

As we read, we are social beings, and family should be the fundamental social unit in our society. As a Christian family, it is not enough to focus solely within or with those like us. We are called to be active citizens, participating within our communities for the common good, open to others of all cultures, with a focus on the poor and vulnerable. Through cooperation, all people should be able to attain their own economic and social development.

Bible verses that teach this principle are:

How would you illustrate this principle? Or the Life and Dignity of the Human Person? Send us your art expressions at smorones@sjnstcharles.org.

Principle 3: Rights and Responsibilities

“The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities – to one another, to our families, and to the larger society” (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions).

“Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person as such, endowed with basic and inalienable rights ordered to his or her integral development. It has also to do with the overall welfare of society and the development of a variety of intermediate groups, applying the principle of subsidiarity. Outstanding among those groups is the family, as the basic cell of society. Finally, the common good calls for social peace, the stability, and security provided by a certain order which cannot be achieved without particular concern for distributive justice; whenever this is violated, violence always ensues. Society as a whole and the state, in particular, are obliged to defend and promote the common good” (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si’], no. 157).

“Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystem services such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this, in turn, affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation… Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded” (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si’], no. 25).

“As for the State… It has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weaker members, the workers, women and children. It can never be right for the State to shirk its obligation of working actively for the betterment of the condition of the workingman” (St. John XXIII, Christianity and Social Progress (Mater et Magistra), no. 20

As we read, in a just society that leads to social peace, the human rights of its members must be respected and every individual must meet their responsibilities. We are called to look for the common good, to build a society where every human being is respected in their dignity and has the necessary resources to reach their full potential. We are called, ultimately, to care for one another as brothers and sisters with love and compassion. 

Bible verses that teach this principle are:

  • ​​Leviticus 25:35 – When someone is reduced to poverty, we have an obligation to help.
  • Tobit 4:5-11 – Give from what you have received and do not turn away from the poor.
  • Proverbs 31:8-9 – Open your mouth to speak on behalf of those in need.
  • Isaiah 1:16-17- Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
  • Jeremiah 29:4-7 – A legitimate government upholds the rights of the poor and vulnerable

How would you express this principle? Submit your drawing, photo, or art expression at smorones@sjnstcharles.org.

  

 

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