The purpose of the human concerns standing commission is to discern the needs of people in the parish and wider community – especially the poor – and identify resources to meet those needs while enlisting the active support and participation of parish members. This commission helps to fulfill the justice dimensions of scripture and our Catholic social teaching tradition while acknowledging that every Christian is called to service and to work for justice.
The focus of the commission is on the fourfold task of Catholic social ministry: direct service, justice education, advocacy and empowerment.
- Direct Service – assist the parish in performing works of charity and in relating to organizations that provide direct service to people in need
- Justice Education – raise awareness among parishioners about social justice issues and Catholic social teaching
- Advocacy – form partnerships with organizations that serve as advocates for the poor, the vulnerable, and the unborn that work for changes in public policy and societal structures so as to aid the poor, the vulnerable, and the unborn
- Empowerment – develop practices and support organizations which encourage people in need to take action themselves
The mission of human concerns usually requires the commission to organize into committees or ministry teams in order to address specific activities and projects. The commission’s role is to monitor, evaluate, and collaborate with these groups so that they minister more effectively. These committees or ministry teams should report their activity regularly to the commission. Commissions should meet with these groups periodically to discuss the current state of the ministerial activity and to exchange new ideas for more effective ministry.
Active programs under the direction of this commission include:
- Advent Giving Tree
- Elizabeth Ministry
- Emmaus Meals
- Food Pantry
- Meal a Month
- Ministry to the Elderly and Homebound
- Ministry to the Grieving
- Parish Outreach
- Prayer Network
- Prayer Shawls
- Rainbow Kids
- Society of St. Vincent De Paul