Welcome to the
Department of Social Concerns for
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud
“To be a Christian means that we love our neighbor both near and far. Love of neighbor includes doing what we can to ease one's suffering. It means giving what we can to meet someone's immediate needs. It also means trying to understand why people today have such serious unmet needs. It means acknowledging our own contribution -- as individuals and as a nation -- to the suffering of others. It means, finally, acting to change whatever causes people to be dependent upon another's charity. This love, and this action, must be shown to people in need here in our own diocese and throughout the world. For this is what it means to be a Christian, to be the Church, to be a parish.”
Bishop John F. Kinney, As I Have Done for You
Social Concerns promotes Catholic social teaching which Catholic Charities is founded upon – teachings like the inherent dignity of all people, care for God's creation, and the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. Kathy Langer, Catholic Charities Director of Social Concerns, encourages the Catholic community at large to consider what it means to live the gospel message of love and challenges parishes to answer the question, "How do we live our faith according to Catholic social teaching?”
Works with parishes to strengthen service, outreach, and community action by:
• serving as a listener/facilitator/catalyst for parish ideas and actions;
• offering resources, training opportunities, and gatherings 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.
Works to promote 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 Rural Life celebration;
• promoting the Rural Life Fund which provides small emergency funds for rural individuals and families in financial hardship.
Addresses the root causes of poverty through:
• support of community-based, 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.
Acts on social justice issues, especially those of particular concern within our diocese, by:
• providing education, information, and resources on social issues to individuals, groups, and church institutions;
• promoting reflection and action 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.
Encourages local response to community needs by:
• working with local communities to assess unmet needs;
• 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.