Category Archives: Life and Justice

Catholic Social Teaching

Is your parish looking for a way to familiarize your
members who are engaged in social justice, in
compassionate outreach, with Catholic Social teachings?

If so, then this toolkit provides a way to offer a series of seven
evenings of adult faith formation based on the documents/sources
for the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching.

This toolkit is built on the correlation of the 7 themes with the
Catechism created by Sr. Antoine Lawlor which was used by
Norman Roberts as a member of the Peace and Justice Ministry
at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, Texas, Diocese of Dallas.
Norman crafted the design for the evenings, and the correlations
to the other three documents listed below.

If the design works for your parish, there is no end to creativity that
you might employ to explore the Church’s teaching that undergird
the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching!


The documents cited for use in this toolkit are found online
at either or
You may want to BOOKMARK or add them to your FAVORITES on your computer.

The documents listed below are only a sample of the Church’s Social Justice teachings;
specifically, those that we used to create these discussion grids.

For additional Church teaching on social justice issues, go to
either the Vatican website or to the US Catholic Bishop’ website.

Caritas in Veritate:
Go to

Faithful citizenship:
Go to

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Go to

Gaudium et Spes is a Vatican II document which is found on the Vatican website.
Go to

You may contact the creators of these sessions and correlation documents at:           

These are the documents you will need to host these sessions:
Session design for sharing on Catholic Social Teaching
CST themes
Gaudium et Spes Cross Reference
Caritas in Veritate Cross Reference
Faithful Citizenship Cross Reference
Catechism Cross Reference
Sample Session on Theme 2
Examination of Conscience

December Life and Justice Ideas

Advent Greetings!

As the warmth of Thanksgiving continues, let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.  This past weekend, we also entered a new liturgical year and the Advent season provides us with an opportunity to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming.

On behalf of the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation and the Life & Justice area, under Larry DiPaul’s direction, I send a few additional points to ponder and share with your parish community this Advent/Christmas Season.  Please consider including one or all of the topics below in bulletin announcements, or share the list on your website, Facebook or Twitter accounts.  In the midst of life, our church year provides us an opportunity to recall that we too are called to be Jesus in a world looking to experience Him.

Advent Ideas for Families – taking advantage of gift giving and the opportunity to highlight things families could do together this season. 

  • Draw on current news stories and relate social teachings to the issues and decisions.  Discussion of issues such as violence, war, abortion, racism, immigration, the environment, bullying and the death penalty are important.

The Archdiocese of Minneapolis has a website that may help provide discussion starters: 

  • When donating to a food drive, explore with the family the issue of hunger.
  • Develop Family Community Day – a day of service to the community in which everyone has an opportunity to care for those in need.

Here are some possible suggestions in the Camden & Bridgeton areas, however; there are so many places throughout the diocese that families may volunteer. One could first check with their local nursing home about volunteering.

New Visions Community Services of Camden
Contact person:  Kevin Moran
Phone:  (856) 963-8726
City of Camden

This is a shelter for the homeless.  If parents are comfortable, it’s actually a good place for kids. The folks there really love to see and interact with children. Families can help prepare meals, serve food, and chat with guests. At times, they also use help sorting clothes and cleaning etc.

Genesis Elder Care
Contact person:  Diane Dalessandro
Phone:  (856) 665-8844

Collingswood/Pensauken across the street from Cooper River Park
This is a home for people who are no longer able to take care of themselves; they are mostly elderly, but not entirely. They can accommodate a lot of volunteers. As a volunteer, you get to play games with and chat with residents.  They would also really love to be around children.

Center for Environmental Transformation – Eve’s Garden
Contact person:  Andrea Ferich
South Camden, Sacred Heart Catholic Church

They do a lot of gardening work– I’m not sure when these family days would be held, but if they’re during the right season, gardening could be a great family task.

Francis House HIV/AIDS
Contact person:  Susan Piliro
Phone:  (856) 541-5000
St. Anthony’s of Padua Catholic Church, East Camden

Two days a week (generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays) Francis House uses volunteers to help spend time with guests.

Good Shepherd Dining Room
The Good Shepherd Dining Room is run by the Saint Vincent De Paul Society and housed in Saint Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church in Bridgeton. The St.Vincent De Paul Society is a lay organization started by a college student, Fred Ozinam, who saw the need to help the poor. Their Good Shepherd Meal Program has been serving meals to the less fortunate in this area since 1980. With the help of Green Thumb workers and volunteers, 20,000 – 21,000 meals are served each year.
Meals are served Monday thru Friday from 1:00pm – 2:00pm. Food, time and/or monetary donations are graciously accepted. New members are also welcome.

• Never allow for racially or ethnically derogatory comments or jokes.  Confront other adults who do this and let children hear your objection. 

• Work at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter as a family (Charity) and work to create housing, employment and just policies for those without adequate housing (e.g. make a contribution to Habitat for Humanity.) 

• As a gift during the Advent/Christmas Season, write out a family commitment form.  For example – “In my/our attempt to do justice, I/we will”…..or “In our attempt to serve the poor and vulnerable, I/we will share more time and talent by”….(Have family members signs on.)

• Consider Alternative Christmas Gifts.  Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and consider helping children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant.  Visit Heifer International for more information at

• St. Nicholas saw Christmas as a time to care for the poor.  If you are looking to live the spirit of St. Nicholas this Christmas, consider some alternative gifts that care for the poor and inspire compassion in others:
SHOP ONLINE? Give the gift of life through Catholic Relief Services
( and their partner SERRV ( or purchase a life-sustaining gift through the Heifer Project. Families who receive a Heifer gift frequently pay it forward in ways that benefit an entire village.  Check out dozens of gifts that make a difference from Oxfam America Unwrapped (  Whether it’s a grove of miracle trees ($35), a goat ($50), or even a pile of manure ($12); there is something for everyone.  Or Mercy Kits, an alternative gift giving program, from Mercy Corps that helps to build up people (  These are all Fair Trade possibilities.

Thank you for sharing these ideas.  May you and yours have a blessed Advent Season.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Peace and all good things,
Greg Coogan

Connections: Explaining the Relationship between the Sacraments and Catholic Social Teaching

Connections: How do we explain the relationship between the sacraments and Catholic social teaching?

Resources for parish leaders entrusted with the ministry of teaching or preaching

These 6 study guides are published by Education for Justice and can also be found at They are intended for those teaching about or giving a homily at a celebration of the sacraments. They will help make a connection between Catholic social teaching and living the sacraments we have received.






Anointing of the Sick


(4) Parish Life and Justice Ministry

Life & Justice / Parish Social Ministry

One of the most encouraging signs of the gospel at work in our midst is the vitality of social justice ministries in our parishes. -Communities of Salt and Light, USCCB, 1993.

What is Parish Social Ministry?

The parish is where the church lives.  Parishes are communities of faith, of action, of hope.  They are where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth.  In addition, our parish communities are measured by how they serve “the least of these” in our parish and beyond its boundaries– the hungry, the homeless, the sick, those in prison, the stranger (Matthew 25:31). Our local families of faith are called to “hunger and thirst for justice” and to be “peacemakers” in our own communities (Matthew 5:6, 9).  A church cannot really proclaim the gospel if its message is not reflected in its own community life.  The biblical call to charity, justice, and peace claims not only each believer, but also each community where believers gather for worship, formation, and pastoral care.

Parish Social Ministry is how our local parishes are organized to serve those in our midst and around the world in the areas of charity, justice, and peace.  We cannot be truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church’s call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace.  We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing “good news to he poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18).

The framework provided by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops asks us to examine each of the following areas in our local parishes with social ministry in mind:

1. Prayer and Worship
2. Preaching and Education
3. Family, Work, Citizenship
4. Outreach and Charity
5. Legislative Action
6. Organizing for Justice
7. Global Solidarity

(Much of above article content from Communities of Salt & Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish, United States Council of Catholic Bishops.

• Catholic Social Teaching Information and Resources

Parish Social Ministry Resources

Characteristics of Justice Seeking Parish (PDF)

7 Habits of Highly Effective Social Justice Committees (PDF)

Analyzing and Categorizing the Peace/Justice/Respect Life Ministries at your Parish (PDF)

Recruiting Volunteers & Qualities to look for in Parish Social Ministry Leaders (PDF)

Facilitating a PSM/Peace and Justice Team Meeting (PDF)

Links to other Diocesan Web Sites with Parish Social Ministry Resources

• Diocese of Raleigh- Peace & Justice/ Parish Social Ministry

• Diocese of Richmond – Office of Justice & Peace

• Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis- Office of Social Justice

Lenten Prayer

Lenten Prayer

Last year we shared with you a very popular Lenten Prayer Service which came to us through Larry DiPaul, Director of Life and Justice. In addition to the prayer service and the Lenten Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching, we also offer to you this year an Ash Wednesday Prayer and Lenten Reflection. The USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development is the publisher of this Examination of Conscience as well as the included “Themes of Catholic Social Teaching”. Also attached is the Ash Wednesday Prayer, Lenten Reflection and the Lenten Prayer Service from Catholic Relief Services, which focuses on Operation Rice Bowl. We thought they were beautiful, and wanted to share them with you as Lent begins.

NEW    [rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”233″ direct_download=”true”]Holy Thursday Reflection[/rokdownload]

NEW    [rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”234″ direct_download=”true”]Prayer for Good Friday[/rokdownload]

[rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”228″ direct_download=”true”]Ash Wednesday Prayer[/rokdownload]

[rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”229″ direct_download=”true”]Lenten Reflection[/rokdownload]

[rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”126″ direct_download=”true”]Examination of Conscience and Themes of Catholic Social Teaching[/rokdownload]

USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development

[rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”127″ direct_download=”true”]Lenten Prayer Service from Catholic Relief Services[/rokdownload]

Catholic Relief Services

This calendar comes from the Archdiocese of Washington’s Environmental Outreach Committee. The ‘Lenten Caring for Creation Calendar’ provides many ways to prepare for Easter that help us to remember all of Creation. [rokdownload menuitem=”61″ downloaditem=”230″ direct_download=”true”]Caring for Creation Calendar[/rokdownload]

(3) Invitation to Fair Trade Shopping

Fair Trade Shopping
Where Catholic meets Coffee and Chocolate
What is the Value of your Values?

1 – Do you consider yourself a wise shopper?  If so, what makes you a wise shopper?

2 – Do you believe that your purchasing choices have moral consequences?

3 – Did you ever hear of Fair Trade Coffee?  What makes coffee Fair Trade?

4 – How much coffee do you drink in your own home?  How much coffee do you buy for your Parish meetings, Rectories, Convents, Faculty Rooms, Fellowship gatherings?

5 – Is that coffee certified Fair Trade?

6 – Like most people, without your knowing, you may be contributing to poverty and human misery simply because the coffee you buy is harvested by farmers who receive an unjust wage for the work they do to assure that we enjoy coffee throughout the day.

7 – Would you want to assure the coffee farmers in developing countries receive a just or living or family wage as our Catholic Social Teaching demands?

8 – Would you like to learn how drinking certain coffees, or teas, or eating certain chocolates, or purchasing certain clothing or crafts can connect us to the hope and dreams of our sisters and brothers around the world?

9 – Do you want to organize a Fair Trade experience in your Parish or School?

If so, please contact Larry DiPaul at the Office of Life and Justice – 856-583-6119;  We can put you in touch with parish or Diocesan people who have coordinated Fair Trade efforts.  Perhaps, your parish Justice Ministry can organize this.

You also may want to check out the attached outline.  This will give you a skeletal outline of the Moral principles that direct us to Fair Trade choices.  These points will be developed when we have a chance to meet with interested Parishioners.

Fair Trade Notes

(2) Invitation to Parish Life and Justice Sessions

Four Parish Life and Justice Sessions

1 – Would you have a whole lot of confidence in a builder who did not refer to the blueprint?

2 – Would the house look like what the architect had in mind?

3 – Do you ever imagine God as an architect of a sacred blueprint?

4 – Do you know that, as Catholics, our Faith Formation and Faith-filled living rests on 2 pillars, the Living Word of God (Scriptures) and our Sacred Writings down through the ages (Tradition)?  Do you see Scripture and Tradition as our divine blueprint?

5 – Do you think of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist as Sacraments that call you to build the house of the Lord?

6 – Are you familiar with the blueprint that God, the architect, gives us to follow as we build the house of the Lord in the world/

7 – Would you like to explore this divine blueprint a little more?

If so, please see the attached Parish-based opportunity.  Various Parishes or groups of Parishes have already taken this journey of Prayer, Education, Information, Formation, and Transformation.  How about you?

First step: please contact Larry DiPaul, at the Office of Life and Justice – 856-583-6119;

Four Parish Life and Justice Sessions

(1) Is Your Parish in Need of a Life and Justice Coordinator?

Life and Justice Tool Kit #1

1 – This toolkit is for those parishes that choose to have a Life and Justice Coordinator on their Parish Pastoral Council or Ministry Team.

2 – The Director of Life and Justice will set up a meeting with the Pastor, including the Parish Staff, if possible.

3 – In preparation for that meeting, the Director of Life and Justice will send a copy of the Mission Statement, the Functions, and the Job Description of Life and Justice. (see attached # 1)

4 – During the meeting, the Director of Life and Justice will propose concrete ways to begin the process of developing a Life and Justice Coordinator(s), grounded in Scripture and Tradition, as well as bringing other interested parishioners into this consistent ethic of life consciousness.

5 – Step one of this process is to invite Parishioners to an information meeting using the following Parish bulletin announcement:


you have an interest in discussing the least known teachings of our Catholic Faith; unless you want to know why Jesus is so demanding; unless you want to explore more deeply who God is, who Jesus is, what the world beyond our own looks like, and how Jesus calls us to live in a world marked by such poverty, hunger, violence, and despair; how we are called to recognize and protect the life and dignity of every person from conception to natural death.  We will meet on ______Date____________, _____Place________, __Time_________   Larry DiPaul, Director of Life and Justice for the Camden Diocese, will facilitate this session.  To register, please call 856-583-6119.


6 – Gather information from that meeting, and offer interested parishioners a series of follow-up sessions (see attachment #2, in the hope that some participants would then be situated to serve as Life and Justice Coordinator(s).

Life and Justice

Life and Justice Spiritual Foundations