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- Mission Statement
- Celebration/Action: Multicultural Diversity
- Recent Events
- Resources, including Catholic Social Teaching from USCCB
Mission of Social Concerns Ministry of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield, NJ
- To fulfill our mission as Disciples through engaging our faith community in understanding how prayer, learning and action contribute to greater justice the world.
- To collaborate and foster relationships with other parishes in our deanery in prayer and learning that leads to collective community action.
We can help fulfill our mission with the following illustrative activities:
- Leverage current ministries to engage in prayers that lift up key themes from the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching through prayer groups, the Prayers of the Faithful at the weekly liturgies, in the bulletin and via the STA social media channels.
- Offer a morning/evening of Reflection during Advent and Lent that focuses on a principle of Catholic Social Teaching and social analysis (potentially aligned with an action).
- Develop/publish a quarterly social justice newsletter to be included as part of the parish bulletin and have Fr. Larry offer a series of reflections as part of his letter to the parish community that highlight an area of Catholic Social Teaching.
- Engage in understanding core issues of justice that are appropriate to context and timely (over the course of the year or take a new issue/concern at each part of the Liturgical Calendar). This could include a purposeful parish reflection on Gaudium et Spes, Open Wide Our Hearts, Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si, Fratelli Tutti and other pastorals that will guide us in our journey toward understanding systemic and social challenges that will lead toward action.
- Connect with other parishes in our deanery to bring collective learning opportunities together, as appropriate.
- After conferring with other parishes in the deanery, ascertain what social concerns ministries or actions—service and/or justice–that STA parishioners might collaborate, rather than “reinventing the wheel” by duplicating.
- Engage in legislative advocacy that uplifts core Catholic Social Teaching principles in collaboration with efforts aligned with Catholics Confront Global Poverty and issues of concern in our local community as promoted by the Archdiocese of Newark’s Social Concerns Office, the Archdiocesan Commission on Peace and Justice and efforts at the Deanery Level.
- Align charitable activity that already occurs through the parish with a legislative action (i.e. connect the St. Augustine Ministry, Giving Tree and Food Pantry efforts to an action around homelessness, housing or hunger).
The Social Concerns Ministry at STA would draw upon the rich resources through the Archdiocese of Newark’s Social Concerns Office, the Archdiocesan Commission on Peace and Justice and Communities of Salt and Light and others that help form us in living out the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
New Jersey Catholic Conference’s Faith in Action Page – Notify Legislators about Important Topics.
This link gets updated periodically by New Jersey Catholic Conference
Celebration/Action: Multicultural Diversity
Reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
The St. Thomas Social Concerns Ministry will host these discussions on three consecutive Thursday nights: March 11th, March 18th, and March 25th from 7:30pm to 9pm, via the Zoom platform. You may register for all three sessions at once; or up to the day before an individual session via https://forms.gle/WGikoLjTj4RthvPS8 Click the button below for more details.
Catholic Social Teaching YouTube Playlist Courtesy of USCCB:
Related Websites and Links:
The Catholic Church believes and teaches that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death. For that reason, we, the Bishops of each of the dioceses in New Jersey, join in voicing the strongest possible opposition to the “Reproductive Freedom Act.” Click the button below to read more and additional resources to contact state legislators.
Pope Francis gave his latest encyclical in Assisi on the vigil of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on October 3rd, 2020. The Encyclical entitled ‘Fratelli Tutti’ translates to ‘On Fraternity and Social Friendship.’ From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website “This greatly welcomed encyclical is a beautiful reflection on humanity’s path forward to a deeply desired and sought-after peace. Pope Francis addresses his renewed call to universal fraternity ‘to all people of good will, regardless of their religious convictions.’ ”
The button below is a link to the USCCB website that provides a two page PDF summary of Fratelli Tutti and also a twenty-one page chapter by chapter overview of the encyclical.
Cardinal Tobin in his October 30, 2020 “Rejoice in the Lord” reflects on Fratelli Tutti.