The Human Concerns Committee discerns needs of persons in the parish and wider community, especially the poor, and identifies resources to meet those needs enlisting the active cooperation of parish members. This committee fulfills the justice dimensions of scripture and our church tradition acknowledging that every Christian is called to service and to work for justice, including Respect Life efforts.
The committee’s scope of responsibility is two-fold:
- to meet immediate needs
- to work for changes in the structures of society which are oppressive.
Committee members are not responsible to actually DO all of the committee’s work but rather to INVOLVE OTHERS in actively accepting the responsibility of their Baptism. The committee supports those in the parish who are already involved in service, advocacy, justice education, and empowerment of people. This committee works with community groups and other parishes to help solve related problems. They keep parishioners aware of issues relating to justice, peace, hunger and the homeless on local, national and international levels so that appropriate Christian action on such issues can be determined.
- Discerns the social needs of various ages within the parish and the wider community, especially the poor.
- Develops responses and programs to meet those needs, as well as identifies resources and makes referrals to already existing church agencies and community groups.
- Involves others in actively accept the responsibility of their Baptism –to help people in need.
- Supports those in the parish who are already involved in service to the needy, whether church-centered or in some other area.
- Develops a consciousness within the parish of the major social problems in the community and the world.
- Works with other parish committees, community groups, and neighboring parishes and/or denominations to help solve social problems.
- Determines budget priorities in the areas of the committee’s responsibilities and makes recommendations to the parish council through the Administration Committee.
- Seeks to respond to needs through a balance of four approaches:
Direct Service – assists the parish in performing works of charity and relating to organizations that provide service.
Justice Education – helps the parish integrate a justice dimension in all its sacramental and teaching ministries.
Advocacy – relates to organizations which advocate for people in need and changes in public policy.
Empowerment – assists the parish to relate to social change organizations in which people take actions themselves on the issues which affect them.