We are living out the Gospel as apostles of faith, hope and love by promoting model relationships that are rooted in truth, compassion, equality and peace. Our faith calls us to respond immediately to serve those in need. The values of our Church teachings direct our efforts to work for justice and peace. Under the guidance of our Pastor, Father Jim Casciotti, S.J., we aim to address the challenges that affect the work of justice in our community. At Saint Ignatius, the Justice & Peace Committee serves as a leadership ministry for advocacy subcommittees and educational approaches; as well as a ministry that works in collaboration with social responsibility ministries and parishioner-driven projects. Externally, we seek to establish and nurture relationships consistent with our mission and vision.
Here, we offer a snapshot of us living out the Gospel:
Our parishioners organize regular collections of groceries for the Catholic Worker Viva House; and prepare and deliver food and warm clothing to poor and homeless Baltimoreans through our weekend Loaves and Fishes Ministry. The Respect for Life Ministry has expanded their work and is partnering with the Gabriel Network to support women and families challenged with crisis pregnancies; the Green Team just completed a facilitated reading of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, and is coordinating a parish-wide recycling program of electronics; the Racial Justice subcommittee regularly sponsors workshops with the support of the Racial Justice Circle on racial equity and privilege; work on food insecurity issues is ongoing with our partner, Bread for the World [who informs communities about hunger-related problems and fosters Christian response and legislation for long-term solutions], and has led us to support letter-writing campaigns and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. involving not only adults but also members of our PREP program; engagement and support of key labor topics continues with our Economic Justice subcommittee which include: the Maryland campaign for Earned Sick Days and the veto override efforts with our partner, JOTF (Job Opportunities Task Force), the Fight for $15 Baltimore movement, and with the Baltimore Housing Roundtable on the 20/20 Campaign. Our Immigration Subcommittee launched the ‘Share the Journey’ Campaign to support Immigrants and Refugees beginning with a family mentoring info-session and agreement with the International Rescue Committee to mentor two families; we are also exploring mentoring and volunteer opportunities with the Tahirih Women’s Center which serves women and children of domestic violence. On November 6, we joined more than 1400 Jesuit advocates in Washington, D.C. with our partner, Ignatian Solidarity Network, for the Public Witness and Day on the Hill. It was a valuable experience and we made visits to our legislators advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, the passing of a clean Dream Act and numerous pieces of legislation to protect people here under deferred action, temporary protected status, and refugee status. Equally important, we asked lawmakers to commit to work on reforming the American criminal justice system to make it more just and fair, and do whatever is possible to eliminate systemic racial bias in this system.
Our goal is to deepen our understanding of the principles of Catholic social teaching and then, through word and action, to help integrate these principles more fully into the life of our parish community. How you can help? By supporting us with your time, talent, and ideas; and expand our efforts to new areas. If our work sounds interesting and you want to know more about Justice & Peace work, we invite you to join us at our next meeting. We look forward to meeting you then.