What does the Lord require of you?
To do justice, to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with our God.
– Micah 6:8
The mission of social justice ministry at Lumen Christi is to promote the Gospel message of justice and charity in our service to our parish, neighborhood and world community.
Education for the parish on the work of Casa Guadalupana which provides, immediate, temporary housing for individuals who have applied for asylum. Asylum is a legal protection granted under U.S. law, for a person who has been forced to flee their country of origin due to persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular group. The average length of the asylum process is 1000 days.
We have continued to encourage support for Catholic Charities which is experiencing high financial and volunteer demand in light of the pandemic. Bulletin announcements to support these needs have been made. Parish volunteers continue to help with meal serving and mask making.
A group of 12 volunteers will be calling Ramsey County residents who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census solicitation. At this point, MN is #1 in the nation for its response rate. St. Paul is #2 in the country for cities its size (after Seattle) for response rate. Nonetheless, with the possible loss of a congressional seat and also federal funding, there is an urgent need to keep the pressure on to get as many responses as possible. Thanks to our volunteers.
Since its founding in 2000 Centro Guadalupano’s mission has been “to be companions on the journey with immigrant families and the economically disadvantaged by providing educational programs and human services.” Its overarching goal is to provide the diverse community members with the tools and resources needed to achieve a higher quality of life and greater self-sufficiency. Providing educational opportunities for the children of our immigrant families through out-of-school time programming is a key part of fulfilling this goal.
However, Centro Guadalupano is facing two significant challenges in 2020:
The first is of course a result of the coronavirus. Under social distancing restrictions CG has had to suspend their services to immigrant families for the time being. Currently they are evaluating alternatives to re-establish connections including virtual options, but many of those they serve lack on-line capabilities.
Secondly, CG is housed in Holy Rosary Catholic Church and is part of Holy Rosary’s 501 C 3 non-profit organization. However. the Dominican Friars of the Central Province had notified the Holy Rosary Community that after 140 years of faithful service, they will be concluding their ministry at Holy Rosary as of June 30, 2020. The Archdiocese will immediately begin working with the parishioners, leadership, and staff of Holy Rosary to discern the next steps for the parish community and CG. As a result the future for CG and Holy Rosary holds a great deal of uncertainty.
As the Holy Rosary Community, and CG undergo their discernment process with the Archdiocese, there may be opportunities for Lumen Christi Catholic Community and other main stream churches and organizations to speak out in support of CG’s 20 years of service and critical importance to the Minneapolis inner city.
About a year ago, we met them at the airport. Since then, Chantal and her family have become part of the hearts of Lumen Christi. Here’s an update on our Congolese refugee family:
Because Chantal and her family have become part of the hearts of Lumen Christi, our hearts have been changed. Instead of serving a new immigrant family, we now just do what you do when you love someone and they love you back. And our advocacy work for MFIP, SNAP funds and other services for the poor now has a face.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s JRLC Day on the Hill was reconfigured as an on-line conference. The event – “"JRLC Day on the Screen” was conducted on Zoom on April 1st, and had a total of about 190 participants – rather impressive given the difficult situation.
In past years part of the JRLC agenda was dedicated to in-person meetings with our state legislators which also had to be rescheduled and conducted on Zoom on April 22. In this conference, both Rep. Dave Pinto (D64B), and Rep. Kaohly Her (D64A), met with 9 constituents from District 64 met – almost all members of Lumen Christi. These constituents included Margert George, Mike Harley, Sue Hoffert, Jackie Mosio, Rita Quigley, Marty Roers, Martha Skold, Carol Tauer, Dennis Degeneffe, and also Mary Baumgartner, JRLC’s State Wide Organizer.
The primary purpose of the conference was to voice support for the JRLC Action Agenda – which has changed somewhat since it was initially announced due the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low income families. The revised agenda called for legislative support for the following:
Both Reps. Pinto and Her voiced support for all three of these actions, and in fact Rep. Pinto is an author of a bill currently on the house floor with regard to an increase in the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program. Both expect that the TANF federal funding will be authorized for the MFIP program, but both sited concern that the driver’s license reinstatement plan would be opposed by the house majority and would unlikely to come to the floor.
Following the JRLC agenda, a question and answer session resulted in a very frank and insightful discussion between our representatives and the group. Some of the key take-aways offered in a recap of the conversation included:
o Be coronavirus related.
o Deal with infrastructure/emergency issues.
o Have bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
A “Room for Discussion” was scheduled to be conducted on the mental health and addiction challenges individuals, families, and friends face in our parish … and how we as a parish can provide comfort and support to those in our church and community to cope with their mental health and addiction challenges. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak the RFD was indefinitely postponed.
The good news is that almost all of the work in planning and staging the RFD has been done, and can easily be “taken off the shelf” and used at a future date when the time is right. Once we schedule it, we will simply need to promote it, and conduct it. The biggest part of this is the re-recruiting of volunteers – we had a total of 34 – including a moderator, table facilitators, story tellers, people helping with set up and clean up, people making fliers/posters and so on.
If you volunteered for March 23rd, you will again be contacted by e-mail in hopes that you can participate.
Ford Plant Redevelopment
Dorothy Day Revision – Worked with Catholic Charities to study homelessness in Saint Paul and the plans for the new Dorothy Day Center.
Ending Youth Homelessness – Joined with Catholic Charities as they work toward ending youth homelessness.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform – Know the Catholic position! – Immigration reform is a critical issue facing our nation today. The importance of advocating for just Immigration Reform is a matter of faith grounded in our Catholic experience as an immigrant church and the respect of the human dignity of our immigrant sisters and brothers.
Lumen Christi Immigration Statement Aug. 2018 Click here
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Teachings on Immigration Click here
ILCM Fact Sheets about Immigration Issues in MN: https://www.ilcm.org/news-immigration-in-minnesota/
American Immigration Council:
Minnesota Compass: https://www.mncompass.org/immigration/overview