Social Justice

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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.

About us

Catholic Social Teaching

Casa Guadalupana

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.

Catholic Charities

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.

 

Census Calling

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.

 

Centro Guadalupano

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.

 

Circle of Welcome

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:

  • Mwamini, who just turned 3, is charging through Spring on her PINK birthday balancing bike having been celebrated with waffles and cake by her Lumen Christi family. She’s missing her weekly music class where she plays drums and dances with ribbons.
  • Louis and Wema have passed two levels of swimming lessons and are ready to safely take on Lake Phalen this summer. They’re “Distance Learning” with school-issued ipads after Marty worked with their school to overcome all the technical issues.
  • Chantal worked for a month at her new job with an amazing boss, supportive community, a family-friendly schedule, solid pay and benefits. Covid took the job away for now, and because she hadn’t earned enough income, unemployment wasn’t an option. She’s awaiting the lottery drawing for the St. Paul Bridge Fund. She can sleep at night knowing her April and May rent are covered thanks to the generosity of Lumen Christi donors.
  • The family periodically gets surprise drop offs of activity books, craft projects and Easter baskets. And texts, and calls while personal visits aren’t an option.

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.

 

JRLC

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:

  • A Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) disbursement of existing federal funding available from the TANF Program of $500 Emergency Payments to needy families.
  • Bringing child assistance care through the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) into compliance w/federal guidelines – Minnesota currently reimburses child care providers at the 25th percentile of a 2011 market rate survey, and the federal guideline is the 75th percentile.
  • Reinstatement of suspended driver’s licenses which has become an even more critical issue for low income wage earners to maintain employment

 

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:

  • The legislative situation has become even more complicated, fluid and changing almost day to day. It is critical to stay in touch with events and what is going on.
  • Just to get to the floor of the house, bills need to meet a 3-point set of criteria imposed by the majority. A bill must:

o Be coronavirus related.

o Deal with infrastructure/emergency issues.

o Have bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

  • Having both Rep. Her, and Rep. Pinto engage in discussion added a lot of depth to the conversation vs. had they each met with us separately.
  • The ability to influence may be mutual in these types of meetings – perhaps as we intended to do, we might have influenced our legislators to support our causes, but in our case (where they share a great deal of our values and concerns) they may have influenced our commitment to advocate. “It may be a way of having skin in the game” that can build commitment, dedication and resolve.
  • To change the partisan divide we really need to get out into other less Democratic districts and reach out.

 

Mental Health Support

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.

 

Sisters of St Joseph

  • The CSJ Justice Commission and working groups continue to find ways to raise our collective voices for our most vulnerable dear neighbors throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.  Learn more about current actions you can take at the end of the MN State Legislative Session on our Take Action page.
  • The CSJ community will be hosting a week of online speakers the week of May 16ththrough the 24th to honor the 5th Anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.  More information in the coming days, or go to the CSJ Peace Prayer webpage where updates will be posted in the coming days.
  • During this time when public health is such a concern, we understand daily life is changing for us in various challenging ways. This  Joseph’s Workshop webpage will offer frequent messages of hope and resources for handling our new reality and much more.

 

Issues We Have Worked On:

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.

Justice and Immigration

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:
https://americanimmigrationcouncil.org/

Minnesota Compass: https://www.mncompass.org/immigration/overview

Justice Immigration Quotes

Parishioner Stories

Immigration Stories in the News

 

 

Reasons to help the hungry video