SALT LAKE CITY — Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ means more than showing up to Mass on Sunday. Few Catholics would dispute that, but sometimes individuals are uncertain just how to follow the Savior’s admonition to love their neighbor as themselves.
An upcoming peace and justice seminar being sponsored by the Diocese of Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 4 will address that question. The seminar will focus on parish social ministry and give participants an overview of the upcoming Social Action Summer Institute “Two Feet, One Voice: Building a Home for All” to be held at the University of Utah July 25-28.
Currently five parishes in the diocese — St. Ambrose, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Newman Center and the Cathedral of the Madeleine — have social ministry teams.
The Diocese of Salt Lake City Pastoral Plan, which was released last year, calls for parishes to “increase pastoral outreach and accompaniment to those on the margins of society.” This can be accomplished through social ministry. Another of Bishop Oscar A. Solis’ goals to have strong social ministry programs in the diocese, said Jean Hill, director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace.
“Any parishioner who is interested in putting their faith into action and giving the rest of their parish the opportunity to do so as a community” will benefit from the seminar, Hill said.
“We want to introduce the idea of Catholic social teaching and working toward justice and our Biblical call to work toward a more just world; and the basics of how parish social ministry can help people do that within their parish community,” she said.
At the seminar, Susie McNutt, a member of the diocesan parish social ministry team and St. Ambrose parishioner, will explore the Biblical roots of parish social ministry and introduce the seven themes of Catholic social teaching. Members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s social ministry team also will share how they have put those principles to work in the lives of parishioners and in serving the community.
Parish social ministry is a great way for people to put their faith into action within a faith community as called for by Pope Francis, said Hill, who will speak about the upcoming Social Action Summer Institute and the opportunities available to local Catholics there.
“If they really want to find a way to create a tight and vibrant parish community, parish social ministry can really invigorate a parish because it takes people out of [only] Sunday [worship] and helps them use what they believe, use what they’re learning on Sunday out in the real world dealing with real issues,” she said.
Hill encourages all local Catholics who can to attend the institute in July.
“They’re going to be inspired … and learn a lot of skills to help them put this in place and make it successful for their parish community,” she said.
This will be the first time SASI has been held in Salt Lake City. The cost is $335 for the four-day institute or $75 for the workshop day. Scholarships may be available for those who have financial constraints. Those unable to attend the seminar can find out more about the institute by contacting Hill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The half-day seminar on May 4 is free and open to all.