In This Issue
Parish Social Ministry Gathering
La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles
Farm Bill
New Intern Introduction
Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative
Rural Life Celebration
Rural Communtiy Organizing
CCHD Collection
Save the Date!

JRLC hosts: 
Day On The Hill 

Thursday, March 13, 2014!

A day of interfaith partnership and active involvement in social justice and public policy!

We will be taking a bus from St. Cloud again this year. 

Parish Social Ministry Gathering
Join us October 19th from 9:30-3:30 for a time of gathering and faith sharing. 
Register by calling Ruth at (320)650-1657 
Quick Links 
Department of Social Concerns
Catholic Charities
2013 Fall Newsletter  
Happy Fall Day to You!

I want to quickly say 3 things so you
can get to the rest of this great newsletter!  It is worth reading every word!  So...

Number 1: Please consider coming to the Oct. 19th gathering in Rice to share your stories of success as well as laugh a bit about some of your blunders or near blunders.  We have a number of new people coming wanting to learn from others.  You are needed!

Number 2:  How  do you like that Pope Francis?  He opens his mouth and I am inspired by his courage, wisdom and love of the poor and marginalized.  I never get tired of reading what he is saying.  If you would like to read his August interview follow this link

Number 3:  We have a new bishop, Bishop Donald Kettler.  To view his announcement follow this link
We also remember Bishop Kinney as he is recovering and thank him for being a champion for Catholic social teaching and justice in our Diocese.  He has been an inspiring and gifted leader!  We are grateful for his service to our Diocese.

Oh, I need a number 4!  Mark your calendars for the next JRLC Day on the Hill.  It is Thursday March 13 and we will again provide a bus to the event.   

Enough from me.  Please read on! 

2013 Parish Social Ministry Gathering
October 19, 2013  
"What's Working Across the Diocese?" 

You won't want to miss this! It is open to anyone interested in learning more about Parish Social Ministry or needing a 'tune up' and some inspiration. It is a great event to bring not only seasoned and new PSM committee members, but also parish councils and parish leaders to learn more!

Time: 9:30-3:30
Coffee and rolls served at 9:00.
Cost for the day is $12

We will gather at Immaculate Conception Parish in Rice, MN. This day will be filled with prayer, conversation, presentations and some fun too! Together we will explore practical and proven practices and share our common passion for living out Catholic social teaching.
Register by contacting Ruth at (320)650-1657.

For scholarship funding contact Kathy at

Please register by October 11th so we can have an accurate count for lunch which is being catered by Creative Catering.
La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles


La Asamblea de Derechos Civlies is a statewide, faith-based organization which organizes immigrants from predominantly Latino congregations to organize in an effort to change the immigration system and the underlying political and economic structures behind it.

One of the big challenges that immigrants are dealing with is putting a voice to the issues of violations and unfair treatment of immigrants.  Asamblea's leaders believe that to hear is to have a clear vision.  This means paying attention to the community and being able to re-evaluate what these violations and unfair treatment are doing to the livelihood and dignity of immigrants.   

This past August, the Waite Park chapter of Asamblea went on a "Dream For All" bus tour for "A Path to Citizenship."  During this tour they visited members of Congress and talked with them about the current issues involving immigration.  Prayer was central during this trip, both in the bus and in the legislators' offices.

For more information about what's happening in the world of immigration and what the US Bishops are saying, visit Justice For Immigrants!
Farm Bill 
"Freedom from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete manifestation of that right to life which, although solemnly proclaimed, often remains far from being effectively implemented." 
-- Pope Benedict XVI, World Food Day 2011
On June 10th, 2013, the Senate Farm Bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, was passed.  This act serves to help family farmers,  ranchers, and fruit and vegetable growers.  In the past over 75% of the bill has been set aside for nutrition programs around the country and abroad.  The new bill looks to cut that by $40 billion over the next ten years.  These are funds crucial to the health and wellness of the millions of people living in poverty.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human
Development, sent a letter on September 11 to the House urging them to reconsider cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) saying: 
"Adequate and nutritious food is a fundamental human right and a basic need that is integral to protecting the life and dignity of the human person. SNAP is one of the most effective and important federal programs to
combat hunger in the nation by helping to feed millions
of persons in need every year."

The letter goes on to say: 

"The faith community and the private sector
are vital in the fight to combat hunger.  But government has an indispensable role in safeguarding and promoting the common good of all.  This includes ensuring poor and hungry people have access to adequate and nutritious food."

While progress is being made, there is much to be done.  To follow the progress of this action click on either of the links below.
Prayer For Our Political Leaders!

Almighty and eternal God,
We ask that you guide our political leaders and elected authorities. Fill them with your Holy Spirit and lead them to make decisions based on the life of Christ- promoting peace, justice, and love. Help them to have a positive impact on our nation and world. Help them to uphold the life and dignity of all people and to work for the common good.  May we live in accordance to your will.
In Your name we pray,
Meet the New Intern!
Hello! My name is Ruth Knowles and I am a Senior at St. Cloud State University, studying Business Management. I am the new 2013-2014 Social Concerns intern for Catholic Charities and CCHD, Diocese of St. Cloud! I am extremely excited about this new opportunity and look forward to being part of such an amazing organization.

My faith journey started at a young age going to church services and attending church events with my family.  As I grew up I learned to appreciate my faith leaders more and became a Peer Minister at Christ Church Newman Center.  During that time and in the years that followed I became active in ministry trips around the country and spent a lot of time serving those in need.  I am honored to be able to continue that journey with Catholic Charities.  During my time as the social concerns intern I would like to be part of educating our communities about the needs facing those living on the margin.
Some of my personal hobbies include sand volleyball, anything on the water, music, and spending time with my amazing family!  I am also looking forward to planning a wedding with my new fiance'!

Rural Life Initiative Gathers Momentum


An initiative to establish social ministry teams in rural parishes has begun in the eastern-end of the St. Cloud diocese.  The Social Concerns department of Catholic Charities, St. Cloud, is conducting the effort in partnership with Catholic Charities USA and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.  If successful, the NCRLC is considering rolling out a similar program across the country.


Social ministry committees focus on issues involving direct service, community organizing, legislative advocacy and global solidarity.


Last month, 25 individuals representing 10 parishes met at St. Louis Church in Foreston, MN for the first of 9 sessions. The effort, entitled 'Living our Faith in the World,' will inform and inspire participants on all aspects of social ministry. At the conclusion of the sessions, participants will invite other members of their parish to join brainstorming sessions, focusing on needs and possible solutions in their own parish and beyond.


While all parishes should maintain a social ministry committee, the need is especially poignant in our rural parishes, where limited access to information and services presents special challenges.  Track the progress of the initiative through this newsletter in the coming months.  And watch the Spirit at work in our rural parishes!


Doug Scott, Rural Life Coordinator

Catholic Charities, St. Cloud

Rural Life Celebration

Since 2005, the Diocese of St. Cloud and Catholic Charities have teamed up with a local parish or cluster to sponsor the Rural Life Celebration! On August 18th, Mass with Bishop Kinney started the celebration at the
Onamia Depot Library. Following that was a picnic lunch, live entertainment, and a Farmer's Market to celebrate the goodness of God's creation.

View the amazing photos of this wonderful event below!

Rural Life Fund:
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud has established a Rural Life Fund to help rural families in need. Small emergency funds are available for rural individuals and families in financial hardship.

To access the fund, contact your local pastor.  Needs will be reviewed and assessed on a case by case basis. Unfortunately, available funds do not allow us to assist with mortgage, utility or rent payments.

 Rural Life Fund Brochure (PDF)

Next years Rural Life Celebration will be held on a farm near Princeton, MN on August 17th, 2014.  Please mark your calendars!


What Does Rural Community Organizing Look Like in Action?


Five years ago, a small group of folks from the Staples/Motley area gathered to address the enormous poverty issues in our communities.  This group consisted of lay community leaders, clergy and faith leaders.  They met to discuss a unified approach to provide aide to people with immediate and emergent needs.

C.A.R.E.  (Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Ecumenism) Ministry was created to provide assistance to people in need.  A board of directors was formed to govern this new venture. Local Churches were asked to contribute yearly to the ministry and donations were also received.  With this money, vouchers were distributed, at the digression of the C.A.R.E. board, for groceries, meals, gas, bus transportation, and clothing to those most in need.  A monthly meal, serving 180-200 people, is provided at no cost, along with the "GREAT Coat Giveaway" which gifts 400-600 people of all ages with new and/or used coats each year. 
The effort didn't stop there, since a few committed people began to meet monthly to evaluate what else could be done to address poverty on a larger scope.  Various agencies were notified regarding this mission.  Looking more deeply into poverty, its causes and effects on people, and determining what could be done about it, became a common mantra for many.  The Blandin Foundation saw the community vision and decided to partner with this group and coordinate the efforts to address local poverty.
Following these many meetings and multiple exchanges of emails, an educational and informative process called Leaders Partnering to End Poverty (LPEP) was established and funded by Blandin.  This plan consists of monthly training and events in the Staples/Motley area for about 35-45 people.  These folks come from all walks of life.  About half of the men and women in attendance live either at or below the poverty line. Community conversations were then hosted by LPEP and Blandin.  This discussion allowed for sharing of thoughts and questions raised by people about this initiative. 
Several major events have been planned and carried out over the past year to facilitate community awareness, including workshops on poverty awareness, a community picnic featuring information about what is being done locally to address poverty, and a community meal featuring a local theater group presenting vignettes reflecting the truth and misconceptions surrounding the issues of poverty.  Each of these events brought hundreds of people together from the communities to discuss local poverty.
Focus groups have also been formed to address issues of concern that have been identified.  They include: Transportation and Poverty, Circles of Support, Healthy Food Availability, Youth Activities, Mental Health Services, Community Unity and Resource and Referrals.
Now, since the wheels have been set in motion, perhaps hope, courage and expectations for at least a few rural communities in which poverty will be discussed and understood, is possible.  Much continued work is at hand as the plight of the Gospel's "Little Ones" will be more understood.  And with God's help solutions will be sustained.
Submitted by a Staples, MN Resident
CCHD Collection 2013
 The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by funding community programs that encourage independence.  CCHD works locally  and nationally to empower low-income individuals and assist them in building their communities and breaking the cycle of poverty with lasting solutions.  You are essential to its success.

Your generous donation
s will give those in poverty the 
support they need to make lasting changes. Together, we can make a difference in families and communities here in our Diocese and across the United States. 
The date of our collection in the St. Cloud Diocese has been changed to the weekend of the 3rd Sunday in September and will be from this point on. It fell on September 14th and 15th, this year. There are a few parishes that will be taking up this collection in November this year but will be moving it to September next year.  Please note that the collection in 2014 will be taken up in your parishes on Sept. 20-21.

A huge thank you to all those who were able to give to break the cycle of poverty!  If you would still like to donate, you can send you donations to: 

Diocese of St. Cloud
P.O. Box 1248
St. Cloud MN 56302

Checks mailed to the diocese should be written out to "Diocese of St. Cloud." Include in the memo line "CCHD collection."  

To learn more about CCHD, its history, or the grants follow the link below:
CCHD is now accepting pre-applications for both community and economic development grants! Click on the link below for more information:

CCHD Grant Information 
Hope to see you at our events!

Kathy Langer
Directer of Social Concerns
Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Cloud, MN

Ruth Knowles
Social Concerns Intern
Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Cloud, MN