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In This Issue
Parish Social Ministry Gathering
DVD's Available for Rental
Global Solidarity Fair
Living Our Faith In the World
CCHD Collection
Welcome Britt!
Inspiring Story on Immigration
Addressing Justice in the Workplace
Prayer From Cesar Chavez
Youth Leadership in Advocacy
Prayer from Bishop Romero
Some Great
Pastoral Practices!
-Parish Mission from JustFaith Ministries

-Seeing the Word blog
 Illuminating Families: Fulfilling Creation

-Prayer Practices
 for Faithful Citizens from USCCB
JRLC Day on the Hill
Save the Date!

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Quick Links 
Department of Social Concerns
Catholic Charities
2014 Fall Newsletter  

Happy Fall!

kathylanger maybe this beautiful picture of fall is not what we are seeing now, but it is good to remember the beauty we experienced just a few weeks ago.  Yes, and just a few weeks ago we all met at St. Francis Convent to reflect on Pope Francis' Joy of the Gospel and learn more about the scandal of poverty.  It is good to remember the beauty of that time together with new and old friends that share a passion for living out Catholic social teaching in our world.  Thanks to all who were able to share time, prayer, reflection and learning with us! Let us all remember and put into action what we have learned. 


It's that time again to welcome a new CCHD intern.  I want to call your attention to Britt Ortman and the insightful interviews she did for this edition of the newsletter.  She wanted to hear the stories of some pretty amazing people in our area and you can read about her and what she learned right here!  Please note too that each of the groups she is speaking with are CCHD funded, either through local CCHD funds or larger national grants.  We are blessed to have this work being done in our diocese and to have Britt as our new staff member!


Speaking of pretty amazing people, if you are reading this, you are one of them!  You are one of the many people in our diocese who care about those people who are struggling on the margins!  Amazing!  Why aren't you burnt out or deleting this email?  Because your heartfelt God-given compassion and tenacity will not let you quit.  Amazing!  You keep doing what you can, even looking for more that you can do at times.  Amazing!  Thank God for you!  We are making a difference in our diocese and in our world.  Sometimes we might not see huge change, but we all know, because of our faith in God, that changes are happening, little by little!  God is doing it before us and with us! Thank God for YOU!




PS.  Don't forget to 'like us' on Facebook, if you haven't yet!  

Parish Social Ministry Gathering


We are grateful and excited about the wonderful turnout at the Parish Social Ministry Gathering on October 24th & 25th! There were 75 participants at the gathering this year who were all there to learn and share about social justice issues in their communities. We are grateful to the Franciscan Sisters for hosting us and to Bishop Kettler for joining us on Friday and leading us in a very meaningful prayer service reflecting on Pope Francis' mission of serving our brothers and sisters who are marginalized. We had a wonderful liturgy team and beautiful music for all three of our prayer services. Thanks to Caroline from Liturgical Press and Shelby Vaske for the books and FairTrade items for sale. And finally, we all are so excited, energized and inspired by Jodi Pfarr's presentation of "Building Bridges Out of Poverty." Jodi is a very wise woman with a lot of social service experience and she gave us both practical and theoretical pieces of advice for how we can move forward and more inclusively engage when working with those who are struggling in our communities.
What You Can Do to Promote Human Dignity for our Immigrant Community!
Two great documentaries on immigration that you can show in your parishes!

Posada portrays the journeys of Densi, Johny and Wilber who, as teenagers, separately left their homes in Central America for the United States. They each were detained by7 immigration officials for months between 1999 and 2002. Their struggles helped pave the way for others to receive assistance. They relate their stories to Las Posadas, a Mexican tradition that retells the Christmas story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter.  Great for Advent or any time of year!

One Border One Body
 Watch the Trailer!

In the dry, rugged, and sun-scorched terrain where many immigrants lose their lives, bishops, priests and lay people come together each year to celebrate the Eucharist. Like other liturgies, they pray and worship together. Unlike other liturgies, a sixteen-foot iron fence divides this community in half, with one side in Mexico and the other in the United States. One Border, One Body tells the story of a ritual that unites people beyond the political constructions which divide them. Amidst a desert of death and a culture of fear, it testifies to God's universal, undivided, and unrestricted love for all people. It speaks of the gift and challenge of Christian faith and the call to feed the world's hunger for peace, justice and reconciliation. More than just another documentary on immigration, this film is a meditation of the Kingdom of God, a globalization of solidarity, and a journey of hope. 
Social Concerns has both of these documentaries to lend out!

Please contact Britt Ortmann at
for more information. 
Social Concerns Committee in Alexandria Sponsors Global

  Solidarity Fair 


The Committee for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is sponsoring a Global Solidarity Fair after masses on the weekend of November 15-16. The committee's goal for this event is to provide parishioners with the opportunity to participation in global solidarity efforts without the need for extensive travel and large financial layouts.


Global missions that will be featured in booths at the fair are: Feed My Starving Children, Unbound, Global Partners, Running Waters Inc., Micro Loans/Credit Groups, Immigration Legal Services, Heifer Project, Gift of Hope, Catholic Relief Services/Fair Trade and information from our Mission Office at the Diocese of St. Cloud. Our JPIC committee will also have a booth to provide a direct avenue for parishioners to assist them in becoming involved with the mission of their choice.


All are welcome to attend this great event, most especially Social Concerns committee members from other parishes in the diocese.


 Submitted by Kathleen Lingor

JPIC, Church of St. Mary in Alexandria 

Rural Effort Enters Second Year


The Social Concerns department of Catholic Charities has begun a second year of Catholic Social Teaching sessions, highlighting the parish social ministry that flows from these tenants. The effort, called the "Rural Leadership Development Initiative" targets rural parishes in the eastern end of the diocese and aims to educate and inspire groups that will serve as the focal point of each parishes outreach efforts.


The program is a response to Bishop Kinney's 2011 Pastoral Letter entitled 'AS I HAVE DONE FOR YOU...SO YOU ALSO SHOULD DO' where he asks that each parish have a Social Concerns Committee to take on the task of engaging in social ministry.  Bishop Kettler has added his support and encouragement to this effort as well.


The initiative begins with 9 monthly two-hour sessions beginning in September and ending in May. The sessions explore the four categories of parish social ministry-direct service, global solidarity, community organizing and legislative advocacy. Sessions also contain lessons in discernment, vocation and servant leadership.


Following the 9 sessions, a parish-wide 'listening session' gathers input that is used in strategic planning. A strategic planning session is held and a plan put together based on the input/ideas collected from parishioners and participants.


The final step is to hold a 'community conversation' where the community, not just the parish, is engaged in discussion, planning and action.


Last year, 9 parishes sent a total of 21 individuals to participate in this effort. Currently, Social Concerns staff is working with teams on their strategic plans. Some groups already have begun to take action!


The second wave of sessions have begun at St. Mary's in Little Falls on Wednesday, September 24th. Participating parishes this year include St. Mary's, Our Lady of Lourdes, Belle Prairie, Lastrup and Harding, Pierz and Buckman. The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls also will have representatives attending the sessions.


Continue to watch this newsletter for progress on this exciting effort!


Doug Scott

Rural Life Coordinator

CCHD Collection 2014 
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. Know that your donation is making a huge impact in our own Diocese as well as nationally.

A huge thank you to all those of you who made a donation this year to break the cycle of poverty!  If you would still like to donate, you can send it to: 

CCHD Collection
Diocese of St. Cloud
214 3rd Ave S,
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:
My name is Britt Ortmann and I am the new CCHD intern for the Department of Social Concerns this year! This internship is funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. I am very excited to be a part of this team. I have a strong interest in social justice issues and am passionate about how our faith can open us up to all the needs of the world and begin making small change.

A little bit about me, I grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a degree in Philosophy in 2013. After that, I spent a year serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps-a faith based service organization in Portland, Oregon. While there, I served as an advocate at Catholic Charities Housing Transitions, a permanent housing program for non-parenting chronically homeless women. I also spent the year living in an intentional living community with other volunteers. Now, I am in graduate school at the Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary pursuing a M.A. in Systematic Theology.

I'd like to introduce the next two articles to you as an incredible opportunity I've had to hear the stories of four inspiring individuals working toward social change in the St. Cloud area. Two are from the Greater Minnesota Worker Center and two are from La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles and both groups receive funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for community organizing. Their stories have left me energized and inspired to be a part of the hopeful work that occurs in our diocese daily. I truly believe that the sharing of stories opens up our hearts and worlds to experience life in a new way. May you feel refreshed by their work and may you have the opportunity to share your story to a generous and hopeful spirit.

Britt Ortmann
Social Concerns Intern



What is Bishop Kettler saying about the immigration issue? 


Read St. Cloud Times - Your Turn -



Seen Through the Eyes of Two Local Women

"Making a call, signing your name...makes that little difference for 11 million people."


For my internship in the Social Concerns Department, I recently interviewed Patty Keeling, an employee of Tech High School who serves on the board of La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles: a local faith based group that works toward immigration reform and paths to citizenship. Their focus is to work to give people a voice and develop leaders in the community. They do this in many ways: they begin every meeting with prayer, they provide support to families who have been affected by deportation by hosting workshops both for people who are undocumented and their employers to inform them of their basic rights. They also meet the third Saturday of every month for a prayer vigil at the Stearns County Jail and meet frequently for actions. At the actions, the members of La Asamblea peacefully pray, give testimonies and share their voices by chanting things like "Yes we can!" and "Minnesota si se nota" (take notice, we are from Minnesota).


Patty also introduced me to Paulina Bustillos whom she met through La Asamblea. Paulina moved to the United States when she was 5 months old. She is now 16, a student at Tech High School, and still does not have legal status. Has she applied? Yes, several years ago but, as her family's attorney informed her, that could take quite a while. Paulina's parents made the difficult decision to move to the United States "for her," she said, and to escape the pains in Chihuahua, Mexico which included a tremendous fear for their safety, police issues, difficulty finding employment, wage theft and a much different education system.


Paulina has been approved for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This was an order placed by President Obama in June of 2012 which allows people under the age of 31, who came to the U.S. as children, to obtain temporary permission to stay without being deported. DACA allows individuals to obtain a social security number, work permit, access to school and the ability to apply for a driver's license. To apply, individuals need to be able to prove they have been in the U.S. for a significant period of time and to pay a significant fee totaling $465.00.


With DACA, Paulina has been able to get a part time job and hopes to get a driver's license in the future. When we were talking about DACA, Paulina told me that she wanted to make sure her education wasn't disrupted. She is proud of the school she goes to, she gets good grades and wants to go to college. She is currently considering the University of Minnesota Duluth.


At school, Paulina is a part of a social justice group that meets weekly to discuss important issues. The group also volunteers in the community by doing bell ringing for Salvation Army, March for Homelessness in Minneapolis, and many other opportunities that come up throughout the year. Paulina noted some hesitancy about bringing up the issue of immigration and sharing her story with her fellow group members, but courageously did it anyway. "I thought they would judge me," she said, "but they didn't." They accepted it without question and have supported her since. "I am proud of what we are doing," she said. Paulina is also very involved with La Assamblea de Derechos Civiles, which her parents joined nine years ago. This past summer, she joined La Asamblea on a trip to Washington D.C. where they were asking congress for immigration reform through prayer and marching.


Paulina said that there "are a lot of negative stereotypes about Latinos taking jobs and being lazy." She said that people need to know "we are here for a's a huge part of our lives and some people are reminded of it every day." She said sometimes "it is constant sadness, fear and joy and it is not something you can just put by day I manage my fear, sometimes it puts me down because at any moment, I could be gone."


Despite the fears, Paulina stays committed and brave.  She said what keeps her going is "the fact that I could become something bigger. My mom also motivates me, the little things keep me going, La Asamblea gives me hope and keeps me going, people coming together keeps me going."


Patty also told me "when I see kids crying ...when I see dear friends... when I see teenagers and this is their only home...all in fear because they are not sure if they are going to be able to stay...that keeps me going."


Patty and Paulina told me that the best way to get involved with La Asamblea is by participating in a vigil or an action they host and for more information, you can visit their webpage here.

Want to act now? 

Join in the Justice for Immigrants National White House call-in effort now through November 13. 

Find details HERE!

Justice in the Workplace


The mission of the Greater Minnesota Worker Center is to help low wage workers address workplace issues and conditions concerning safety, worker's rights, harassment, racism, wage theft, excessive line speeds and other workplace issues. The Center provides support by hosting educational workshops on voter registration, voter rights and worker rights. In November of 2013, they organized an action calling attention to the unjust practices of a local temp agency. (Read article here). Dale Moerke, a member of the Center's Board of Directors, explained that this instilled confidence in the workers by showing them that, "More people together, gets people to listen." With 27 years of experience in the packing-house industry, Dale believes that wage theft is a significant issue that affects workers who fear their citizenship status will be discovered if they report the theft. Safety is another important issue because of the fast assembly-line speeds. "This wears and tears on the body, which causes a higher risk of injury." The Worker Center hopes to improve these situations and others by empowering people to know their rights and to address concerns with their employers.  


Alisha Williams, who is involved with the Center and has lived the struggle, was able to address some of these workplace issues. Eight years ago, as a 20 year old single mother, she put off school and her degree to work two jobs, one at McDonalds and one at Walmart, just to pay the bills for herself and her son. She said she couldn't believe that even after working sixty hours a week, she still didn't make enough to cover her basic needs. Aside from the very low wages, there was another concern Alisha noted in the two well-known businesses-the simple manner in which they treated their employees. Alisha felt that she was being treated more like a number that a person who was respected for her hard work and skills.  Issues such as inflexibility if her child was sick, being expected to work twelve hour days, and the significant disconnect between workers and management that was evident when the rights and time off of workers were left unexplained, made her work even more difficult.


In 2009, Alisha got a new job that paid her about $3.00 more an hour and the impact was tremendous. She was able to cut her hours back to 40 per week and to begin attending college. Alisha studied Sociology at Saint Cloud State University and in the spring of 2014 took a class with Dr. Stephen Philion, the executive director of Greater MN Worker Center.  She graduated with a Sociology degree in 2014.


Alisha believes in "giving people an avenue to affect change" and to help low-wage workers get the courage to talk to their employers so that they can "see themselves as an asset, know they matter and live meaningful lives outside of work." 

When asked what she thought the general public needed to know about these issues she explained that there needs to be a "belief that low wage workers deserve fair pay, that they have skills, are doing important work to give people what they need for their families and they work very hard." If more people believed this, she said, workers at McDonalds or Walmart would be treated better than they are now.


Alisha said that her son gave her the power to keep going. She wanted to provide for him even when she was tired and felt powerless. She said it was "spirit breaking not to have the power to take him to the doctor or the park or day care." The experience made her stronger, though, and familiar with struggle, stress and pain but also with overcoming. She said "the experience taught me to be vocal, ask questions, and exercise my rights."


Alisha said that a way to get involved with the Worker Center is to come to an action (which you can hear about through Facebook here). "It's good for people to feel that others out there believe they deserve a fair wage and rights." Also, she encouraged us to "be kind."


The Worker Center will soon have an office! They welcome donations such as bookshelves, desks or any office furniture and are excited to have a space where people can be welcomed with information and a space to share their story. Anyone with skills or experience with labor issues or worker's rights would contribute greatly by being involved.

Prayer for the Farm Worker's Struggle


Show me the suffering of the most miserable;

So I will know my people's plight. 


Free me to pray for others;

... For you are present in every person.


Help me to take responsibility for my own life;

So that I can be free at last.


Grant me courage to serve others;

For in service there is true life.


Give me honesty and patience;

So that I can work with other workers.


Bring forth song and celebration;

So that the spirit will be alive among us.


Let the spirit flourish and grow;

So we will never tire of the struggle.


Let us remember those who have died for justice;

For they have given us life.


Help us love even those who hate us;

So we can change the world.


-Cesar E. Chavez
Youth Leaders & Legislative Advocacy

Two active participants of social justice from  the St Cloud Diocese are Paulina Bustillos and Eden Amkerdey. Both are members of Asamblea de Derechos Civiles and a social justice group at Tech High School where they currently attend.

On June 16th they boarded a bus with 45 others in route to Washington DC to visit with Congresspeople from Minnesota concerning comprehensive immigration reform which would include a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country today. 
On this trip it was interesting to watch how these two participated in the visits and actions. While working at Tech I often hear of stories they have shared in classes through others. They are truly beacons for the work of justice in our community and our country. 

 When asked what the highlights of the trip were, Paulina stated she had not realized how uncompromising some politicians are. When doing the visit at a legislator's office, the staff, refusing to allow us in, called the police. We then lined the hallway, prayed, sang loudly "This Little Light of Mine" while holding small lit candles. To our surprise, Jersey Vargas, the 4th grader who was kissed by the Pope Francis as she asked for help for her father who was in deportation proceedings, joined our group. After leaving this legislator's office, Jersey spoke with us about her story and her mission to help others. Her hope was not only to visit the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but also have a conversation with the President. Paulina felt very inspired by such a young child to take on this mission.

I was impressed by their texting back about their experiences to Tech leaders and the group. I feel assured there will be things shared at Tech in Social Studies and Government classes, as these two young women share their experience of government with their classmates. 

Submitted by Patty Keeling, St. Joseph Parish, Waite Park
The Prayer of Oscar Romero

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, 
It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete,
Which is another way of saying that
The Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that should be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
Knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produced effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
And there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
A step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
But that is the difference
Between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
Ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own.
-Archbishop Oscar Romero
Hope to see you at our events!

Kathy Langer
Directer of Social Concerns

Doug Scott
Rural Life Coordinator
Britt Ortmann
Social Concerns Intern
    Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Cloud, MN