Like us on Facebook
In This Issue
Immigration Sunday
January 3, 2016
Find resources for your parish coming soon to: 

New Resources for YOU!

The Department of Social Concerns now owns the incredible documentary on Pope Francis called:
The Francis Effect
Featured Article
What action, if any, do you want your members to take? Add a "Find out more" link to additional information that you may have hosted on your website
Department of Social Concerns
Catholic Charities
of the Diocese of St. Cloud
Fall Newsletter 2015  

Thank you for stopping long enough to read our newsletter!  We hope that it is helpful for you as you do the wonderful work of charity and justice in our diocese and beyond.  You are kathylanger a gift!

The question in this office, when we are putting together a newsletter, is always, "How can we help parish social ministry teams do their work?"  We hope that this newsletter gives you some ideas, inspiration and/or resources you find helpful.  Let us know what you are looking for that you found and what you would love to see.  We love hearing from you!

We also are here to provide educational opportunities as well as opportunities to share ideas.  Each year we do that at our annual Parish Social Ministry Gathering, which took place on Saturday, October 10 in Swanville.  See the story and pics below.  Again let us know what you would like to see next year at this gathering.  We love hearing from you!

I started this note to you in CAPITAL LETTERS for a reason.  Sometimes I feel like you are WAY OUT THERE and we are here wondering just WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP YOU.  LET US KNOW!  WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!

For years our goal has been to get out to you as much as we can and for that reason we have acquired a new Rural Life Coordinator for the western region of the Diocese, thanks to Catholic Rural Life and the Diocese of St. Cloud. Her name is JoAnn Braegelman.  We are now a team of four, so you won't have to SHOUT AS LOUD TO GET OUR ATTENTION!


Autumn Blessings!

Kathy Langer

The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls and Bishop Kettler 

To Honor
Parish Social Ministry Teams from across the Diocese!

You are invited... 
The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN, in honor of the 125th anniversary of our Congregation, invite you to a special afternoon to honor your ministry of social justice within your parishes and in the Diocese of St. Cloud.  This celebration is scheduled at St. Francis in Little Falls, MN  for Sunday, April 10, 2016 from 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. and is co-sponsored by Bishop Don Kettler and the Department of Social Concerns, Diocese of St. Cloud. 
Please SAVE THE DATE to be with us for this celebration of carrying onward the Gospel call to "act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8
Sister Cordy Korkowski, OSF
Sister Carolyn Law, OSF
Sister Jean Schwieters, OSF
Kathy Langer
Fall Parish Social Ministry Training Review!

Diverse Faces, New Energy: 
Creating a Culture of Encounter Through Parish Social Ministry  

The 2015 Parish Social Ministry training was held on October 10th, hosted by St. John the Baptist Church in Swanville.  Forty participants from across the diocese were in attendance to learn, discuss and share in this year's theme, "Diverse Faces, New Energy: Creating a Culture of Encounter through Parish Social Ministry." Our day started with fellowship and refreshments. We then moved into the day with opening prayers with Bishop Kettler.

Our feature d speaker for the morning was Dr. Rebecca Berru Davis, visiting professor of Theology at the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University and the School of Theology. She spoke about building intercultural competence, giving us valuable information for working with and learning from cultural diversity within our own communities. Dr. Berru Davis challenged to us listen and learn from one another across cultural boundaries.

We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by our gracious hosts with some time available to enjoy the fall day and roam the beautiful grounds at St. John the Baptist church. We also had time to shop the Fair Trade table of beautiful items provided by Shelby Vaske.

Our afternoon continued with an enlightening presentation by Marty Roers, Community Education and Leadership Manager at Catholic Charities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. His topic, "Riding on the Wave of Pope Francis", brought us through a short summation of the Pope's visit to Cuba and the U.S. Mr. Roers invited us to identify the virtues of Pope Francis displayed on his visit here and challenged us to emulate those same virtues as a takeaway for our parish social ministry efforts.

The afternoon culminated with the gathering of individual parish social ministry teams followed by large group sharing of the successes they have experienced in the past year. We closed the day out with prayer and a meditation on a favorite characteristic or virtue of Pope Francis.

The day was a wonderful reminder and affirmation for those in attendance that assured t
hem of the value and importance of their work in parish social ministry.

CCHD Collection 2015
A special collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development was taken up in the St. Cloud Diocese the weekend of September 19th/20th!
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the domestic anti-poverty program started by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Working to break the cycles of poverty, the CCHD funds community-organizing groups committed to tackling the root issues of poverty. In the St. Cloud Diocese, numerous organizations have benefited from the CCHD's support. For example, the Franciscan Community Volunteers, Hands Across the World, The YES Network, The Greater Minnesota Worker Center, and Assemblea have all received grant funding.
Of the money collected this year for CCHD, 75% will be distributed by the national CCHD office, and 25% of the funds will go directly to programs within the St. Cloud Diocese.  This coming year, in addition to our 25% of the collection, over $100,000 will be distributed to groups in the St. Cloud Diocese from the national CCHD office!  We are thrilled to have small nonprofit organizations in our area who are  fighting poverty.  
The mission and success of this life-changing work cannot be carried out without your essential role. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those experiencing poverty both locally and nationally. 

A huge thank you to all 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:
Meet the New Rural Life Coordinator!
Hi! My name is JoAnn Braegelman. I was recently hired as the Rural Life Coordinator for the western region of the Diocese of St. Cloud. I am truly excited about being in this role as I have deep roots in our rural and farming communities. Before becoming a part of Catholic Charities, I worked as a pastoral assistant for the tri-parish cluster in Belgrade, Brooten and Elrosa. I am a graduate of St. Cloud State University and hold a graduate degree in Religious and Pastoral Studies from the University of Dallas. Additionally, my husband, son, and I own and run a crop and beef operation near Belgrade so the blessings as well as the challenges of living in a rural community are very familiar to me!
Some of my favorite things to do include biking, hiking, camping with my family, traveling and anything that allows me to be outdoors! I also enjoy being able to teach others about nature, farming and the importance of taking care of our earthly home and to recognize it as a blessing and gift from God.

I am excited for the opportunities that will present themselves in my role as Rural Life Coordinator! In particular, I look forward to collaborating with the caring people in our rural communities as we strive to identify, raise awareness, and address the needs of our neighbors and those living on the margins within our own communities. I think this role will also offer me the chance to share my deep love for God's great creation and what it truly means to be a steward of the land and its bounty. I look forward to meeting and connecting with the people in this part of the Diocese as together, we learn how to live out our faith in the world!

Peace and Joy!
JoAnn Braegelman

Meet the New Intern!
Hello, all! My name is Molly Minnerath and I am a senior at the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University studying Theology, Hispanic Studies and Latino/Latin American Studies. I feel very blessed to be the Social Concerns Intern for the 2015-2016 academic year.

I have always found myself being drawn to volunteering and passionate about social justice issues, which is what sparked my initial interest in interning with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Department of Social Concerns. When I started to look into exactly what the Department of Social Concerns does within the St. Cloud Diocese I began to realize just how life-changing the work really is. I am constantly challenged and rewarded by my work. The internship allows me to engage in social justice issues in my community while learning to enact the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and community-organizing. It is all about working in solidarity with those who find themselves living on the margins in our society. Daily I find myself learning, growing and becoming more and more committed to breaking the cycles of poverty in the community and to lifelong discipleship, a discipleship that I hope will help the Reign of God be experienced here on earth.

Outside the office I love to spend my time in the beautiful outdoors doing anything, really, but I especially enjoy biking, camping and hammocking. I also tend to consider myself an avid traveler and amateur photographer!

I look forward to the incredible opportunities this year will bring!

Blessings to you all,
Molly Minnerath

JRLC Day on the Hill 
for Social Concerns Advocates

 *Due to construction on the capitol building, an exact date for this event has not yet been released--more information forthcoming!

Each year the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) chooses 4-6 issues that participants will focus on as they go to lobby their elected representatives. Participants will have appointments set up with legislators as well as position papers handed out to them before the day begins, in order to be fully prepared. 

This event is open to everyone--no previous knowledge necessary. It is like Legislation and Advocacy 101!

Update on the Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative

By Doug Scott
Rural Life Coordinator
The second session of the Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative (RLLDI) is nearing the end of formal training.  The 9 monthly training gatherings were capped off with a parish listening session where parishioners were invited to help identify needs in the parish and community.  This information was reviewed during a planning session and rolled into a strategic plan created by each parish cluster to be used as a road map for action in the years that follow.
The Little Falls cluster will be meeting this month to review their plan and to discuss which specific actions they want to promote and act on, along with a tentative timeline.  Pierz/Buckman and Lastrup/Harding will be meeting soon to discuss the same things.
Last year's committees are busy 'working' their strategic plans.  Teams from Onamia/Wahkon/Vineland, Mora/Ogilvie, Foreston/Milaca and Gilman and taking action on everything from addressing rural transportation issues to delivering food people in need.
Every 6 months or so, all participants from each session come together to share ideas and pass on a little encouragement!  This fall, teams from the first session will be gathering again in Foreston around the 2-year anniversary of their first meeting.  We'll share a meal and discuss some of the 'best practices' that have come out of the previous 6 months' efforts.  The second group will have their inaugural 6 month gathering shortly after the first of the year.
Track the progress of these groups in future newsletters.  If you are interested in your parish cluster being part of a future round of trainings, contact Doug Scott at

Pope Francis' Address to Congress

September 24th, 2015 was a historic date: Pope Francis gave a public address to a joint meeting of Congress. An interaction of this sort has never taken place before and it represents an unprecedented visual and physical interaction of faith and public life.

The Department of Social Concerns was happy to co-sponsor a viewing of this address at the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University with the YTM program, St John's School of Theology and  the Department of Theology. It was a highly anticipated and enjoyable event for all those in attendance.

Pope Francis, beloved by many, is a man and religious leader known for his humility, his gentleness and his kind demeanor. These characteristics were easily seen in his address. To the surprise of many he didn't shy away from the controversial issues of the modern day; however, these were not the core of his message. Instead, he talked most dominantly about the dignity of the human person and about the need for dialogue.

Dignity is inherent in each and every person, Pope Francis noted, and needs to be acknowledged and respected in every person-from the young, to the old, to the unborn. It also stretches to the migrant and the foreigner among us, Pope Francis said, as he continued on to make one of his most powerful remarks: "the yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick used for us." He said that we must not be taken aback by the numbers of immigrants, but instead look at their faces and listen to their stories-we must encounter them.

During his address, Pope Francis also picked four notable Americans he wanted to highlight: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. All four were chosen for different reasons, but a common theme runs among them: they worked tirelessly in their time for the betterment of humanity and the realization of a more just and fraternal world.

In these key points, and many more, His Holiness was able to speak directly to those who work tirelessly for social justice in hopes of offering a new spark of motivation and a sense of rejuvenation.

If you would like to watch the event, including the panel discussion,  CLICK HERE

 "In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities." -Pope Francis

Upcoming Events:

**Join 7 incredible co-sponsoring organizations for the showing of "Ayotzinapa +43" on November 16th. Solidarity Vigil will begin at 6:15 at Emmaus Chapel at the St. John's School of Theology with a showing of the documentary to follow at 7:15.

Kathy Langer
Directer of Social Concerns

Doug Scott                                                                                 JoAnn Braegelman
Rural Life Coordinator, Eastern Region                             Rural Life Coordinator, Western Region

Molly Minnerath
Social Concerns Intern