NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: Salt and Light, Catholic Charities PSM & Social Action

PROJECT ADDRESS: Catholic Charities of Arkansas, 2500 N. Tyler St., Little Rock, AR 72207

CONTACT PERSON: Sr. Mary Lou Stubbs, DC, Catholic Charities Director



Parish Social Ministry provides assistance to help parishes live out the Church’s social teaching, which calls us to recognize the fundamental dignity of all human life at every stage. Parish Social Ministers (PSM) and/or PSM volunteers work within parish communities to address social needs and local issues. PSMs will be trained for ministry through Catholic Charities to identify the needs of persons in their parishes and surrounding communities, to plan programmatic responses and to develop an effective “menu” of ministries specific to the challenges and gifts of their parishioners.

Parish Social Ministry Teams

– Help their parishes organize and develop a menu of services and programs

– Provide direct service to address tangible needs assistance programs such as disaster recovery, prison outreach, respite care programs, parish nurse programs and more

– Identify root causes for the social issues facing their parishes and advocate for the rights of people in need on the local, state and national level

– Bring people together to educate them on social issues relevant to their communities and share how their ministries serve and collaborate

The Parish Social Ministry Office creates communities of service and social change through unique partnerships between parishes, Catholic Charities and the diocese. This office also heads Catholic Charities Disaster Response activities and can provide training to parish disaster response and long-term recovery teams.

The office also sponsors educational workshops for parishes planning social ministries and those wanting more information on Catholic social teaching and ministry development.

The Social Action Office serves as a voice for the poor and the powerless through justice education, advocacy and community involvement. It promotes social justice by advocating for change, empowering people and monitoring public and private systems. When appropriate, the office takes the diocese’s lead in educating and mobilizing Catholics on social issues. Details on the Church’s position on issues are sent to parish social action representatives on a timely basis.

Services provided are:

Education — The social action director visits parishes throughout the state to teach Catholic social teaching. He does this by speaking at RCIA classes, conducting workshops during Advent and Lent or by sending educational resources to the parishes. (continued)

Advocacy — The office studies state legislation in order to determine if proposed bills are “for” the common good or “against” the common good (i.e., follows the principles of Catholic social teaching). The office interacts with state representatives and senators to educate them on the Church’s position on pending legislation.

Communication — The office sends information to parish social action representatives and pastors about social issues being discussed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and how it relates to Catholics in the pew. A Call to Social Action is an e-bulletin that is produced when the legislature is in session.

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