"THE GRACE OF CHRIST, WHICH BRINGS OUR HOPE OF SALVATION TO FULFILMENT, LEADS US TO COOPERATE WITH HIM IN BUILDING AN EVER MORE JUST AND FRATERNAL WORLD, A WORLD IN WHICH EVERY PERSON AND EVERY CREATURE CAN DWELL IN PEACE, IN THE HARMONY OF GOD’S ORIGINAL CREATION." - POPE FRANCIS, XLIX WORLD DAY OF PEACE
The Archdiocese of San Antonio works to reach the most vulnerable, the poor, the marginalized, and those that do not have a voice or have been silenced. Through the work of the Secretariat for Mission, the Archdiocese of San Antonio promotes integral human development within a culture of welcoming and accompaniment, with a transformative commitment to solidarity that emerges from the encounter with Christ.
With that in mind, the work of the Secretariat for Mission in the fields of Life, Justice and Peace focuses on issues such as abortion and post-abortion healing, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the death penalty, poverty, immigration, religious freedom, racism and environmental justice, aiming to develop an authentic human ecology for the communities of San Antonio.
To build a culture of life, justice, and peace in our communities and beyond, the Archdiocese offers educational and formational resources, information, and activities that reflect the richness of Catholic Social Doctrine and its teachings on human dignity and our common call to love our neighbor as our Lord has taught us.
We assist in building and sustaining strategic leadership in parishes and with community partners through training, advocacy, prayer and service.
Click on the tabs located on the left or top of this screen (depending on your device) for more information and resources on specific topics such as Life, Care for Creation, Racism, and Elections & Faithful Citizenship, or scroll down this page for other useful resources on Catholic Social Doctrine.
Basic Resources for Life and Social Justice Programs and Ministries that can be Implemented in Parishes and Communities
Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics
“We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a “Gospel of Life.” It invites all persons and societies to a new life lived abundantly in respect for human dignity” - USCCB, Living the Gospel of Life, no. 19
Published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in November 1998, the statement titled Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics provides a succinct, thoughtful, and compelling reflection on the importance of proclaiming and promoting the Gospel of Life in the United States. Its content remains valid today. Reading it will provide clarity and inspiration to anyone interested in learning more about the importance of recognizing and promoting the sanctity of human life in our world.
Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities. A Campaign to Support Life from the USCCB
“What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life.” - Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 95)
This 2001 document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers a useful roadmap for the development of a well-rounded program of Pro-Life activities. The pastoral plan is built around four major areas: (1) public information and education, (2) pastoral care for women with problems related to pregnancy, (3) public policy efforts, and (4) prayer and worship. “Key to the success of this pastoral plan it states is the work of informed and committed lay people throughout the nation (…) In addition, efforts of the laity, especially at the parish level, deserve and require the encouragement and support of priests, deacons, and religious.” All of these groups (laypeople, priests deacons, and religious) will find great benefit in the study of this document.
The USCCB statement “We Are Salt and Light” offers a basic resource for pastors, parish leaders, and all Catholics seeking to strengthen the social ministry of their local community. The bishops’ reflection represents neither major new teaching nor a new national program. Rather, it brings together the principles of our social teaching and local pastoral experience in a framework for vibrant Catholic communities. Click here to learn more about how to implement the program.
Catholic Charities USA’s Parish Social Ministry Section offers a tool kit where you will find a collection of strategies and resources that have been developed by parish social ministry leaders from across the country. These strategies have been tested in parishes and dioceses across the country and are shared to help you build a unique ministry that responds to the needs of the time and place utilizing the gifts and interests of the parish.
You can also get involved locally in social ministries through Catholic Charities San Antonio. Visit their website and learn how you can serve the vulnerable in our communities through one of their many programs that reach out to those in need.
Get involved internationally! Consult the Catholic Relief Services website to learn more,
CST 101 is a collaborative video series between CRS and the USCCB that explores the 7 themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
Contact your parish to learn more about the life and social justice ministries in your community. Click here to find a parish near you.
If you are a parish leader (volunteer or staff) and need assistance starting a life and social justice initiative or ministry in you parish, contact the Department for Pastoral Ministries at 210-734-1952 or by email.
Formation Opportunities: Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Service
The Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Service, through the Parish Ministry Formation program, provides comprehensive pastoral formation for those who currently serve or seek to be involved in ministries and services in the Church. This program seeks to ensure that parish ministers have foundational knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church. For more information for these courses please visit the Parish Ministry Formation page.
Other Useful Resources on Life and Social Justice Issues
Evangelium Vitae–25th Anniversary
"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" - Jn 10:10
Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), which to this day provides clear guidance in a large variety of matters connected to the value and inviolability of human life and the need to protect it and promote it from the moment of conception to natural death.