Social Justice Committee

“Called to Justice in Everyday Life”

All human beings have unique talents, gifts from God that we are called to develop and share. We should celebrate this diversity. People who use their skills and expertise for the common good, the service of others, and the protection of creation, are good stewards of the gifts they have been given. When we labor with honesty, serve those in need, work for justice and contribute to charity, we use our talents to show our love–and God’s love–for our brothers and sisters. Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1998.

The Social Justice Committee, organized in October 2015, has stepped up its program during the Year of Mercy. It welcomes both parishioners and non parishioners to join us We meet the first Thursday of every month at the Orchard Street Manor B&B, 139 Orchard Street, New Bedford, Ma 02740. This year we are applying some of the 12 principles of Catholic Social Teaching in four ways:

  1. Empowering New Bedford’s homeless – particularly women—with MassHealth registration and follow up on social services available to them.
    Activities include:
    Preparing a Homeless Services Provider Notebook for the Sisters of Charity, facilitating information and other access about these services to both the Sisters and to women who are living temporarily in their shelter as well as pamphlets on health services available, street sheet 2015, etc..
    Providing one on one health information services to those at the Sisters of Charity shelter to enable women to access MassHealth and other Connector benefits,
    Opening the door to help Sisters help homeless and low income women know of other social, economic, legal services available from the County, Hospitals, Catholic Social Services and public organizations
    Helping low income person make and sell Year of Mercy friendship bracelets
  2. Linking St. Lawrence Martyr community services for the poor and homeless to the New Bedford Homeless Services Providers Network (NBHSPN)
    Activities include:
    Registration of St. Lawrence Martyr Church Food Pantry and other services with the City of New Bedford Homeless Services Provider Network (www.nbhspn.org)
    Linking St. Lawrence Martyr Church website with the NBHSPN Resources Links for greater referral assistance, esp. for Food Pantry services
    Providing Street Sheets in English, Spanish and Portuguese for Saint Lawrence Martyr Church Administrator and Finance Office Secretary to refer callers to citywide services and particularly food pantries, shelters, and meals.
    Participating in City of New Bedford Homeless Count 2016
    Attending information grants and community development planning meetings at the City of New Bedford Department of Planning and Community Development to ensure consistency and collaboration with other New Bedford social services providers as well as keeping abreast of Catholic Social Services offered to facilitate greater outreach without duplication
  3. Dignifying a community space frequented by youthful poor and homeless with art, gardens and sculptured space;
    Activities include:
    Designing a plan to improve one of the spaces used by low income youth in a low income neighborhood within the geographical area of Saint Lawrence Martyr Church parish.
    This plan is organized by an artist and art professor to engage multiple artists, community groups, parishioners to focus efforts on a practical but strategic activity that will help youth have hope, develop skills and have fun in a drug free environment. Approval of desired site is pending
    Send contact information to Melissa (508-992-4251) or via email StLOffice@saintlawrencemartyr.com Attention SJ Committee or directly contact chairperson, Suzanne Smith Saulniers,sssaulniers_crs@yahoo.com.