Diocese of Winona-Rochester Social Concerns   
News and Announcements
 "To promote and support parish social action through education"

Our committee meets on a monthly basis to discuss the issues of Social Concerns within our Diocese, and to plan opportunities to learn and explore issues of concern. Updates and information are available below. Feel free to contact us by responding to this newsletter, through the feedback button at the bottom of the newsletter, or through our Facebook page with any questions or feedback. 
Profiles in Justice: The Santa Selfie Project
Christmas is a joyful season full of magic and festivity, but for many it is a time of great loneliness and sorrow as well. With so many activities and items to check off our lists for holiday preparations, we often forget to slow down and take a look around in our community. There are many who may not be feeling the love and joy that this season can bring. One thinks especially of those living in facilities such as nursing homes, treatment, long-term care or assisted living facilities, where they are geographically isolated from their family and loved ones and socially isolated due to their health, stability, age or wellness.

One DOWR man fills this gap, exercising the Corporal Works of Mercy (Visiting the Sick), in a unique and creative way. Cue the Christmas magic and holiday cheer:

It all started when Roger Mach was asked to play Santa in a production of Miracle on 34th Street being put on by a ballet studio in Mankato, where his niece is a member..... Read Full Story HERE.

Be creative…Be loving…Be Christ like this Christmas season!
Do you know someone who is passionate about charity and justice? Is there someone in your parish or in your life that you would like to see highlighted in "Profiles in Justice"? Let us know! We want to share their story, their faith, their hope and their love!
Action Alerts
Click on the red "take action" line to get more information and to take action today!

Public comments on the proposed rule are due by December 10, 2018 . We need you to submit comments to stand up for immigrant families.  Read the proposed regulation here and learn more about public charge here .

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule on the "public charge" eligibility requirement that the federal government considers when determining whether to admit an immigrant into the United States or allow an immigrant to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident (receive a Green Card)....Through the proposed rule, however, the Administration is seeking to significantly expand the public benefits-and number of immigrants and nonimmigrants-considered in its public charge analysis.

This will negatively affect many immigrant families - making them face the terrible choice between accessing important health and welfare benefits and facing possible separation from loved ones. Care for the stranger, the hungry, the sick, and the homeless are fundamental to our Catholic faith. We are, deeply concerned with the proposed rule, which would undermine the fundamental life and dignity of persons that we and are called to welcome and support.  We are judged as a nation not by how we treat the powerful but how we care for the "least of these."

Assist our neighbors suffering from devastating wildfires by making a donation today. 100% of funds raised go directly to those impacted. Click the red link above to make a donation through Catholic Charities.


 The ongoing practice of separating children from their parents has already, as of May, left nearly 2000 children  separated from their parents. As Bishop Vásquez, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, and Sister Donna Markham OP PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, remind us - as a nation and people of faith, we can and must do better. 

 Join USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services and Catholic Charities USA today to help make a difference. Click the above link for more information.

Congress is back in session after the midterm election and the Farm Bill is on their agenda to finalize in the remaining days of this Congress. 
Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) help those most critically vulnerable and hungry here in the United States. The international food security programs in the Farm Bill provide lifesaving emergency assistance and an opportunity for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters to lead healthy and dignified lives. 
Raise your voice today to ensure Congress protects and improves these critical programs.
Mark YOUR Calendars and Join us as we TAKE ACTION:

Please join our Catholic Bishops in participating in the Call-In Day to Congress on Monday, February 26, 2018!
Your advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6th, unless Congress reaches a bipartisan deal to protect them. Click the red link above for more information and steps to take!
Advent Considerations
Catholic Relief Services Advent Resources and Activities
Ever find yourself scrambling during the Advent season? This Advent calendar offers short, daily inspiration for busy people. Each day pairs a quote about preparing for Christmas with a powerful image from around the world.

The  Gift of Hope Tree  is an opportunity to invite children and families to consider what gifts the Holy Family might have needed when Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger, and how those gifts compare to what people who live in poverty might need. They will assemble Gift of Hope Tree ornaments, which feature gifts that donations to Catholic Relief Services provide to people around the world. This activity is a great addition to an intergenerational Advent festival or Christmas bazaar. |  En Español

The HOLY FAMILY, REFUGEE FAMILY: DIGITAL ADVENT RETREAT is a chance to take some time out of the busyness of the season to pause and reflect on how we can welcome Christ into the world today. It takes ten minutes and you can make it anywhere. Wherever you are, begin with a moment of silence, inviting God to open your heart as you make the retreat. Then, prayerfully reflect on the Scripture passages, multi-media and questions offered throughout. 

Put Christmas back in your shopping by shopping CRS's Holiday Gift Guide featuring ethically produced gifts that uplift a world of people. Every partner is vetted for fair wages, safer working conditions and environmentally sustainable practices. With every purchase, a donation goes to CRS – for twice the impact!
In Preparation for World Day of Peace

As we journey through Advent, we will once again be invited through the readings of our Sacred Scripture to look at the virtues of peace, justice, mercy, reconciliation. I invite us to hold those virtues in our hearts as we prepare for Pope Francis' World Day of Peace message for January, 1, 2019. And I encourage us to prepare for this journey with a look back on a few momentous ones:

The initial one - 1968 by Pope Paul VI
"...during the latest years of our century's history it has finally become clearly evident that Peace is the only true direction of human progress - and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order - We do so because Peace is part and parcel of the Christian religion, since for a Christian to proclaim peace is the same as to announce Jesus Christ: "He is our peace" (Eph. ii. 14) and His good news is "the Gospel of peace" (Eph. vi. 15)...Let, then, the grand idea of Peace, particularly for us, the disciples of Christ, have its solemn Day, the beginning of the new year 1968."... Read Full Article.

Submitted by Richard DeBona - rdebona@ccsomn.org - Coordinator, Parish Social Ministry: charity, justice and peacemaking, Catholic Charities of Southern MN, Mankato.
Recording of Simple Living-Faithful Living Webinar Available
A timely webinar for Advent and the Christmas season! The presenters (Kyle Kramer, Passionist Earth and Spirit Center, and Simone Blanchard, CRS Ethical Trade) explore what Pope Francis calls the "sickness of consumerism" and give practical tips on how to overcome it.
Watch webinar here.
Upcoming Events
Join the School Sisters of Notre Dame for “In Solidarity."

" In Solidarity" is a weekly silent prayer to simply hold our immigrant and refugees in compassion and love. The weekly prayer will be held on Sundays from 4 – 4:30 p.m., beginning Sunday, December 2, 2018 , at Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel. The School Sisters of Notre Dame invite anyone who wishes to come and spend quiet, reflective time with one another, extending communal energy of hospitality toward all our immigrants and refugees. If you have any questions please contact Our Lady of Good Counsel at 507-389-4200.
Rsvp Appreciated – Richard DeBona, PSM Crdntr. Catholic Charities rdebona@ccsomn.org
Palestine and Israel:
A Land Twice Promised
As our hearts turn toward Bethlehem, please join us for this Advent seminar.

Saturday, December 8th
Feast of Immaculate Conception
Sacred Heart Parish
Waseca 111 4th St., NW

  • 9am Mass for those wishing to attend
  • 9:45 AM Welcome (Coffee n pastries)
  • 10:00 AM—12:15 PM Presentation

All are welcome – whether you know a little or quite a bit about the LIVING STONES OF OUR FAITH! Gifts of olive wood and olive oil will be for sale!
Are you tired of divisive angry politics? As a Minnesota Catholic you can begin to transform politics in our state. Join thousands of Catholics from across the state for a day of prayer and advocacy in St. Paul that will inspire you and teach you how to put your faith into action! On Tuesday, February 19 th , 2019 we’re coming together for life and dignity.

Transportation options are available.
Space is limited so don’t delay!
Catholics at the Capitol Feature Speakers Include:

After performing great numbers of roles both in television and film, including The Thin Red Line and Pay It Forward, Jim was cast as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. Since then he has also starred in Paul, Apostle of Christ, and the CBS hit show, Person of Interest.
In an interview (reprinted by  Catholic News Agency ) with a Polish journalist and film critic, Lukasz Adamski, Caviezel responds to Adamski’s question about how playing Christ has impacted his career.
“I stopped being one of [the] five most popular actors in the studio, and I hadn’t done anything wrong. I just played Jesus. Was I personally affected by this rejection? Well, everyone has their cross to bear.
The world changes…but I will not be in this world forever. Neither will the producers from Hollywood. At some point, everyone will have to answer for what they have done.”
Join us in St. Paul on Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 to hear from Caviezel in person. We are confident he will inspire you to live out your faith in the public arena.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Music Missionary
EWTN’s Morning Glory radio program and Black Catholics United for Life
Rochester Speaker Events
Global Climate Change
Sunday, Feb. 10 at 4 pm

Pax Christi Catholic Church
4135 - 18 Ave NW
Rochester, MN
McCauley hall, lower level

Alan Anderson & Sister Patricia Keefe
What is the science in relation to global climate change? What are the impacts and more importantly, solutions? What is the response of people of faith to the challenge? On the 3rd Anniversary of the publication, Laudato Si, (On Care for Our Common Home) Pope Francis urges us to take action.
Pax Christi/Holy Spirit Social Justice Morning of Reflection
Saturday, February 2

Tom Parlin, Parish Social Ministry Program Director for Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota will be our speaker. More details next month!
Spotlight on Resources
Diocese Wide Petition Drive

The DOWR Social Concerns Committee is organizing a petition drive for the weekend of Epiphany in celebration of National Migration Week. These petitions will be distrusted to parishes, along with instructions on process, within the next week or so.

For more information on how your parish or group can participate, please contact:
-Mankato Deanery: Richard DeBona
-Worthington Deanery: Nicole Henrichs
-Rest of the Diocese: Tom Parlin
Epiphany and the celebration of National Migration Week
(January 6-12, 2019)
The USCCB's Justice for Immigrants as a wealth of information for National Migration Week 2019, including a parish toolkit with community engagement ideas, homily hints, and fact sheets.

by Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. Since 2001, over 400 of his columns have been published based on the Church’s consistent ethic of life and Catholic social teaching. Tony’s columns regularly appear in various diocesan papers throughout the United States.
Catholic Climate Covenant's Latest Webinar: The Root Causes of Climate Change: Understanding Extractive Industries and their Impacts.

The Catholic Climate Covenant and the Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries invite you to join us in a one-hour webinar exploring how a faithful and just response to climate change must address the extraction and exploitation on a massive scale of natural resources such as coal, oil and gas, with specific examples from the Southwestern United States and Peru. This webinar highlights examples of domestic and international communities negatively impacted by the extraction of the fossil fuels that cause climate change, with specific examples from Southwestern United States and Peru. We also consider how to avoid the damage inflicted by the fossil fuel industry, such as human rights abuses and environmental degradation, as we work to shift to a renewable energy future.
The Winona Warming Center Is Now Open for the Season!
The Warming Center is open from November 1, 2018 through to March 31, 2019.

Mission: To provide temporary, emergency shelter for the adult, 18 and over, homeless population of Winona County.

Description of Services: The Winona Community Warming Center will provide a safe, warm overnight stay every night from November through to March. In addition, snacks and coffee will be available for guests and other personal care items will be provided when available.
Guests can be checked in from 9:00 to 10:00 pm and can stay until 7:00 am in the morning. After 10:00 pm, guests can be admitted from a referral source from other agencies in Winona County.
The Winona Community Warming Center works with the Winona Police, Winona County Community Services and Winona Health to help meet the needs of their guests. Information on resources will be available to guests. On certain dates, volunteers will be available to help with requested referrals and forms.

The center is a program of Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota. Click here for more information.
JRLC Poverty Report and
Day on the Hill.
In 2004, Minnesota's faith community released  A Common Foundation: Shared Principles for Work on Overcoming Poverty.  In response to the call in the document, Minnesota established a commission and in 2009, released a  Legislative Report from the Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020.

While some of the recommendations in the Report have been addressed, many remain significant barriers to Minnesotans living in poverty. Once again, people of faith from across Minnesota--Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims--are drawing attention to poverty and Minnesota's efforts to address it. 

This progress report  examines the progress Minnesota has made over the past almost-decade and considers what still needs to be done. You can read the full report  here . Keep reading to learn more about the issues discussed in the progress report. 
Looking for more ways to engage?

  • Take a look at information specific to where you live with the JRLC County Fact Sheets and learn more about Economic Instability in your area.


  • Host a JRLC Poverty Report Event at your parish. To find out more information contact Katie Powell: kpowell@jrlc.org
What are you doing in your community?
Is your community doing a project or working on an issue that you would like to share? We would love to highlight your efforts, events and ministry! Let us know what you are doing.
How are we doing?
 We would love to hear your feedback on this newsletter. What do you like? What is helpful? What would you like to see? We can't wait to hear from you!  Send Feedback

Looking for past editions of our newsletter? You can access them ALL on Catholic Charities of Southern MN's Parish Social Ministry Page.