Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The more we know about Catholic Social Justice teaching, the more equipped we are to express our Catholic faith in powerful ways. Over the next few months, the Service & Justice Commission is going to empower parishioners with knowledge of the seven themes of Catholic Social  teaching.

Theme 2: Call to Family, Community, and Participation


What is the Church’s official teaching on the call to family, community and participation?

The Catholic Church teaches that “the person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society -- in economics and politics, in law and policy -- directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”


Catholic social teaching recognizes that  social structures have a responsibility to accommodate and support family life. According to the USCCB in Economic Justice for All, “Efficiency and competition in the marketplace must be moderated by greater concern for the way work schedules and compensation support or threaten the bonds between spouses and between parents and children.”


Moreover, families can be influential in shaping social structures. St. John Paul II said Christian families can “be a sign of unity for the world and bear witness to the Kingdom and peace of Christ” by simply “presenting to their children a model of life based on the values of truth, freedom, justice and love.”  Thus, we all have the power to make a difference.  Pope Francis also explains how every family can express the gospel by witnessing “solidarity with the poor, openness to a diversity of people, the protection of creation, moral and material solidarity with other families, including those most in need, commitment to the promotion of the common good and the transformation of unjust social structures, beginning in the territory in which the family lives, through the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy."


As Catholics, we are called to address issues that are impacting families in our society.  Such as:


Access to quality, affordable childcare and healthcare for families
Work/life balance issues, which prevent families from sharing quality time together
Breaking the cycle of poverty and helping the “working poor,” who can’t afford to make ends meet


Some saints, who have worked tirelessly in support of families, community, and participation include:

St. Frances of Rome, who showed tremendous devotion to God through married life as a wife and mother, while also going to heroic lengths to serve the poor, even converting her home into a homeless shelter at great personal risk and sacrifice.
Blessed Anne-Marie Javouhey, who achieved sainthood through her heroic devotion to community life, along with profound service to the poor as a missionary, running an orphanage and helping to emancipate slaves during the French Revolution.


Some opportunities here at St. Paul’s that can help strengthen our own families and the community:

  • Bible Studies and Small Groups
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Altar and Rosary Society
  • Meal Ministry
  • Our upcoming marriage retreat

Local organizations to support, which respond to families in need:

  • Safe Families of the Quad Cities
  • Birthright
  • Project 15:12
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley
  • St Joseph the Worker House
  • Brick House / Lydia House
  • Family Resources
  • Our Sister Parish in Haiti


In 1 John 4 19-21, Jesus said “Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters.” There is a lot of pressure on families in our modern society! Even as we struggle with our own challenges, as Catholics, we are called to help lighten the load of others in our community as well. We encourage you to reach out if you need help, and evaluate ways you can get more involved in supporting families and communities today.  Thank you and God bless!


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