U.S. Bishops Mark 30 Years Since Release of “Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish”

| 11/20/2023

By: The Good Newsroom

This landmark statement continues to serve as the guiding document for parish social ministry in the United States

Archbishop Borys Gudziak, metropolitan-archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, listens during a news conference at the Pontifical Ukrainian College of St. Josaphat in Rome, on September 14, 2023.
Archbishop Borys Gudziak, metropolitan-archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, listens during a news conference at the Pontifical Ukrainian College of St. Josaphat in Rome, on September 14, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

WASHINGTON — On November 17, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrated the 30th anniversary of the statement “Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish.” This landmark statement continues to serve as the guiding document for parish social ministry in the United States. It was approved by the Catholic bishops of the United States at their General Meeting in November 1993.

In preparation of marking the 30th anniversary of this document, Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace* prepared the following statement:

“On the 30th anniversary of this landmark statement on parish social ministry, we highlight the vital role that our parishes play in responding to the call ‘to build evangelizing communities of faith, justice, and solidarity, where all believers are challenged to bring God’s love, justice and peace to a world in desperate need of the seasoning of the gospel.’ Three decades after its release, we see the enduring importance of this guiding document. We continue to invite faith communities to integrate social ministry throughout the life of the parish, and to take up the call to be communities of salt and light, forming and sending the faithful to protect the least of these.”

New Communities of Salt and Light resource pages in English and Spanish integrate the teaching of Pope Francis and provide prayer and learning materials, including an interactive assessment tool to help faith communities implement vibrant parish social ministry in the contemporary setting. 

*Bishop Malloy served as chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace from November 2020 to November 2023 this statement was prepared during his tenure as committee chairman.

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