The Social Justice Committee
“Faith without works is dead. The Parish will come alive through the three-fold approach of prayer/worship, learning and action.”
The mission of the Social Justice Committee is to promote Catholic Social Teaching within the parish community and beyond through “The Two Feet of Christian Service.” Direct service involves collecting for the local food bank and seasonal migrant workers; hosting the men of V.I.S.I.O.N.; setting up the Christmas Giving Tree. Their mission also includes education and advocacy work: “Coffee and Conversation” events; the sale of Fair Trade products and letters to legislators on issues of peace, justice and care of earth.
“Our greatest need is to provide educational opportunities such as retreat, workshops, speakers, educational videos and DVDs to motivate and inspire people to service. A salaried full or part-time justice/peace/earth coordinator would help us further this cause within the parish of Saint Therese and beyond. Committee members are overwhelmed with the work that needs to be done.”
— Sister Constance Kozel
The Back Mountain Senior Catholic Youth Council
“We are striving to empower the young people of our community to bring themselves into a closer relationship with God and to become more involved in their faith communities.”
The Back Mountain Senior Youth Council represents the parishes of Saint Therese’s, Gate of Heaven, Our Lady of Victory, and St Francis Cabrini. Its aim is to encourage, nurture and affirm the faith formation of the Back Mountain Catholic youth, grades 9 thru 12, by providing unified social, service and faith formation opportunities in an environment that is conducive to building friendship, respect and acceptance. Youth benefit greatly from such programs as the spring retreat, but the greatest stumbling block to participation is the necessary fee for attendance.
The group’s theme is ‘Kids helping Kids’. Their major project is providing backpacks for needy area children.
“This age group is often overlooked following confirmation. Faith-based activities help our youth grow into ethical leaders and give them the tools to make the right decisions, through God’s grace, as they grow into young adults. The youth are tomorrow ‘s parishioners, and need to know that St. Therese’s can be their home for their lifelong spiritual journey.”
— Edward Stanks
The Back Mountain Free Legal and Medical Clinic
The mission of this program is to provide personalized, accessible, no-obligation medical and legal services to members of the parish and the community beyond St. Therese’s.
Legal Component – Seven well-networked attorneys take turns holding Friday night office hours in the little home at 65 Davis St., just across the street from the rectory. Hours begin at 6pm and last until all clients are served. They do this out of a sense of service, not a way to find paying clients. No appointment is needed; customers are ensured of confidentiality and all of the courtesies that any legal client would expect and deserve. Legal issues include family, landlord, property, criminal defense, business formation among other topics. The people who seek help and advice are from varying faiths and socio-economic groups.
“We help people analyze issues, assess their legal rights and options and brainstorm the situation. It is our goal for everyone to leave with a plan of action — To be on the road to solving a problem before it becomes even bigger.”
“When people have problems, they are frequently at a desperate moment and need a place to go. Without advertising, we depend upon word-of-mouth. An even greater number of people could be served with even a small advertising budget. More people need to know that we are here.”
–Bernard Walter, Esq.
Medical Component – The mission of the Back Mountain Free Medical Clinic is to provide a free weekly, confidential medical clinic open to people who live in the Back Mountain and beyond, and who may or may not be members of St. Therese’s.
While the number of physicians varies, currently there are two physicians and three nurse practitioners who volunteer on staff. The clinic is located at 65 Davis St., and is open Friday nights from 6:30 to 8:00pm. No appointment is necessary.
“We treat people with acute medical problems, injuries, infections, sprains, perform routine physicals and help people find physicians to treat them for more serious problems.
We realize that there is a large number of uninsured and under-insured people in the area. Any donations would be used to promote the clinic so that more people can take advantage of our services. Money would also be used to buy testing supplies and pharmaceuticals for people in need. We rely on the Commission on Economic Opportunity to provide us with grants to supplement our very meager budget.”
— Dr. Fred Bloom