“We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life”
(Pope Francis -Message for the First World Day of the Poor, n. 3).

Introduction to Parish Social Ministry 101

Parish Social Ministry (PSM) is the action that the faith community takes to live out the Gospel we proclaim and to grow in love with God and neighbor.   By working with parishes, Parish Social Ministry aims to foster greater outreach and advocacy efforts, to educate parishioners to serve those who are poor and vulnerable, and to provide opportunities for spiritual growth.

The first step for any parish in assessing whether PSM has something to offer them is to understand what PSM is and is not.   Below is a breakdown of a document called “Introduction to Parish Social Ministry.”    

You can download the full document - “Introduction to Parish Social Ministry” here.

Parish Social Ministry Assessment Tool

This tool is an opportunity for parishioners to gain a new awareness about what is already being done in the parish to live out Catholic Social Teaching and ministry. In addition, it should help parishioners identify areas for growth.

If your parish does not have a social action committee or is struggling in some areas of implementation, this assessment can be used as a teaching tool to help you in analyzing strengths and weaknesses and in charting next steps. In addition, it is highly unlikely that any parish will rate highly in all of the questions; and a lower rating is not necessarily an indication of a deficiency. This resource is not intended to “grade” your parish but rather to help you have a clearer picture of your parish dynamics.

If you would like to receive a copy of the Parish Social Ministry Assessment, please contact,

Theresa Chamblee
Catholic Charities – Social Concerns


Please visit the Resource page for more Parish Social Ministry resources


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