The Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative provides social ministry education and training to rural parishes. Members of existing social ministry teams as well as prospective members gather for 9 monthly sessions covering core elements of Catholic Social Teaching including direct service, legislative advocacy, global solidarity and community organizing. Sessions also cover discernment, servant leadership and other supporting topics. A parish-wide ‘listening session’ gathers valuable community input which is used in a targeted strategic planning session held at the completion of the effort. A final ‘community conversation’ is organized to share the fruits of this work with the community at large. Social Concerns staff guides parishioners throughout the entire process. For more information on the Rural Life Initiative, contact Kathy Langer or Doug Scott.
The Rural Life Fund was established to help individuals in rural areas who experience a sudden short-term financial set-back. Grants up to $2,500 can be available through the Social Concerns department to qualifying individuals. All grants are coordinated through the local Catholic parish, though individuals do not need to be Catholic to qualify. For more information, contact Kathy Langer.
Combating Food Insecurity in the Diocese
Also known as the ‘farm-to-fork’ program, the locally grown food movement has been gaining popularity in the diocese in recent years. Rural Life Coordinator Doug Scott has studied the movement extensively and is available for consultation on how your parish or school can join the movement. It’s about more than just fresh food: concepts such as the call to community & participation, subsidiarity, solidarity and care for God’s creation make the locally grown food movement decidedly Catholic. Email Doug Scott for more information on school gardens, lists of local producers and other elements of the locally grown food movement.
Having access to enough healthy food can be a real challenge for many people. Fortunately, there are over 40 food pantries operating throughout the diocese to help individuals and families make ends meet. Many food assistance outlets, especially those promoting the ‘rescued’ (food that is nearing its expiration date and brought from area retail stores to food shelves for immediate distribution) food model count on broad community participation to help the effort succeed. To find the food pantry nearest you, go to www.mnfoodshare.gmcc.org, or contact Doug Scott for assistance.
Mental health concerns?
Living in a rural area can be difficult. Having access to regular transportation and basic services can be a real challenge in many out-state areas of the diocese. These challenges are compounded for individuals struggling with mental health issues. If you know someone who needs counseling for drug or alcohol abuse, Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, grief/anxiety or just needs someone to talk to, email Doug Scott to be connected with the appropriate Catholic Charities mental health support services. Don’t let country living keep people from the help they deserve.