Social Justice Week focus on inclusive and connected communities

For Social Justice Week 2010 (12-18 September) New Zealand’s Catholic bishops are asking parish communities to commit to the equality of all people and reconsider how they can live out church ideals of inclusion and respect.

The theme – Your people will be my people: Creating inclusive and connected communities – builds on a booklet of the same name that the bishops recently sent to all parishes.

The booklet is designed to help parish councils respond to increasing cultural diversity in parishes, and reflects the bishops’ Pastoral Priorities Plan which seeks to encourage parishes to recognise the gifts and life that migrants and diverse cultures bring to the church.

The bishops’ social justice agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has produced a range of Social Justice Week resources, including a booklet with information and analysis of cultural diversity within the New Zealand church, and examples of how parishes are incorporating diversity into parish life.

Other resources include a CD-Rom for school students in years 1-13 called ‘No longer strangers: recognising our cultural diversity’, and material for parish liturgy committees, youth groups, children’s liturgy and newsletters.

“There are both blessings and tensions arising out of the growing number of different groups which are transforming the cultural identity of the church in Aotearoa New Zealand,” say the bishops.

“We share the concern expressed by Pope Benedict however that Catholic parishes remain unified, even while we celebrate increasing diversity. It is our hope that through Social Justice Week materials our community will be better equipped to embrace a future which brings together the best of the traditions of Maori, Pakeha and all our new arrivals”.

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference statement on Social Justice Week 2010 is available at