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Engaging Our Diocese

  • Caroline Brennan of CRS speaks at 2014 Harvest of Hope Dinner
  • Honoree Melissa Chedid at 2013 Harvest of Hope.
  • Santa Rosa delegation in Piscataway, 2010.
  • CCST diocesan global solidarity training, Sept. 2014
  • Bishop Gregory Mansour, Bishop Paul Bootkoski and Msgr. Joe Kerrigan, October 2014

“Our baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring God’s redeeming love to all, particularly the poor, in whom we see the  face of Christ”
- Pope Francis, January 8, 2014

CCST wishes to help serve fellow Catholics in the Metuchen Diocese live out their baptismal call, and to help bring God’s redeeming love to the poor.   The Diocesan Capacity Building program of the Catholic Charities Solidarity Team is charged with engaging diocesan life in Metuchen to enhance our commitments to Lebanon, Guatemala, the Philippines, Kenya, local food security and domestic anti-poverty projects.

Thanks to a grant from Catholic Relief Services for the years 2014-16, we have more resources to intentionally focus on building our capacity to engage more people in the social mission of the church, especially global solidarity.  CRS has experience both domestically and internationally in building relations with church partners.  Read more about a case study from Rwanda.

We are committed to the following goals:

  • grow participation in CRS Rice Bowl, with a 10% increase set for 2015, (after an 18% increase in 2014).
  • building the capacity of the CCST to engage parishes and other institutions in the work of CRS through trainings and leadership development opportunities, using 1:1 meeting, training and other events
  • train and resource leaders in Hispanic ministry in parishes.
  • build country projects in Kenya and Lebanon.

CCST can provide leadership and facilitation for interested diocesan groups for CCST signature projects of solidarity in Santa Rosa, Guatemala and the Haiyan impact zone of the Philippines. Our team also strives to permeate selected facets of church structure with the themes of global solidarity and a preferential option for the poor, to create an overall climate more aware and responsive to the poorest of the poor locally and in the Philippines and Guatemala.

Our diocesan formation focus seeks opportunities to make presentations, conduct workshops or otherwise engage church leaders and students in our mission of global solidarity, and specifically our work overseas. Over the past several years, a number of collaborations have developed between Metuchen parishes, schools, youth groups and organizations that have enhanced CCST work in Guatemala, the Philippines and elsewhere.

We celebrate the work of Catholic Charities Solidarity Team annually with the Harvest of Hope Dinner.  At the dinner, the top contributors to CRS Rice Bowl are recognized; food security grants are distributed; a member of Catholic Charities is honored for their work with the Catholic Charities Solidarity Team; an individual or group is feted for their work in global solidarity, and the evening is capped with an inspirational address from a spiritual leader.  Proceeds from the dinner benefit CCST.

Some examples from around the Metuchen Diocese of the kind of engagement in social mission that we would like to flourish:

--St Bartholomew Parish, East Brunswick:  For two years, an 8th grade confirmation class in religious education program  raised funds and awareness for water needs in Las Flores, Guatemala. Contributed more than $7K total.

--Queenship of Mary, Plainsboro: Prepared through a process of adult formation, followed by parish selection and funding of a team to go to Guatemala in the summer of 08 to work on a village-level commitment on a long-term basis, including project selection and support in La Morena since 2009.

--Sacred Heart Parish South Amboy Women's group: Raised funds in a "Water for Life" campaign for consecutive years, helping to complete phases of the San Antonito village development program in Guatemala.

--St. Peter's University Hospital, New Brunswick: Operates five health clinics in the Santa Rosa Diocese. The hospital provides $100K annual support for Guatemala, and in the past has been awarded a 3-yr USAID grant for an additional $750K. St. Peter's sends equipment and personnel on a regular basis, holds in-house fundraisers.

The diocesan director is the local liaison for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops programs Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Justice for Immigrants.