As a Christian community, we are committed to the life of Christ and the Church through our service to the greater community.
Often times in the Catholic faith we refer to this as Social Justice. Please take a look at some of the ways our community seeks to reach out to the greater community. For more information on Catholic Social Teaching, please visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
JOY OF THE GOSPEL: Our Social Justice Corner
You’re Invited to the St. Augustine Social Justice Group!
You might know that our parish has been engaged in a multitude of social justice projects over the years, which have focused on local and international needs. Currently, our St. Vincent de Paul chapter runs a food pantry out of our garage, and since 1994 we have supported Elizabeth House through donations as well as the convent at low rent. In the past we have provided shoes for school children, Easter and Christmas gifts and food to the poor, donations of financial and time resources to a refugee family, as well as assisting the homeless to secure access to services. Also, in the late ’90s we worked with OCO, a faith-based community organizing group, to support other Oakland parishes and communities. International projects have included writing letters and signing petitions for Amnesty International, providing financial support to many missionary groups, and building an orphanage in Kenya and houses in Mexico.
There are roughly twenty parishioners and staff who are forming a social justice group. We are exploring relationships with other social justice groups in local parishes and the broader community. So far we have agreed to a two-fold plan to learn and act. We plan to be educated in the social teachings of the Church (which are a source of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of faith), while also take action to build that more just society.
We hope you will join us in this mission. If you would like to explore (without commitment!) what we’re doing, you are welcome to contact the parish office for more information.
A few parishioners reflect on why they are participating:
From Fred Lonsdale: There is a Cornel West quote that speaks to me: “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” We are all in this together.
From Jan Kirsch: When I was a little girl, at that time a non-believer, I followed a friend to Holy Mass. I remember words proclaiming the presence of God in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the homeless, the imprisoned and the ill. From that morning on, these words have lived with me and eventually led me to faith:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”
To serve Jesus in all who suffer, felt like a sacred calling and one that led me to seek the divine in the faces of my medical patients. I hope to pursue a social justice ministry with my fellow parishioners. On behalf of community members in need may we join together in joy and service.
From Courtenay Redis: I feel called to work toward racial and restorative justice, equity, and the sustainability of our planet. I know from experience that doing this spiritual work with other parishioners builds fellowship and excitement. One of the most fulfilling and exciting parts of my faith journey at St. Augustine’s has been living the gospel together as advocates and allies in our community.
Oakland Elizabeth House
Located next door in the former St. Augustine Convent, Elizabeth House provides a safe, warm, clean and loving home to women and their children while they make a transition from poverty and homelessness, violence or addiction to lives of stability and greater self-sufficiency. The Elizabeth House staff provide more than beds and food; they offer support, hospitality and advocacy. The women are trained to manage their finances, and make accessible plans to bring stability into their lives and the lives of their children so that when they leave Elizabeth House, they are able to successfully care for their family. Parishioners at St. Augustine may volunteer time at Elizabeth House in a variety of ways. Volunteers can help with homework on Monday nights, spend time in the office with organization and administration, or assist with Christmas gifts during the holiday season. Contact Elizabeth House through their website at www.oakehouse.org or by phone at (510) 658-1380.
Saint Vincent de Paul
The parish office receives many calls each month from parishioners and other neighbors who have very low income or are in need. These individuals request various material goods such as food and clothing, as well as other services. On the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, grocery boxes are distributed to the families from the Saint Vincent pantry located in the basement of the rectory. The conference pays costs and delivery fees for furniture, makes home visits, and provides transportation vouchers. Maureen Wikander chairs a ministry to initiate and organize our charitable contributions to St. Vincent de Paul both at the church and the community. Contact our St. Vincent de Paul chapter by calling or texting Maureen Wikander at (510) 847-3585 or email Maureen Wikander. You may also call the Parish Office number at (510) 653-8631 for assistance.
Catholic Worker of Oakland offers transitional housing, community services, and weekly hot meals. Address: 4848 International Blvd. Oakland, CA Phone: 510-533-7375 Email: oaklandcatholicworker@yahoo.
The local chapter of this national ministry wants to be of assistance to Oakland residents with rental, deposit and utility assistance. If I can be of any help, please let us know. Contact parishioner Steve Mullin: 510 393-8640. Website: http://www.cceb.org