Social Justice

Corpus Christi Social Justice Group –
An Overview 2007-2022

Answering Jesus’ Call for all Christians to share by their Baptism in the mission of Social Justice

Jesus Christ calls us to work for justice, peace, human rights, and development, and all Christians share by their baptism in this mission.

Who is the Corpus Christi Social Justice Group

The Corpus Christi Social Justice Group (CCSJG) is a group of parishioners with a common goal of adding a practical dimension to their individual interests of ensuring social justice for many disadvantaged groups within Australia and around the world.

The group provides that practical focus by highlighting issues and attempting to make a difference where it counts for those who do not enjoy full and just rights.  They work for the dignity of all people and give voice to their genuine grievances and rights.

Why we sell East Timorese Coffee

All Corpus Christi parishioners join in this work for justice, peace, human rights and development by both their baptism in this mission, and by advocating and learning about relevant issues and supporting the sale of East Timorese Coffee after weekend masses once a month.

The groups primary project is to provide practical support for East Timor students and other projects funded by the sale of East Timorese coffee coordinated through the Coffex Pty Ltd, and the Friends of Same education program at Don Bosco Agricultural and Veterinary Science College, Fuiloro in East Timor.

Organically grown coffee is the major export earner in East Timor. Sub-district of Same is a major coffee growing area.

The Timor Friendship Coffee Project provides double barrelled support by providing the East Timorese with a direct market for their coffee – ensuring the proceeds are transmitted to them, and our profits go back into East Timor through an education program.

Over the 15 years of our program, the Parish has provided support for coffee growers in the Same region of East Timor.  Under this program eight (8) children of coffee growers have attended Agriculture and Technology Colleges and Universities and taken those skills back to improve the standard and crop outcomes for the otherwise subsistence coffee growers. The sponsorship provided the students with tuition, board and some clothing, and as the program in the agricultural and technology colleges expanded, sufficient funds were available to offer funding for university studies. 

During the years 2015-2020 the program has assisted East Timorese villagers to care for the dying in their own families and community through a “Dying at Home” project.  Under this program $4,000 helped fund translation of materials and training costs for over 200 people in eight (8) regional communities.

Another program has seen 1,000 primary age school children learn the skills of sustainable gardening practices using a model garden approach.  Under this program $5,500 was provided to establish the project and then $1,500 each year to maintain the project for 2018-2020. Future expansion may be considered if sufficient funds are found.

Other Social Justice Projects and Reference Material​

Over the past 15 years the Corpus Christi Social Justice Group has facilitated discussion of a number of other Social Justice issues raising awareness and providing strong practical support. Group members speak to the annual Caritas Project Compassion launch with a power point presentation highlighting the key elements of that important organisations focus for their Lentan program.  

In 2010, recognising the traditional custodians of the land our church is built upon with a plaque (dedicated in 2010) in the foyer adjacent to the image of the Trinity presented by the Balga Northern Territory community, in response to support our Parish provided for a number of that community to attend World Youth Day programs in Sydney in 2008.

In 2012 CCSJG prepared a Reconciliation Action Plan to document as a Catholic community faithful to the Gospel, our commitment to reconciliation and improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the activities of the Parish. The Parish Pastoral Council has now taken over the responsibility of developing the practical ways in which the Parish will continue our reconciliation journey and meet the commitment articulated on the Indigenous Plaque which was blessed and dedicated in 2010.

We have celebrated our custodianship of the local environment for World Environment Day in a number of ways, including with a tree planting ceremony in the grounds of the Church.

Each year members of the CCSJG workshop the Australian Bishops’ Social Justice annual Statement on a specific issue. Issues highlighted over recent years has included the spirituality and action for youth, women in sport, refugees, the homelessness, business and a sustainable economy and digital equality.

Our Parish ensures awareness raising of many social justice issues by including petitions for the Prayers of the Faithful read at Sunday Masses.

Parishioners have taken direct action by writing to politicians to lobby on specific justice issues, including on issues such as the rights for families and refugees.

For some local elections CCSJG has worked with the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council to facilitate “ask the candidates” nights specifically to encourage the promotion of important social justice themes.

Our Parish promotes the annual Social Justice Diary which details the important social justice anniversaries and provides reflections and prayers.

With the support of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, CCSJG organised an Archdiocesan evening in July 2018 to raise awareness of the human trafficking issues in Australia and specifically to engage in discussion about what the Australian Government’s The Australian Modern Day Slavery Act.

2015 to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery/bonded labour in the cotton industry, parishioners signed petitions to a range of department stores to encourage them to source garments in an ethical manner. We learnt about the “Ethical Fashion Report” and other resources and were please that this direct action played some role in ensuring that Australian companies engaged in the rag trade have become more ethical over recent years.

On Sun 3rd June 2019 the CCSJG facilitated an Aboriginal Mass to commemorate the 3rd June 1992 High Court Decision in the Mabo Case. The Aboriginal theme of the Mass included a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country and after Mass a special Acknowledgement Plaque was blessed and hung in the foyer. Members of the Archdiocesan Aboriginal Catholic Ministry and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Elders participated. The Mass was themed around reconciliation with Parish and Aboriginal community members engaged in the prayer, liturgy and rituals for the Mass.

  • At the Aboriginal Mass in 2019 the importance of reconciliation was celebrated and an important recognition plaque was blessed and placed in the foyer of the Holy Family Church.

The Importance of Social Justice advocacy

Pope Benedict summed up the important elements which drive our Corpus Christi Social Justice Group during an address he made to the Participants in the 14th Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on 3 May 2008 when he said “Human dignity is the intrinsic value of a person created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by Christ. The totality of social conditions allowing persons to achieve their communal and individual fulfilment is known as the common good. Solidarity refers to the virtue enabling the human family to share fully the treasure of material and spiritual goods, and subsidiarity is the coordination of society’s activities in a way that supports the internal life of the local communities. We can initially sketch the interconnections between these four principles by placing the dignity of the person at the intersection of two axes: one horizontal, representing “solidarity” and “subsidiarity”, and one vertical, representing the “common good”. This creates a field upon which we can plot the various points of Catholic social teaching that give shape to the common good.”

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus describes his mission in the following way:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To let the oppressed go free,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4:18-19)

The life and teachings of Jesus Christ call us to work for justice, peace, human rights, and development. All Christians share by their baptism in the mission of Jesus.

CCSJG is affiliated with the Archdiocesan Catholic Social Justice Commission (ACG). The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference mandates the ACSJC to promote research, education, advocacy and action on social justice, peace and human rights, integrating them deeply into the life of the whole Catholic community in Australia, and providing a credible Catholic voice on these matters in Australian society. In this way the ACSJC seeks to bring good news to the poor, release to captives, sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed.