Justice and Peace
The Claretians were founded in 1849 with a mission to take the side of the poor and the oppressed at every opportunity. Saint Anthony Claret, the founder who set this path, personally confronted the established interests of his times to the point that threats were made on his life. In the end, he was exiled from his native Spain.
Today, the Claretians have a special mission in ministering with the poor. They strive to help those who lack basic human needs, and they work for justice for all people. The Claretians place themselves where those needs are greatest, from working with immigrants in the inner cities and staffing parishes at global mission sites to serving on the boards of local service agencies.
And, like their founder, the Claretians are not afraid to assert their dedication to justice and peace, even in dangerous situations. Claretian missionary Rhoel Gallardo, director of an elementary school in the Philippines, was killed recently after being taken hostage by a violent rebel faction there. The headline in the national newspaper there read, “Fr. Rhoel Gallardo: Requiem for a Martyr of Peace.”
Here is a sampling of the programs in which Claretians are involved on their quest for justice and peace:
At the core of the Claretians' publishing ministry is an imperative to address justice and peace issues. From U.S. Catholic magazine, which encourages a continuing conversation about the issues Catholics face in their everyday lives; Salt of the Earth, our online toolbox for social justice; and At Home with our Faith, which helps parents raise a family with faith, to our bilingual parish newsletters and ¡OYE!, the bilingual annual vocation discernment guide, Claretian Publications focus on the spirituality of justice and peace.
Eighth Day Center for Justice
Based in Chicago, the Eighth Day Center is a consortium representing 17 religious communities of men and women. There is a full time staff working on justice and peace issues. Its activities have included direct action to assist those in need, nursing home reform and consciousness-raising on hunger, nuclear weapons, and women’s rights. The Claretians contribute their time and funds to this endeavor.
This community development initiative is based in South Chicago, where there is an urgent need for safe, affordable housing. Claretians fully staff and fund this organization, which partners with other neighborhood development programs in Chicago to help curb violence and homeless in the area. Projects have included the first new single-family housing in the economically depressed area to be built in over 10 years, and the 54-unit senior apartment complex, Villa Guadalupe. These and other programs have breathed new life and hope in South Chicago.
Claretian Social Development Fund
The Claretian Justice and Peace Committee meets once a year to share the generosity of the Claretians’ friends with a variety of nonprofit organizations that need a hand. The Claretians depend on contributions to support their widespread ministries, and they believe some of that money should be passed on to encourage innovative ideas. They reach out to worthwhile programs with grants of $4,000 or $5,000 that are a big help in getting started in doing good. If you have any questions regarding the Claretian Social Development Fund, please contact Maria Contreras at 312-544-8196.