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Catholic Charities : Diocese of Des Moines


Social Justice

Social Justice Consortium

601 Grand Ave. 
Des Moines, IA 50309





Social Justice Consortium

The Social Justice Consortium promotes the social justice mission of the Catholic Church through a coordinated effort to work toward a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life for the pursuit of the common good.


Overview of initiatives:

Respect Life: The Respect Life initiative assists parishes in understanding and implementing the concept of the Consistent Life Ethic, whereby the respect and dignity of all persons is embraced from the moment of conception to natural death. A consistent life ethic means being pro-life across the board: opposing abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Contact: Ken Bresnan



Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD): Created by the U.S.C.C.B. in 1970 to address the root causes of poverty. CCHD funds projects that bring poor and low-income people together to work for change in their communities. Since its beginning, more than $280 million in CCHD grants have funded over 7,000 community-based self-help projects that create jobs, fight crime, ensure decent wages, reform schools, and provide affordable housing. Catholic Charities coordinates the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). This effort to end poverty and economic injustice is made possible through an annual parish collection on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The Diocesan Director evaluates and recommends local organizations that have applied for CCHD national grants. In addition an ad hoc committee advises the diocese on the distribution of local funds, which are a percentage of the overall local collection.

Download the 2016 CCHD Grant Application HERE.

Contact: Ken Bresnan

Parish Outreach Liaison

Catholic Relief Services (CRS): Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and disadvantaged outside the country and works under the auspices of the U.S.C.C.B. Catholic Charities coordinates the Parish Rice Bowl Collection and staffs an ad hoc committee which advises the diocese on the distribution of local funds, which are a percentage of the overall collection. A team of Catholic advocates called the Global Advocacy Team in the Des Moines Diocese, emerged in 2010 to "serve as a grassroots collective Catholic voice for the poor and vulnerable overseas, promoting smart and effective policies that address the root causes of conflict, hunger and disease".

Download th 2016 CRS Grant Application HERE.

Catholics Confront Global Poverty -

Contact: Ken Bresnan

Parish Outreach Liaison

Catholic Charities USA Poverty Campaign: The Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America is a multi-year, multi-faceted approach to alleviating poverty in the United States. The goals of the Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America are: to reduce poverty in the United States by 50 percent by the year 2020, To call upon the government to do more to serve those who are poor, and to improve public policies that strengthen and support families, to educate policymakers and the public about the struggles of those living in poverty and the good work of those who serve them in local communities, to engage those who are most impacted by government policies to be active participants in developing solutions to reducing poverty, to work with individuals and organizations across the country to address poverty in our country, The campaign calls upon all in our nation to address the issues that impact the most vulnerable and act now to reduce poverty in our nation.


Endorse Catholic Charities USA, Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America by logging on to

Contact: Pat Nestvedt
Assistant Executive Director, Catholic Charities

Center for Social Ministry (Partnership with Catholic Charities): This ministry aspires to enable people of faith to develop a passion for justice, to express this passion in concrete acts of social ministry, and to expand the work of social ministry in their faith communities. It creates and supports faith formation processes and resources that emphasize the Gospel message of peace and justice, Church social teaching and the intersection of spirituality and action.


JustFaith process- JustFaith is a 30-week transformation process; consisting of weekly meetings, three retreats, four "hands-on" experiences, occasional videos or guest speakers, and extensive reading based on the social justice traditions of the Church. While the JustFaith Process is very challenging and time consuming, those who have participated in this process have said, "It was worth every minute."

Engaging Spirituality, an accessible, practical and communal process. It introduces seekers to a breadth of contemporary and ancient wisdom. It invites people to engage current social realities from their hearts. It promotes a "grounded spirituality" for living the Gospel in these times.

For more information on either of these programs, contact Dixie Webb at 515-963-9560 or


Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse Advocacy: The Catholic Bishops of the United States continued to speak out against domestic violence in their 2002 statement, “When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women”.

Catholic Charities staffing includes advocates to help women who have experienced sexual abuse as well as a court advocate. The Phoenix House staff work to advocate on governmental funding issues to provide long term consistent funding for Domestic Violence programs in addition to legislative issues that impact victims.

Contact: Diane McKee
Phoenix House Program Manager

Justice for Newcomers: The Justice for Immigrants campaign works "to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of good faith in support of a broad legalization program and comprehensive immigration reform.” The campaign also strives to address the conditions that compel people to leave their homes including desperation and lack of opportunities. A diverse group of Catholic organizations with national networks support the Bishops' campaign, including Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services. The United States remains a nation of immigrants grounded in the firm belief that newcomers offer new energy, hope and cultural diversity.


In collaboration with other organizations, Catholic Charities advocates for social justice issues relevant to new Iowans (and long-time immigrants and refugees who may still face discrimination) in order to reduce structural barriers to their full participation in their communities. We partner with community members to involve greater numbers of people at the grassroots level in civic life and decision-making processes. Catholic Charities works in partnership with AMOS, ISNET, Human Trafficking Committee, Interfaith Alliance.


Contact: Leslie Van Der Molen

Poverty Reduction Program Manager


Rural Life
The Diocese of Des Moines through the Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium offers resources and information related to rural life.

Rural Life Mass - If interested in hosting or helping, please contact Deacon Luke at


Rev. Mr. Luke Tieskoetter
Deacon, Diocese of Des Moines

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness and Response Program: In the event of a local, regional, or national disaster, the Emergency/Disaster Response Program mobilizes the agency's services and resources and works in partnership with parishes to respond at the local level. The agency's efforts are also coordinated with those of other service providers in the government, not-for-profit, and health care sectors. This program may additionally provide assistance with, and information for, long term relief, such as support services and financial assistance.


Contact: Beth Gibbins
Communications & Event Director


Iowa Catholic Conference: Coordinate efforts and legislation concerns with the conference.
For more information go to


Contact: Tom Chapman
Executive Director of the Iowa Catholic Conference