WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Commission members see justice in action

Members of the archdiocesan Justice, Peace and Development Commission visited a people’s market in Wellington’s Newtown suburb last month as an awareness-raising exercise.

Newtown’s St Anne’s Parish has hosted a market for the past few months to give beneficiaries and people on low incomes an alternative source of low-cost food. The market also gives people an opportunity to gather and talk together about the struggles they are having with the current economic recession.

The market provides food from different sources including some that is homegrown.
It was important for members to talk to people and find out what people were saying.
Some of the stallholders said they were not as interested in making money as in talking to others about their work.
Others said they thought the idea was wonderful and they wanted to support it.

Datu Beech had brought seedlings to sell at a previous market day and those he didn’t sell, he sold as mature vegetables last month. The 10-year-old is saving to buy a bike.
Datu is one of many stallholders who have grown their produce organically.

This is the first time the commission has had representation from the South Island parishes.
Ron Sharp, Gordon McConnell and Philippa Winch are representing the 10 South Island parishes.
The commission is keen to encourage the church to recognise less popular issues—those that  often end up in the ‘too-hard’ basket.

Commission members would like to audit the social justice recommendations from the 2006 synod document to find out what parishes are doing about it and whether there is more that could be done. The synod document is the driver for future actions because it was the voice of the people and needs to be honoured as such.

The commission is identifying people who have expertise in the archdiocese. For example, in terms of the environment, who in the archdiocese has expertise to teach people about people’s responsibilities towards the environment?
Other issues for discussion included housing, families, relationships between cultures, inequality, low incomes and work—the commission is keen to hear from anyone who has skills in these areas.

The commission also explored ways parish and pastoral area JPD groups can be supported and resourced.
The commission discussed how to foster JPD groups and help build relationships between groups perhaps with a series of hui and workshops with commission members attending local meetings to find out what the needs are.
Members were keen to see the word commission as ‘co-mission’ in terms of working alongside others for justice. This would provide a context for the exhortation to ‘act locally but think globally’, overcoming narrow attitudes and expanding horizons.

Other commission members are Gerard Burns, Michael Gormly, Teresa Homan, Shane and Simone Olsen, Richard Archer, John Maynard and Mary-Ann Greaney.