Local Community is important to all of us
We have the same hopes and fears of other residents in the area.

St. Mary's Parishioners are invited to attend Mass and Social gathering in Long Prairie.

Food Delivery
As a Church we care for those in our Community.

During one of the Food Drives, St. Mary's Parish collects bags of groceries for the Food Shelf in Alexandria.


A Challenge sent out by Pope Paul VI.

Peace Pole Blessing
The Peace Pole is 'planted'.

Fr. Steve blesses the Peace Pole which was donated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Our Transportation to 'work' each morning

Members of St. Marys travel to San Lucas Mission to spend 10 days 'experiencing' the lives of the people that live there.

JPIC Committee at St. Marys


Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation

Interim Committee Chair:
Tammy Boushek

Meeting Date:
3rd Wednesday of Month

Meeting Time:
5:30 PM


Who We Are


Aware of the gospel imperative to "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself", which requires concern for all human beings, the people of the Church of St. Mary believe that the practice of social justice and charity are integral to our life as Catholic Christians.  Practicing charity and promoting social justice are responsibilities of our faith community.


The mission of the Committee for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), is to serve as a catalyst to empower our parish as the People of God to fulfill Jesus' teachings of love, justice, freedom and peace by continually responding in an organized way to societal and individual human needs, at both the local and global level.


The JPIC Committee will strive to assist the parish community to understand and act on Catholic Social Teaching.  This will be achieved by identifying, supporting, and training leaders who will organize people and activities around four specific, complementary ministries.

  • Direct Service - "Serving the least among us"
  • Legislative Advocacy - Advocating for Justice
  • Global Solidarity - Building Solidarity Beyond Parish Boundaries
  • Community Organizing - Organizing for Justice

The common theme that brings together these four main areas of social concerns is regular formation and reflection on Catholic social teachings (theological reflection).

Catholic Themes

Themes of Catholic Social Teaching


The JPIC Committee at St. Mary's strives to keep these principles as the cornerstone for all efforts. The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents. In these brief reflections, we highlight several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society—in economics and politics, in law and policy—directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Rights and Responsibilities

The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities--to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.


We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.”1 The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

Care for God’s Creation

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

This summary should only be a starting point for those interested in Catholic social teaching. A full understanding can only be achieved by reading the papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents that make up this rich tradition. For a copy of the complete text of Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions (No. 5-281) and other social teaching documents, call 800-235-8722.

Copyright 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Publication No. 5-315
USCCB Publishing
Washington, D.C.

ISBN 1-57455-315-1
1 Paul VI, For the Celebration of the Day Of Peace (Rome: January 1, 1972).

Text is drawn from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions (Washington, DC: USCCB, 1998) and Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003).

USCCB Permissions

Fair Trade

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), formerly the International Fair Trade Association, was created in 1989 and is a global association of 324 organizations in over 60 countries[1]. Members are fair trade producer cooperatives and associations, export marketing companies, importers, retailers, national and regional fair trade networks and Fair Trade Support Organizations.

WFTO's mission is to improve the livelihoods and well being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations, and speaking out for greater justice in world trade.

WFTO's core fields of activities are:

  • Developing the market for fair trade.
  • Building trust in fair trade.
  • Speaking out for fair trade.
  • Providing networking opportunities
  • Empowering the regions.

In 2004 WFTO launched a fair trade certification. The FTO Mark identifies registered Fair Trade Organizations worldwide (as opposed to products in the case of FLO International and Fairtrade mark) and guarantees that standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labor and the environment. These standards are verified by self-assessment, mutual reviews and external verification. The FTO Mark is available to all WFTO members who meet the requirements of the WFTO Standards and Monitoring System and so far over 150 organizations have registered.

What can we do?

St. Mary's will try to utilize products from the Fair Trade, if possible and will also be looking into selling some of them at fund raisers such as Silent Auctions.  If you are interested in purchasing products, contact some of the local partners listed below: 

Catholic Relief Services: http://www.crsfairtrade.org/


Equal Exchange: http://interfaith.equalexchange.com


SERRV : http://www.crsfairtrade.org/chocolate

Craft Partners:

SERRV:  http://www.crsfairtrade.org/crafts

Peace Pole

Have you seen it?

Our Peace Pole is a four sided pole which has the word “Peace” carved/engraved into each of the four sides in eight different languages. This will be a gift from the School Sisters of Notre Dame.  Initially, it will have English, Arabic, Spanish and Hebrew. The next four languages chosen to reflect the peace message:  Korean, Norwegian, Swahili (Kenya & Tanzania) and Hebrew. 

Fr. Steve blessing the Peace Pole in September 2010.










Guatemala Trip

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 
Matthew 25:40

Check out our August 2011 Mission Trip Blog - http://guatemalamissionstmarys.blogspot.com/


What is your mission?

How about a trip to Guatemala that touches lives?


Come learn about cultures, global realities, and the daily lives of the poor.  Give the gift of your presence and compassion and in return, receive the gift of insight.

Be a part of making God’s love visible

Take the time to experience and truly appreciate the EIGHT BEATITUDES as you interact and work with the poor in San Lucas.


There is a grossly uneven distribution of global wealth, and this provides an excellent opportunity for those who have been blessed with relative prosperity to reach out to those who are less fortunate. The journey of working with the poor will make lasting changes in their lives, and cause you to reflect and grow spiritually in life-giving ways. As you grow in your spiritual life through your interactions with the poor, you will witness God’s love.   These interactions, relationships, and experiences gives your companions (the poor), the strength to hope, as they live from one day to the next. By doing missionary work, you will have a better understanding of the meaning of Christ’s message:                

Love your neighbor as yourself” 

San Lucas Mission information: http://www.sanlucasmission.org/pages/volunteer/learn-about-volunteering

Meeting Minutes

The Church of St. Mary
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Present: Rita Von Holtum, Gloria Deick, Tammy Boushek, Suzanne Sudmeier, Jerry Kalinowski, Kathleen Lingor. Guest presenter: Kathy Langer, Director of Social Concerns for the diocese of St. Cloud. Dan Sutton, videographer from Douglas Machines, Alexandria. Absent: Fr. Steve Binsfeld, Don Skrove, parish council liaison.

One to One Training: Kathy Langer: The purpose of this training for our committee is to learn the interactive skills of interviewing potential new members to our committee. Each and every member of our parish has been blessed with certain God given gifts to fulfill His calling in their lives. This training provided us with an excellent interactive process to invite potential members to “dig deep”, to contemplate what their passion in social justice might be.

Tammy invited Dan Sutton from Douglas Machines to video the presentation for us to revisit when we are doing future interviews. Kathy has given permission that this DVD can be used by other parish committees for interview purposes. When we receive the DVD from Dan we, as a committee will review it and ask for editing if the need is indicated.

Dates for Parish Calendar: We decided on the following dates for JPIC events in 2014-2015 year: Tuesday, August 5th: Peace Mass and program, 5p.m. - 7:30 p.m. November 15 - 16th after weekend masses: will discuss with Fr. Steve and appropriate staff the possibility of a display either in the Great Hall or the Gathering Space for Global Solidarity/Parish Mission Work, specifically Fair Trade items *** (see below). Sunday, January 18, 2015, time to be determined: Pro Life Prayer Service. Tuesdays, March 3rd and 10th, 2015: Lenten Movie Nights and/or presentations.

***Fair Trade: This committee recognizes and appreciates the parish council’s approval for the sale of Fair Trade coffee at designated times beginning on Sunday, June 8th. It is the intention of this committee to educate the parish council and parish staff that advancing the practice of the sale of other Fair Trade items (at limited specific times of the year) is doing mission for the church. The United States Council of Catholic Bishops has indicated that the essence of being a viable, living church requires that three activities intrinsic to being Church be present: 1) Worship, 2) Faith Formation and 3) Social Justice, of which Fair Trade is a part. These are the so called three legs of Church. To be clear, “Fair Trade is an organized social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability”. It is not the sale of only coffee and chocolate. Most parishes in the St. Cloud diocese who are active in advancing Fair Trade, offer parishioners the opportunity to purchase many beautiful items that the people from impoverished countries have made. Shelby Vaske, the diocesan Fair Trade coordinator, has these items and would be available to bring her display to our parish. This committee recognizes and respects the current parish policy that there are specific and rigid restrictions on the sale of goods in the gathering space of our church. Having said that, we plan to submit a plan educating the council and parish staff that approving an exception to this parish policy is not providing a certain group with a venue to benefit financially from product sales but it is fulfilling our call to promote the Global Church by affording parishioners the opportunity to purchase such items. A target date to present this proposal to the council could be mid- July.

Rural Life Celebration: This committee recognizes and acknowledges the hard work that our member, Jerry Kalinowski has done in trying to organize this event to be held here in Alexandria. We offer a heartfelt thank you to him for his efforts. Through him we wish to also thank all the chairpersons he had already signed up to help with this task. This event will not be held in the Alexandria in 2015.
Environmental Issues Update: This committee sends a big ‘thank you’ to Ken and Jeanne Howell for their hard work in organizing this past Tuesday evening’s presentation, “Climate Change”, with Dr. Bernie Evans. It was a very successful event. Thank you Ken and Jeanne!

Global Solidarity Group Update: The display cart for the sale of Fair Trade Coffee is here. There is also a lock box on the unit which will afford parishioners the flexibility to purchase coffee at their convenience. Gloria has been in touch with Shelby Vaske who states that the order for the coffee has been placed. Fair Trade coffee will be served at Sunday morning coffee’s only….not at all parish events. The cost for the cart and lockbox is $226.20 which will be deducted from our budget balance.

Next meeting: Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Respectfully submitted,
Kathleen Lingor