Social Justice

Work for social justice is central to the identity of the Paulist Center.

Our history is filled with brave and gritty work in social justice that has deeply impacted our community and the Boston area. We believe, as Christians, that part of our call is to live a life dedicated to working alongside God in making this world a better, more just, and more vibrant place. We have many groups dedicated to different issues and projects here at the Center. All are open groups that would love to have new people involved!

Social Justice Groups

  • Care for Our Common Home

    Care for Our Common Home Team

    Giving Witness. Taking action.

    Mission Statement

    Ecological sustainability is an issue of global social justice, disproportionately affecting the poor and marginalized. It requires an approach to “questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (Laudato Si, #49).


    To live out this approach,

    • We will learn and embrace a Christian spirituality of environmental justice and stewardship. We will assist other ministries of the Paulist Center to incorporate this spirituality into the community’s consciousness and works.
    • We will take actions that demonstrate our collective commitment to environmental sustainability and justice. In partnership with the Paulist Center staff and members of the community, we will seek and implement ways to manage our personal and communal use of energy and materials to achieve sustainable patterns of consumption.
    • We will collaborate with other communities of faith and people of good will in advocacy and action to establish environmentally responsible policies in corporate and civic institutions.
    • Online resources resources about Laudato Si’, music, spirituality and the Catholic Climate Movement can be found here.
    • For more information, please contact a member of our team.
  • Food Pantry
    Paulist Center Emergency Food Pantry

    “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.” — Matthew 25:35

    As you have probably noticed, the appeal for food is a weekly affair. The reason: the demand is constant. In earlier years, the pantry could be stocked by an occasional bulletin notice, but no longer. Even when the food donated on Sunday has been augmented by collections taken up by schools, universities, and other groups, the supply usually does not meet the demand. As a result, The Paulist Center has teamed up with the Greater Boston Food Bank to collect additional food for a nominal fee. Three volunteer shoppers make weekly visits.

    The food pantry is located on the first floor, two doors down from the reception area. There, four volunteers spend one and one-half hours on Tuesday afternoons (1:30-3:00 pm) distributing food that three different volunteers have previously shelved. One visit for one grocery bag a month is the operating guideline. We are now giving out bags of groceries that feed over 400 people a month.

    The people who need the pantry come for a variety of reasons. They work for minimum wages or live on some governmental assistance that may have been reduced. Some on minimum wages feed children as well as themselves. Money runs out before the month runs out. They are formerly homeless persons getting back on their feet. Some are unemployed. Others are elderly or disabled with fixed and limited resources such as Social Security. Some just don’t make enough to pay rent and buy food.

    Many people learn of the pantry from friends.  Some are referred by neighboring churches and social service agencies; we are one of the few food pantries around that is open to anyone. The Wednesday Night Supper volunteers tell our guests about it.

    We have a pretty good idea of what people can use.  It is almost impossible to have too much:

    • rice
    • tuna and mayonnaise
    • canned fruit and vegetables
    • peanut butter and jelly/jam
    • dry milk, and juice boxes
    • beef stew, ravioli, chili
    • spaghetti sauce
    • boxed cereal
    • canned beans and baked beans
    • soup and packaged macaroni and cheese (in winter especially)

    Pasta products move rather slowly.  Surprisingly, there is almost no demand for baby food, dried beans, clear broths and “cooking soups” such as mushroom soup. Cranberry sauce, pumpkin and similar seasonal products, and uncommon foods sit on the shelf for a very long time as well.

    One basic rule: the less cooking required, the better   Another: the more familiar, the better.  We are restricted to using non-perishable and pre-packaged food because of health concerns.

    The Pantry is important as we work to live out the Biblical call to feed the hungry and reach out to our neighbors.

    Sincere thanks to all who keep the food pantry supplied.  Without you, there would be empty shelves and more hungry people seeking food.

    Opened every non-holiday Tuesday afternoon for those with an immediate, critical need for food. Donations of non-perishable items are always needed and can be left by the Mary Altar after the weekend liturgies.

    For more information or to get involved, contact Susan Rutkowski.

  • Immigration Advocacy Group

    The Immigration Advocacy Group works primarily in collaboration with MIRA, MCAN, and the ACLU to provide opportunities of solidarity, support, advocacy, and volunteerism with the goal of responding to the recent immigration crisis in a prophetic and effective way.  Our goals are to help immigrants and to inform and educate the Paulist Center Community to understand the immigration issues better as we work toward a more just world. Toward that end, we host listening sessions and invite and steer community members toward timely and effective actions like rallies and hearings at the State House as well as inform and educate the community on the latest immigration happenings.

    For more information or to get involved, contact Susan Rutkowski.

  • Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice

    Given annually to an individual or group in recognition of the outstanding commitment of a North American Catholic to building a more just and peaceful world. Past recipients include Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Archbishop Hunthausen, and Rev. Thomas Doyle.  See the guidelines to nominate your favorite Catholic whose work for justice you admire.

    • 2019   Joan Chittister, OSB: Author, Theologian, International Lecturer
    • 2018  Colleen Kelly: Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
    • 2017   Jane O’Connor: Educator
    • 2016   William B. Evans: Boston Police Commissioner
    • 2015   Suzanne & Brayton Shanley: Agape Community
    • full list  See the second page of the award guidelines

    For more information or to get involved, contact Susan Rutkowski.

  • Pax Christi Boston
    Who we are:
    Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA is a membership organization , a section of Pax Christi International, that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism.  We are a Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ in our witness to the mandate of the nonviolence of the Cross.
    What we do:
    Guided by the spirituality of nonviolence, we advocate and provide leadership for disarmament, demilitarization and reconciliation with justice, inclusiveness, economic and interracial justice, human rights and care of creation.
    •  We strive through prayer, study and action to be attentive to the interrelatedness of the key issues stated above and, in our response, to be conscious of their impact on the world community.
    • We work to align our organizational structures, policies, and practices with our intent to be an anti-racist, multicultural Catholic movement for peace and justice.
    Our Vision:
    A more peaceful, just and sustainable world through the efforts of our members and in collaboration with other groups.
    We dream of a world that respects the universal human rights of all people, and we do this by being in solidarity with oppressed and marginalized people struggling  for dignity.  We reject every form of political and economic domination over others.  We continue to knock on the door of the Empire demanding entrance and a voice:a
    voice that proclaims that every human being is worthy of respect regardless of race, class, socio-economic status, and on which side of what border one comes from.
    Toward these ends PCUSA is joined with many justice seeking organizations around the world.
    We dream of restoring our globe to a place of balance where the earth is recognized as our home and its care our future.  We believe with Teilhard de Chardin when he said, “creation, nature is the first Body of Christ.”
    We realize that the extremes in weather, the susceptibility of fire and drought in so many parts of the globe, the displacement and migrations of peoples, the dramatic loss of plant and animal life are not coincidences.  The thread that runs through them all is the misuse of the earth’s resources along with the greed and miss-use of power in polluting the atmosphere and thus rendering the earth seriously off balance.
    Contact Information:
    Christina Abbey, Convener, Pax Christi Boston
    474 Revere Beach Boulevard 904
    Revere,MA 02151
  • St. Dismas Committee
    St. Dismas Committee: Educating, Informing and Advocating for Criminal Justice Reform

    Do you feel the Gospel call to visit the prisoner? Did the Trayvon Martin case motivate you to act for change? Do you want to fight for fairness in our criminal justice system? Join the St. Dismas Committee at the Paulist Center. We organize educational events for the community, perform direct service, and work for legislative change.

    Advocacy Efforts

    The Committee recently met with Senator Brownsberger’s office to inquire about criminal justice reform bills in which we, as a committee and a community, could get behind in a substantial way.  We also asked: what are the most effective practices in getting a bill passed? 

    We share the following:

    • Attend the hearing; if possible, line up experts and people personally affected (This is often difficult, since hearings often get rescheduled.Call sponsoring legislator’s office to confirm.)
    • Be in touch with the bill’s sponsor (outside the legislature, e.g. Prisoners’ Legal Services)
    • Have a personal connection 1) with the situation or 2) with a legislator
    • Write letters to legislators (individualized letters are more effective than form letters)
    • Attend the legislator’s office hours in his/her home district
    • Keep in touch with caucuses of legislators, e.g. Drug Law and Harm Reduction Caucus

    The Senator’s office shared that the new legislation to reform criminal justice will likely include the following:

    • Legislation to reduce the criminalization of poverty
    • Reduce fees and fines (that indigent defendants often cannot pay)
    •  Reduce automatic suspensions of drivers’ licenses
    • Convert some minor crimes to non-criminal offenses
    •  Increase the dollar threshold for a felony
    • Ease the sealing of criminal records

    Since we are still in the early stages of bill submission, we are monitoring which bills will come to bear, and will present the community with action steps as soon as it becomes available.

    For more information or to get added to the group email list, contact Susan Rutkowski.

  • St. Joseph Society

    St Joseph Society works on  renovation projects at the Crossroads Shelter in East Boston, volunteering labor to perform carpentry, plumbing, and other renovation activities.

    For more information or to get involved, contact Vincent Rocchio.

  • Sister Community Group

    Since 1986 the Sister Community group has had a sister relationship with Hacienda Vieja, a farming community in rural El Salvador near the Honduran border. HV is a well-organized community located far from the violence in the cities with a population of 423 residents. Over the years, we have raised money to improve the town water supply and to purchase farm land. The land is used for grazing, planting corn and millet and most recently cacao. Center members have visited the town in 2001 and 2012 in conjunction with a Romero Anniversary celebration. We raise money by selling fair trade crafts and coffee and would welcome you to join us in our spiritual and material support.

    For more information or to get involved, contact Judy Stover or Roberto Jimenez.

  • Voice of the Faithful

    The Paulist Center chapter of VOTF was formed on June 30th, 2002 to support VOTF’s three goals: support those who have been abused, support priests of integrity, and shape structural change in the church.

    Mission Statement – To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. Our three goals are: to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church.

    Description – Voice of the Faithful®, a movement of faithful Roman Catholics, began in 2002 in response to shocking revelations in the life of the Catholic Church: widespread clerical abuse of children; silence of clergy in the face of known or suspected abuse; and the moral, governance and pastoral failures of Catholic bishops in response to abusers and survivors alike. In the face of such breaches of trust, VOTF emerged from the determination of Catholic laity to find our voice and to claim our proper role in the governance of the Church. VOTF will continue to seek structural reforms that will correct the problems that led to the abuse scandal, and that, if unchanged, could enable other scandals to occur. Joining VOTF is a commitment to work to strengthen and renew the Church, and to assume shared responsibility for its governance.

    Contact Information – Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director,; Nick Ingala, Communications Director,

    Address – Voice of the Faithful, P.O. Box 423, Needham, MA 02464

    Website –

    Facebook –

    Twitter –

    Blog –

  • Walk for Hunger

    Founded by and at the Paulist Center, this annual 20-mile walk takes place the first Sunday of May. Volunteers help plan, coordinate, and walk to raise funds for Project Bread and the many meal programs and food pantries throughout Massachusetts. The Walk is now sponsored by Project Bread.

    The Paulist Center continues to participate in this project.

    For more information or to get involved, contact Susan Rutkowski.

  • Wednesday Night Supper Club

    Volunteers host a meal for our neighbors who are hungry. The meal is offered weekly in the Paulist Center Auditorium at 6pm and is funded by Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger as well as donations from groups and individuals.

    For more information or to get involved, contact Jeff Buckley.

    To arrange for a group to volunteer, contact The Supper Club Team.

    If you are interested being a cook, contact Emily Hankle.


    Individuals with questions about volunteering are welcome to send an email to the email address above, but also know that it is fine for an individual to just come to help any week without prearranging your visit. Suffolk University students interested in volunteering in order to complete their Local and Global Engagement hours are asked to sign up via SU Connect available HERE.  You can follow us on Facebook HERE.

    We also serve a breakfast on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 9am. Please feel free to also stop by to help with this event.