Date of Award

Spring April 2015

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts



School or College

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Brett C. Hoover


Current social norms support statistics that reflect the uneven distribution of economic resources within the United States. Local Catholic parishes, including its parishioners, have a responsibility to address the needs of the poor by participating in outreach to others. This is true within upper-income parishes where access to a variety of resources could provide support to those with far fewer resources. Church tradition provides the means for understanding why care for the poor is a priority and responsibility in the life of a parish. The belief of “imago Dei” forms a basis of establishing that human life has value due to the equal dignity that is present in all of humanity. Within this broad context, the Second Vatican Council maintained that the Church has a mission to be a sacrament of salvation that animates Jesus’ ministry of care for life in the world today. Subsequently, church members have a responsibility to be the animators for her mission by answering the call to create and form a community in which there exists mutual responsibility and kinship amongst all her members.