Discovering and illuminating faith and innovation in action
Throughout history, Catholic ministries have harnessed social innovation to creatively deliver new responses to challenges while demonstrating faith in action and fulfilling Gospel values. To examine these practices and inform Catholic philanthropy, FADICA launched the Catholic Social Innovation Initiative to expand the understanding, practice, and support for high-impact social innovation in Catholic ministries.
In May 2020, FADICA released “Open Wide the Doors to Christ: A Study of Catholic Social Innovation for Parish Vitality,” a report of best practices and innovations that foster the vitality of parishes. This research was completed as the second area of focus within the Catholic Social Innovation Initiative, through the valuable stewardship and support of FADICA’s Church Vitality Affinity Group.
The report highlights four key elements that are evident in vibrant parish communities: Leadership, Worship, Word, and Service. These elements combine to form a parish that is welcoming and missionary.
In addition, the report details how parish vitality may be fostered through four specific areas or lenses of parish life, as identified by the Church Vitality Affinity Group: Welcoming Parishes, Young Adults, Women and Women Religious in Leadership, and Hispanic Ministry. These areas are represented as four pathways in the adjacent infographic “Pathways to Parish Vitality.” Each pathway contains action steps that invite the faithful into the church and encourage them to then go forth to spread the Gospel within the larger community. These pathways also support the vitality of a parish.
Global Refugee Crisis
FADICA's 2018 report, “Catholic Social Innovation in the Global Refugee Crisis,” identified 64 Catholic projects worldwide for their innovation in helping refugees and migrants. The report articulated a definition for Catholic social innovation within the context of the refugee crisis, and outlined twelve funding principles and practices for supporting Catholic social innovation, applicable to all faith-based or secular social innovative efforts.
FADICA partnered with a research team from Boston College’s Center for Social Innovation to produce the report.
The innovative ways Catholic groups are helping migrants and refugees by Michael O'Loughlin (America Magazine)
Catholic groups use 'social innovation' to help refugees by Heidi Schlumpf (National Catholic Reporter)
Migration aid project study focuses on ‘Catholic social innovation’ by Mark Pattison (Catholic News Service)
How Nuns Are Helping With Migration Crisis Prof. Tiziana Dearing's interview on NECN's The Take
This visual plots the locations of Catholic social innovation in serving refugees and migrants featured in the report. These projects are a representation, not an exhuastive list, of Catholic social innovation in the refugee crisis. A list of projects featured in the report are found in the Executive Summary.
Red dots = Catholic-led projects; green dots = Sister-led projects