Last Thursday evening, after James Vonbehren and I left the NMCEH conference early in Albuquerque, we headed over to La Posta resturant in Mesilla so I could discuss how Camp Hope relates to the Catholic concept of subsidiarity for St Albert the Great Newman Center’s “Theology On Tap” converasation series that they hold weekly. I was unfamiliar with susidiarity and how it has become a tenant of Catholic philosophy, so I had to to do a little research on wikipedia-
Subsidiarity is an organising principle of decentralisation, stating that a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralised authority capable of addressing that matter effectively – or, the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.
James and I also brought Josh Jackson and Melody Rexroth, our resident Camp Office staff, to join us in the discussion. Mona Chip and Friar Ray had about 16 young people in their group, including a group of young folks they had just met that are traveling their way across country on bicycles. Ray started out the conversation by explaining some of the main principals of Catholic Social Justice teachings, such as solidarity-family community and participation-dignity of work and rights of workers, and then spoke about the difference between the concept of charity and the concept of justice as branches of the idea of subisidiarity. I spoke for about 45 minutes about Camp Hope, about how it started, and how the Camp as a form of homeless advocacy is relevant to these concepts. I also tried to convey that our program runs completely on donations from the Las Cruces community, or charity. And I also tried to relate the MVCH, as a non-profit, also depends on federal funding so that it can continue to manage and expand the six different housing programs it offers the homeless and indigant, as well as compiling the various forms of data about their clients that help identify their needs help increase funding.
It was good timing that we had just returned from the NMCEH “Housing For All Conference” because I got to explain how all the social services agencies in New Mexico that serve the homeless and poor are constantly trying improve their efforts, like the theme of comference states – “Community Collaboration and Change”. This years conference had great speakers, Kathleen Guarino talked about Trauma Informed Care, and Becky Kanis dicussed the 100,000 Homes campaign and how new approaches to rapid rehousing for chronically and the vulnerable homeless are changing policies in different major cities all over our country. I thought this tied into the idea of the justice component that Ray had introduced. Some of the young members had some great questions, that I tried to answer thoroughly. All in all it was a great discussion and I am glad we all got to participate.
THANKS TO FRIAR RAY AND MONA CHIP FOR INVITITING US, AND FOR THE YOUNG MEMBERS OF THE NEWMAN GROUP FOR LISTENING AND ASKING GREAT QUESTIONS!
AND THANKS TO LA POSTA RESTURANT FOR HOSTING THE THEOLOGY ON TAP CONVERSATIONS!