[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Our air is polluted!” main_heading_color=”#ffffff” sub_heading_color=”#ffffff”]The social justice committee has been concerned with the air quality in our community. For the past three years, we have been working with health officials, researchers, community stakeholders and politicians to fully understand why this might be. What we learned was frightening.

We are possibly the most polluted community in the nation. There is little regulation on the industries that crowd our schools and homes. There is little monitoring and safety measures in place to hold businesses accountable for what they pour into our air.

We have high levels of asthma and our air is 10 times poorer than the air in Wrigleyville.

The solutions must be comprehensive. It is not enough to talk about ONE business or ONE policy at ONE meeting. We need MORE PEOPLE to get involved and to ask the city, businesses, and neighbors to work together to solve this problem.


WE NEED YOU![/ultimate_heading]

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”We believe in Catholic teachings on Social Justice”]

Welcome to the Social Justice Committee page for St. Paul Church in Pilsen!

We have along history of working to serve our community and to push for change that benefits our neighbors. We believe that all residents of our community are OUR parishioners, regardless of faith belief. You are OURS and we are YOURS. We must be present in the neighborhood. We must work to improve the lives of all who live here. We must seek to do Christ’s work in – not only loving, but in challenging us all to do better.


[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Who we are…” main_heading_color=”#ffffff” sub_heading_color=”#ffffff”]We are residents, parents, and homeowners from southwest side communities. We believe that every human being has a right to live in a clean and healthy environment, but that is impossible where we live. So, we have worked together for four years, have had many very successful actions, meetings, studies that reflect our reality. We have two important mission goals.  First, to engage large numbers of residents to understand the importance of air quality and the impact on the health and well-being of their community. Second, to hold accountable those polluting the air and elected officials doing nothing about it.  Join us![/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Organizations who stand with us” main_heading_color=”#ffffff” sub_heading_color=”#ffffff”]Southwest Environmental Alliance

Paul Catholic Church

Lincoln United Methodist Church

Healthy Hood

Alivio Medical Center

Pilsen Neighbors Community Council

Mujeres Latinas en Acción

El Valor Corp.

Alivio Medical Center

Holy Grounds


Somos Un Pueblo

University of IL at Chicago, School of Public Health[/ultimate_heading]

[ultimate_heading main_heading=”What our leaders say…”][/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Mary Gonzales”]“I believe our faith calls us to love one another. In so doing, it is not only about getting along with others, but instead, doing the things that make life better.”[/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”What our leaders say…”][/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Greg Galluzzo”]“Harm is done to us, not only by people but also by the state. Fighting for social justice is to change the policies and practices of the state to bring about justice and equality. The Catholic Church has a very long history of encouraging us to work for social justice”[/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”What our pastor says…”][/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Fr. Mike”]“I believe that we are obligated to help the victims of unjust structures in society and we are obligated to work to change those structures.”[/ultimate_heading]
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”What the pope says…”][/ultimate_heading]
ashwin-vaswani-55k45BgfUF8-unsplash (1)
[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Pope Francis”]“In this you have a dual task or responsibility… Like the Good Samaritan, to tend attentively to all those who are stricken along the way, and at the same time, to ensure that many more join in: the poor and the oppressed of the earth deserve it, and our common home demands it of us.”[/ultimate_heading]

Press Release on Clean Air for Pilsen

Press Release: For Immediate Release Date: 08/08/2023 Demanding Clean Air for Chicago’s Neighborhoods: Community Protest at City Hall Residents and activists are coming together to raise their voices and demand action to address the air pollution plaguing our communities. On August 17th at 10 AM, a protest will take place on the 5th floor of…

Tax Increases: St. Paul Social Justice Committee

In December of 2022, Pilsen residents received much higher tax bills than expected. Some saw increases of 300%. On average, the increase was 46% across the entire neighborhood. The Social Justice Committee of St. Paul immediately called a meeting of neighbors. Here is the breakdown of their work so far. Raised taxes will mean raised…

The Giving Tree

Most everyone in the parish knows about our giving tree.  Just in case you don’t, here’s what it’s about.  In our neighborhood we have a wonderful place called El Valor.  They take care of children and adults with disabilities.  There are 300 children in their program, and for more than 8 years our parish has…

Should we get involved? The children of our community think so!

Last week, children from our community joined activists who want to stop permits for industrial polluters in our neighborhood. Why? Because Pilsen and the southwest side of Chicago are crowded with factories and trucks. Some businesses are doing honorable business and are responsible. There are others who are not and who are polluting our air.…

Why come and Pray?

In a recent article in Church Life Journal, Timothy O’Malley wrote about the difficulty Americans have in understanding Catholicism.  It’s hard to do justice to the article in a page long note, and if you want to see the whole thing, click here.  Here’s an attempt at a summary. O’Malley writes that we Americans think…

Communities and Limits

Who are we?  One of the ways we might describe ourselves is as members of communities.  Or at least we used to be that.  Wendell Berry has been doing some remarkable writing on the nature of communities and in an essay he published a few years ago he ties together concern for the environment, civil…

Visiting the Jail

I started visiting Cook County Jail in 1985 and have been going ever since.  For a while I was stationed in South Chicago and couldn’t go regularly, but often enough parishioners would end up in the jail and I’d see them.  When I started, the jail was pretty small… it started on 26th and California…

Social Justice RE-LAUNCHES at St. Paul!

.  .  .   “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”  Micah 6:8   The Social Justice Committee of St. Paul Parish exists to do what the Lord requires, “to…