Communities of Salt and Light

“The Church is the salt of the earth, she is the light of the world. She is called to make present in society the leaven of the Kingdom of God and she does this primarily with her witness, the witness of brotherly love, of solidarity and of sharing with others."

Pope Francis, Address on Vigil of Pentecost to Ecclesial Movements

In their landmark statement on Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish (1993), the U.S. Catholic bishops exhorted the faithful “to build evangelizing communities of faith, justice and solidarity, where all believers are challenged to bring God’s love, justice and peace to a world in desperate need of the seasoning of the gospel.” Today, U.S. Catholics are invited to take up anew this call to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.”

The materials on this page can help faith communities as they seek to grow in their witness as communities of salt and light.

Read the statement for the 30th anniversary of Communities of Salt & Light.

Salt & Light Assessment Tool

How is your faith community living the vision of Communities of Salt and Light? Our interactive assessment tool can help your community see where you are doing well and how to improve.  Engage the tool together! Use it as a prompt for how the Holy Spirit might be inviting your community to grow.

Take the Assessment

Themes and Resources

Want to be an evangelizing community that integrates faith, justice, and solidarity throughout its ministries and mission? Pay attention to these major themes identified in Communities of Salt & Light. With each theme, find resources to help

Anchoring Discipleship in Prayer and Worship

Philip Laubner/CRS

We must root social ministry in prayer, while also ensuring that worship reflects Christ’s call to conversion, unity, love, and justice.

"Our social ministry must be anchored in prayer, where we uncover the depths of God's call to seek justice and pursue peace."

- U.S. Catholic bishops, Communities of Salt & Light

“The celebration of the Eucharist thus becomes a constant summons for everyone ‘to examine himself or herself,’ to open the doors of the family to greater fellowship with the underprivileged, and in this way to receive the sacrament of that eucharistic love which makes us one body.”

- Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 186

Be salt & light

Forming Disciples through Preaching and Education

Forming Disciples We must ensure that Catholic social teaching is an essential part of preaching, as well as the curriculum and life of our schools, religious education programs, sacramental preparation and Christian initiation activities.

“it is important that catechesis and preaching speak more directly and clearly about the social meaning of existence, the fraternal dimension of spirituality, our conviction of the inalienable dignity of each person, and our reasons for loving and accepting all our brothers and sisters.”

- Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, no. 86 

Be salt & light

Living as Disciples in Family, Work and the Public Square

GettyImages-504650255_super We must help Catholics live their faith in the family, neighborhood, marketplace, and public square.

“If indeed ‘the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,’ the Church ‘cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.’ All Christians, their pastors included, are called to show concern for the building of a better world.”

- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 183 (quoting Deus Caritas Est, no. 28)  

Be salt & light

Being Neighbors, Locally and Globally

Laura Elizabeth Pohl/CRS

We must serve as bridge-builders, encountering our brothers and sisters at home and around the world.

“We need to grow in a solidarity which “would allow all peoples to become the artisans of their destiny,” since “every person is called to self-fulfilment.’”

- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 190 (quoting Populorum Progressio)


Be salt & light locally

Be salt & light globally

Responding with Charitable Works

Responding through Charitable Works We love God by loving our neighbor, as Jesus tells us in the Mt. 25: 31-46. When our brother is hungry we must feed him. When our sister is a stranger, we must welcome her.  Helping those who are hungry, homeless, troubled and alienated, in our own communities and beyond, is essential to answering Christ’s call to care for “the least of these.”

“It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others.”

- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 210 

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Responding with Social Justice

Philip Laubner/CRS

Helping Catholics understand the root causes of issues that prevent vulnerable families and individuals from thriving can lead to faith-inspired participation to change the structures that deny people their dignity and rights as children of God.

“’The Church, guided by the Gospel of mercy and by love for mankind, hears the cry for justice and intends to respond to it with all her might.’ In this context we can understand Jesus’ command to his disciples: ‘You yourselves give them something to eat!’ (Mk 6:37): it means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter.”

 - Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 188 

Be salt and light

Diversity and Racial Justice

Diversity and Racial Justice Our communities benefit from the gifts and contributions of the many cultural communities that make up our family of faith. We value diversity and seek to root out prejudice and racism, which prevent the unity of the Body of Christ and threaten the dignity of its members.

“We are a very diverse community of faith racially, ethnically, economically, and ideologically. This diversity should be respected, reflected, and celebrated in our social ministry.”

- U.S. Catholic bishops, Communities of Salt & Light

“We ask [all Catholics] to fight the evil of racism by educating themselves, reflecting on their personal thoughts and actions, listening to the experience of those who have been affected by racism, and by developing and supporting programs that help repair the damages caused by racial discrimination.”

– U.S. Catholic bishops, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love

Be salt and light

Leadership Development

Leadership and Development Developing leaders is an essential part of helping lay men and women live their vocation as disciples of Christ. This section includes tools for developing leaders and for helping new and seasoned leaders to develop leadership skills.

It is lay women and men, placing their gifts at the service of others (cf. 1 Pt 4:10), who will be God's primary instruments in renewing the earth by their leadership and faithfulness in the community.”

- U.S. Catholic Bishops, Communities of Salt and Light 

Be salt and light

Success Stories

Be inspired by faith communities responding to the call to be salt and light.

“We seek to build evangelizing communities of faith, justice, and solidarity, where all believers are challenged to bring God's love, justice, and peace to a world in desperate need of the seasoning of the gospel and the light of Catholic teaching.”

U.S. Catholic Bishops, Communities of Salt and Light