The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development


The Catholic social teaching principle of Participation is recognising that everyone has a part to play in our communities. Promoting participation - nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou - means recognising we each have something unique and important to contribute to society. We are called on to be active members of our local and global communities.

Everyone Has a Part to Play

Promoting participation means recognising we each have something unique and important to contribute to society.

As human beings we live in community with others, growing together. We are called to be active members of our local, national and global communities to improve the well-being of all people.

We have a responsibility to be inclusive in our churches, our workplaces, our neighbourhoods and our decision-making processes. As communities we can work creatively to provide opportunities for all people to


Searching the Scriptures...

Social Justice teaching is founded on firm scriptural foundations.

  • And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day
    Hebrews 10:24-25
  • Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
    1 John 3:18
  • So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
    Romans 12:5

...And in the light of Catholic social teaching.

  • ‘Participation is a duty to be fulfilled consciously by all, with responsibility and with a view to the common becomes absolutely necessary to encourage participation above all of the most
    Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (#189)
  • ‘...the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction. True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from selfgiving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.’
    Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, #88, 2013
  • 'Each of us has a part to play, a gift to share, a service to offer, for building up the Body of Christ in love.'
    Pope Francis, June 19, 2013
  • ‘Be assertive. Be a participant in life at all levels. The future will be what you make of today.’
    New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference: Love Life, Give Life, 1985
  • ‘Participation’ is the voluntary and generous engagement of a person in social interchange. It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person.’
    Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1913)


Great Examples: New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference Election Statement

In the lead up to every General Election, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) release a statement with the aim of getting people to ‘guide people in looking to the wellbeing of everyone’
and ‘reflect beyond party policies and political personalities and consider what sort of a nation we want Aotearoa New Zealand to be.’

Voting is one way that New Zealanders aged 18 and above can participate and have an influence in the way our society operates. The principle of participation reminds us all that we have a right to participate in society but also a duty to get involved too. As we have come out of a nationwide lockdown as a result of COVID-19, this year’s election statement from the NZCBC, rightly challenges us all to reflect on what we have learnt, what we desire for our country, and how we can be a part of it.

You can read the full statement here: New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference


Living out CST: Ideas for putting faith into action

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  • What messages and challenges from the NZCBC Election Statement stand out to you personally?
  • What is the significance of being ‘one body in Christ’ and ‘members one of another’?
  • Why is participation in ‘life at all levels’ so important for us as followers of Christ?
  • What do I need to change to ensure that I can exercise my responsibility to actively contribute to society?
  • How can I become more conscious of the people in my life, and so be part of Pope Francis’ call to participate in the ‘revolution of tenderness’?

Acting in Faith

  • Read and reflect on the Election Statement and questions above.
  • Research and inform yourself in the lead up to the General Election, and then make your vote count.
  • Pray for those who work for justice and peace in our world.
  • Reflect on what your gifts are and how you can put them to good use and participate in local activities.
  • Reflect on how you can enable the participation of all members in your family.
  • Follow current events for the week and take note of all the examples where people have enabled others to participate or where others have felt isolated or struggled to participate fully in society. Discuss what we can all learn from these examples.
  • Read and reflect on Acts 2:41-47. Think on how they lived out the principle of participation.
  • Watch the 2014 Caritas case study called Everyone With a Part to Play.
  • Connect with a local group in your community to enable them to feel important and connected with your parish.
  • Take a look at how well your parish or community enables the participation of young people and people with disabilities.
  • Hold an election forum or gather a group from your community to attend one. Inform yourselves before you vote.
  • Choose a prayer from the Social Justice Week 2020 resources and use it in your parish liturgy – during Prayer of the Faithful or at the end of Communion.


Closing Prayers

E te Ariki, may we always strive to be your active presence as we participate in building a community based on love and Gospel values.
Leader: E te Ariki...     All: whakarongo mai rā ki a mātou.

Lord, may we hve the strength to walk alongside those who are not made to feel welcome in the society you created for all.
Leader: E te Ariki...     All: whakarongo mai rā ki a mātou.

Lord, may we always remember that we are strengthened not just by the presence of community, but by being community through building a world of justice and peace.
Leader: E te Ariki...     All: whakarongo mai rā ki a mātou.


Lord God, who has made us all into one body in Christ,
Enable us to honour one another in our work.
Help us to understand the ways in which we depend upon one another.
Teach us to bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s joy.
In our varied occupations enable us to serve one another with dignity and carefulness.
May we receive with gratitude the work of other people.
So continue your work of binding us together in your human family.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(St Benedict Community: Prayers for the world of work)

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