Catholics in the Archdiocese of Portland got a chance to learn the best ways to advocate for more just policies that impact the poor. Chris West, a trainer for Catholic Relief Services, has worked with dioceses throughout the U.S. for years.

He told a group gathered for an afternoon at Catholic Charities in Portland that the social mission has deep spiritual roots. He described advocacy as nothing less than "public witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, where the church has the opportunity to speak on behalf of, and with people in need, on issues affecting their lives." West says individual meetings are the best tool for inviting people to join such ministry and support it.

He quoted Pope Francis, who said: "Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers."