By Liz Sullivan
For Paul Miner, commitment to faith is a commitment to the family values he grew up with in Davenport, Iowa.
Miner was recently named the Director of Social Justice Ministries for the Diocese of San Jose (DSJ). He is one of eight children and the oldest son. Miner’s parents, Roxanne and Patrick, who met at Jesuit-run Creighton University in Nebraska, have always been active in the Catholic Social Justice movement. Miner’s mother, Roxanne, taught social justice at the high school level for many years and has been very active in Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
In the 1980’s Roxanne Miner had the privilege of meeting American labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, who along with Dolores Huerta, founded the National Farm Workers Association, which became the United Farm Workers Union.
“My roots are deep in Catholic social teachings,” said Miner. “My strong family faith allowed me to get a taste of social justice ministries. I remember going to protests as a kid with my family and I was being a witness to the power of faith and how it can work.”
For the last eight years Miner has worked in some form of ministry for the Church, with stops in the greater Chicago area; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Saint Louis; the greater Detroit area and finally the Diocese of Sacramento, where he served as the Director of the Newman Center in Chico. A graduate of Lewis University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Miner has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Theology. For two years, Miner was a Jesuit Novice in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
“The search committee looked long and hard at several applicants for Social Justice Ministries Director. And Paul’s passion for embracing the preferential option for the poor, is and has been a part of his life and his family’s,” said Father John Hurley, CSP, Vicar for Evangelization for the Diocese. “Paul will immediately be connecting to parish social justice outreach committees and then with pastors where there are no committees.”
Hurley added that Miner will be synchronizing diocesan social justice outreach with Catholic Charities. Witness is a huge part of that outreach. It is the third leg on a three-legged table of Evangelization, together with Word and Worship.
“Paul will oversee the three goals in the Diocesan Evangelization Framework: to develop strategies for DSJ with parishes and schools; to develop and facilitate high-quality encounter opportunities; and, to invite parishioners to encounter Christ on the margins of our county,” added Hurley.
In his short time in the Diocese of San Jose, Miner has been impressed with what he has seen and heard.
“I see a lot of social justice issues in the Diocese,” said Miner. “It is definitely attractive for me and allows me to connect with the teachings I learned when I was with the Jesuits. The Church in California is really a model for the Church, especially with the work of Pope Francis. It is really inclusive and has an openness to reach all people. For us, how can we tap into the creativity you have in Silicon Valley? I want to be a part of the people who reach those really in need and give them real skill sets.”
To learn more about the Department of Social Justice Ministries, visit