Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is an approach to justice that emphasizes living in right relationship and resonates deeply with Gospel values and Catholic social teaching. The Basilica is committed to grounding, growing in understanding, and living the principles of restorative justice.

Fr. Daniel Griffith is the Founding Director of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH) at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

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National Catholic Conference on Restorative Justice
University of St. Thomas School of Law 
Oct 5 - 7, 2023
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A Conversation with Fr. Daniel Griffith

Excerpt from Basilica Magazine Winter 2022

How were you introduced to the practices of restorative justice and healing? What does it mean to be a practitioner of Restorative Justice? 

Just like Catholic Social Teaching, Restorative Justice has been a gift in my priesthood, a call within a call. The Basilica, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Joseph the Worker in Maple Grove were invited by Archbishop Hebda to pilot Restorative Justice programming in the Archdiocese. It had really been first initiated by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi when he put two Restorative Justice provisions in the settlement agreement, and that opened the pathway for further use in the Archdiocese. 

From that initial experience at Our Lady of Lourdes and elsewhere, I discerned with Archbishop Hebda whether I was being called more fully into this work. I served as Archdiocesan Liaison for Restorative Justice and Healing from 2019-2022. In fall of 2021, we launched the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing at the St. Thomas Law School. We have hosted a number of informative events and dialogues, including one last spring co-sponsored by The Basilica of Saint Mary. My colleague Julie Craven has an excellent article on Restorative Justice in the pages of The Basilica Magazine so I will keep my answer brief.  

It has been moving since beginning as pastor to see all of the connection points between Restorative Justice and The Basilica of Saint Mary. The Basilica really lives a restorative vision that's inclusive and seeks to respond to folks, whether they are people experiencing homelessness, people coming out of prison, or people who have experienced loss. The pastoral work here is so aligned with Restorative Justice and restorative practices. Finally to your question, a practitioner is the one who employs and uses restorative practices in actual situations, so no Restorative Justice teacher would ever do that unless they were also working as a practitioner. Restorative Justice, at its core, is about practically applying restorative practices in response to harm. 

Restorative justice is borrowed from the ancient and indigenous practices employed in cultures around the globe, including Native American, African, First Nation Canadian, and many others.

It focuses on repairing the harm caused by engaging all the stakeholders affected in an opportunity to discuss how they have been impacted and determine together what needs to be done to repair the harm in a process of accountability and restoration.


Basilica Magazine: Winter 2022
Toward Justice and Healing
A new initiative at UST Law
by Julie Craven


The Catholic Spirit
Restorative justice heals at the heart of hurt
January 22, 2020


Accountability and Healing

Restorative justice is a worldwide movement that seeks to respond to harm in a way that fosters accountability and healing by inviting practitioners to enter the wound of another by accompanying them as they tell their stories.

Questions? Please Contact:

Fr. Daniel Griffith

Pastor and Rector

Fr. Daniel Griffith was named pastor and rector of The Basilica of Saint Mary effective July 1,…


Janice Andersen

Director of Christian Life

Janice Andersen has been on staff at The Basilica of Saint Mary since 1994, working with programs…