Two pairs of hands intertwine. We help empower parishes to strengthen their social ministries.
Catholic Charities Home > Parish Social Ministry

Parish Social Ministry

Click here to watch Live-Streamed and On-Air Masses
Parish Resources
Catholic Social Teaching
Parish Social Ministry
Resources for Children’s Programs
Resources for Expectant Parents
Resources for the Aging Caregivers and their Parishes

All of us are aging, and the older generations are sources of the wisdom that comes from lived experience. With increasing years comes many new opportunities, as well as new challenges.

We welcome you to contact us for more information about how your parish can be a welcoming and caring community for all ages. Email us at [email protected] or call 781-8550.

 Church Teaching About the Older Generation

Being an Age-Friendly Parish

How age-friendly is our parish? How do we create a parish where we can all “age in place”? Here are some questions for a small group, a committee, or pastoral council to consider.

Survey for Creating an Age Friendly Parish

  • Our Parish is up to date on the demographics of its Parish community and can track and outreach to older parishioners who have stopped attending?
  • Our Parish can identify parishioners lacking transportation to attend Mass and other activities and we have volunteer resources able to transport?
  • Our Parish is physically accessible to all parishioners? Access into the Church…Within the Church…Parking…
  • Services are accessible to parishioners with hearing and visual limitations?
  • We have established an aging ministry?
  • We have surveyed our older parishioners and caregivers?
  • Our Parish does in-home ministry?
  • Our Parish is providing supports needed by our older parishioners and caregivers? E.g. help getting groceries, prescriptions, shoveling, home maintenance, companionship, parish nursing, caregiver support groups?
  • There are social gatherings that include our elders and opportunities for young people and older parishioners to be together?
  • Activities scheduled during the day?
  • We hold workshops and sharing sessions on aging topics?
  • We pray for our older parishioners

Diocesan Services and Noteworthy Parish Models

Sample booklet [link to document] for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion visiting the homebound, the sick, and nursing homes. Based on Pastoral Care of the Sick, simplified and adapted for lay parishioners performing this essential ministry.

Spirituality

Every period of life can be a time of spiritual development. With years can come a maturing spirituality as well as an awareness of one’s dependency on God and others.

Serving Your Neighbor as a Volunteer

Your parish has many opportunities for you to serve Our Lord while serving others. Is there a need in your parish that isn’t being met? Consider getting together with some others and see how together you can meet that need. For other enriching volunteer opportunities, visit:

Opportunities for Lifelong Learning

Studies have shown that continuing to learn new things as we age has many benefits, including keeping our minds active and improving brain health. In-person classes also provide socialization, while online options give the convenience of learning from the comfort of your home and on your schedule.

Other companies that offer in-depth courses on subjects related to Catholicism, some by professors at Catholic universities, as well as many other general knowledge topics ranging from art to history to science to travel, include The Teaching Company and Learn25.

Computer Literacy and Access

The Digital Equity Center is dedicated to addressing the “digital divide” and providing “inclusion” for people who have issues using computers and accessing the internet with a priority on older adults. Their Aging Well with Technology curriculum provides free classes to develop computer skills and learn about technology. The program offers a low-cost subscription to a tablet and internet connections to Maine residents 70 years and older lacking access, along with tutoring.

Affordable Housing and Taking Steps to Age in Place

Other Resources

Diocese of Portland

Maine Prisoner Re-entry Network

No one knows how long they will live, but anyone with responsibility for others should prepare for the inevitable. Catholic perspectives on end of life issues, and other resources, can be found on the Diocese of Portland’s “Three Beliefs” page. Guidance on Catholic Funeral Planning is also available on the diocesan website and in your parish office. https://portlanddiocese.org/cemeteries-and-funerals/pastoral-letter. Many funeral homes offer advanced planning and payment options that can be of great comfort to the bereaved.

Planned Giving

Catholic social teaching reminds us that when we are blessed with abundance, we ought to consider the needs of others. Planned Giving is a way to leave a lasting legacy.

 

 

Care for Creation
Prison, Jail, and Re-Entry Ministries

In partnership with Catholic parishes, Parish Social Ministry (PSM) is a resource specialist in the development and delivery of services that strengthens the capacity of parish communities to serve vulnerable people of all faiths. We provide leadership, guidance and training to those called to serve and those who are served. We do this with mutual respect and caring, Christ-centered compassion, insight and adaptability to meet the varied and changing needs of those we serve.

“Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they are the heart of our Church. Parishes are the place were God’s people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the Church’s life… But until now, we have not specifically addressed the crucial role of parishes in the Church's social ministry… we are convinced that the local parish is the most important ecclesial setting for sharing and acting on our Catholic social heritage.”

—Introduction to USCCB Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish

 

Catholic Charities Maine Parish Social MinistryPSM works with parishes to empower parishioners to live out their baptismal call to serve the needs of those living right in their own communities. The program assists in establishing or enhancing current parish ministries and programs to address unmet community needs, gather and train volunteers, and help obtain any additional funding needed to implement these services.

 

“I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you made me welcome; lacking clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me … In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:35-36, 40)

 

Check out our brochure on many ways that Parish Social Ministry can work with you to strengthen your parish!