Pope Francis proclaimed that 2016 be the “Extraordinary Year of Mercy.” Many of the 1,300 St. Benedict’s parish families set out to make it happen. They contacted Catholic Charities to find ways to serve their community.
Year of Mercy
The Year of Mercy lasts from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016—and it’s a special year called out in the Catholic Church every 25 years. The year is set apart by Pope Francis to “give love and forgiveness without measure.”
So far, St. Benedict’s parish is making roads in showing love to others. They’ve completed service projects that include recurring volunteering at My Sister’s Place, a Catholic Charities domestic violence shelter. Parishioners also embraced Catholic Charities’ refugee program as family sponsors. In this role, volunteers mentor newly arrived refugee clients, provide English language classes, and assist with furniture and hygiene/cleaning supplies as refugees transition into life in the United States.
Getting Youth Involved
In June, the parish’s youth groups will visit Catholic Charities charitable programs and several program sites. These include MANA House, a transitional housing program for Veterans; Verde Villas, an affordable housing program for families and Veterans; the Unaccompanied Minor Program (UMP) Classroom, where newly arrived underage immigrants receive access to help and services; and the Refuge Café, a coffee shop and wine bar that provides funding to Catholic Charities programs. Having knowledge of and access to the various programs will help the parish’s youth select a program to volunteer with that is most meaningful to them.
Paul Mulligan, Catholic Charities President and CEO, says, “This parish has truly embraced the Year of Mercy, not only by learning more about what it means to be merciful, but by living it out through service for those who are most vulnerable in our community.”