VAN BUREN---Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program has presented a Matthew 25 Award to St. Peter Chanel Parish, comprised of St. Bruno-St. Remi Church in Van Buren and St. Joseph Church in Hamlin.
The award includes a stained-glass trophy and a $5,000 grant which will be used by the parish’s outreach committee to fund the purchase of a utility trailer that will allow parish ministries to transport food, household appliances, furnishings, supplies for children’s camps, and other items.
The outreach committee, comprised solely of volunteers, serves people in Van Buren, Hamlin, and Cyr Plantation through a thrift shop; a food pantry; the Angel Network, which assists low-income families with basic home furnishings; an emergency needs fund; a mercy meals program to assist grieving families; and a free children’s camp program. In total, parishioners donated over 6,000 volunteer hours in the last year.
“The outreach committee at St. Peter Chanel truly exemplifies the broad outreach we at Catholic Charities Maine strive to cultivate across the state,” said Stephen Letourneau, CEO of Catholic Charities Maine. “It serves as a wonderful role model of what the Gospel of Matthew 25 embodies, and I am honored to present them with this award.”
Matthew 25 Awards are given to parishes to assist them in expanding their capacity to serve more people or to develop a new social ministry. The ministries receiving the awards must be directly serving vulnerable people in need, regardless of faith affiliation, and adhering to the principles of the Bible verse Matthew: 25 ("I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink..."). Parishes across the state of Maine are invited to apply for the awards annually.
In 2019, a total of $11,000 has been awarded to four Maine parishes with grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. In addition to St. Peter Chanel, this year’s other winning parishes were:
Good Shepherd Parish
(Most Holy Trinity Church, Saco; St. Joseph Church, Biddeford; St. Margaret Church, Old Orchard Beach; St. Philip Church, Lyman; St. Brendan Chapel, Biddeford Pool)
The grant will be used by the parish’s social justice commission to purchase sleeping bags for homeless people in the Biddeford/Saco area. To distribute the sleeping bags, the parish will work with Seeds of Hope, a non-denominational social ministry in Biddeford that assists the homeless.
St. Joseph Parish
(St. Joseph Church, Ellsworth; Blue Hill Mission Church, Blue Hill; Our Lady of the Lake Church, Dedham; St. Margaret Chapel, Winter Harbor)
The grant will be used by the parish’s “Heat Savers” program to offer free or low-cost window inserts to area seniors. The window inserts offer an inexpensive alternative to window replacement by reducing energy losses and saving heating fuel. “Heat Savers” will work with WindowDressers, an organization dedicated to helping Mainers reduce heating costs and fossil fuel consumption by minimizing heat loss through windows.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish
(Immaculate Conception Church, Calais; St. Joseph Church, Eastport; St. James the Greater Church, Baileyville; St. Ann Church, Perry; St. Ann Church, Indian Township; St. John the Evangelist Church, Pembroke)
The grant will be used to support and sustain the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry in Calais with the purchase of an upright, reach-in freezer to replace four aging chest freezers. The food pantry is staffed by volunteers, mostly parishioners at St. Kateri Tekakwitha, and serves more than 800 clients.
For more information about the many Parish Social Ministry programs assisting throughout Maine and ways that you can help, click here.