Ministries Supported by the Catholic Appeal
Each year, ministries supported by the Catholic Appeal touch the lives of tens of thousands of people across the state, from newborns to seniors. Through your gifts to the Appeal, hospital chaplains are able to serve at Maine's large secular hospitals, campus ministry is thriving at colleges and universities across the state, thousands in Aroostook County are served through the Catholic Charities Food Bank in Caribou, seniors are given the assistance they need to remain in their homes, and so much more. Below, read about a few of the programs and ministries supported by the Appeal.
"It’s really helped me to see the world differently. And I’ve really dived into my faith more." - Maggie Blake
Students participating in campus ministry say that it has helped their faith come alive and have provided them with a supportive environment during their college years. Your gifts allow campus ministers to be present at colleges and universities across the state including Bates College in Lewiston, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Colby College in Waterville, the University of Maine in Farmington, the University of Maine in Orono, and the University of New England in Biddeford. Recently, some students at Colby College in Waterville shared what campus ministry has mean to them.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
“I’ve been amazed by this building and all that it stands for since I came here." - Bishop Robert Deeley
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located in Portland, is the Mother Church of our diocese and the seat of the bishop. The Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops calls cathedrals the most important of a diocese’s churches, saying they are “a sign of unity” and a “sign of the teaching authority and the sacred power” of the bishop. Special liturgies, such as the Chrism Mass, the Neophyte Mass, and ordinations are celebrated at the cathedral, and the Appeal helps the parish with the associated costs. In 2019, the cathedral celebrated its 150th anniversary. Read about the diocese's mother church.
"Catholic education is, at least in some significant part, the future of the Church, the future leadership of the Church." - William Ridge
William Ridge has taught middle school students at Holy Cross School in South Portland for the past 15 years. He says while it is rewarding when students retain some of the information he is teaching them, he believes it is also vital that students are given the foundation they need to make good decisions in their lives, something he says that Catholic schools provide. Ridge says religion is more than just a subject that is taught: "It’s the things we do every day. It’s how we conduct ourselves in the gym playing competitive sports. It’s how we deal with each other passing in the hallways. It’s how we interact with teachers and other adults in classrooms and in the cafeteria. Everything we do is centered on Christ." Read more about Ridge's service as a teacher and his honor as Maine Catholic School Teacher of the Year for 2023.
The Catholic Appeal supports our Catholic schools by paying for teachers' pensions, funding the Office of Catholic Schools, and providing grants to parishes with schools.
Christian Life Center
"The center provides hope during a time when there is too much turmoil in the world." - Gale Rioux
The Christian Life Center in Frenchville has been serving the people of Aroostook County and beyond for 50 years, providing spiritual enrichment through a wide range of retreats, programs, and events, as well as eucharistic adoration and Mass.
“This place has been a powerhouse for not only me but for everybody in the [St. John River] Valley. It feeds us," said Linda Raymond of New Canada.
Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children
“Advocacy skills are important because a lot of these kids are so embarrassed about their vision that they try to hide it." - LeeAnn Ward
A program of Catholic Charities Maine for nearly 50 years, Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children serves 300 students from Aroostook to York County, helping to ensure that they can continue to access the world around them and to flourish. Read about how ESBVIC is empowering students to embrace the future.
“People work very hard, constantly, so when they are with us, it’s a time for them to pause and to be with God." - Sister Mirian Maradiaga, RSR
Led by Father Michael Sevigny, OFM, Cap., the Office of Hispanic Ministry is dedicated to helping members of the Hispanic community engage more fully in parish life. The office now offers Masses in Spanish at seven churches, along with sacramental preparation, faith formation for adults and children, and other services. Father Sevigny, Sister Mirian Maradiaga, RSR, Sister Elsa Telon, RSR, and outreach coordinators José Lopéz Perez and Rosario Starratt travel across the state to serve the growing Hispanic community. Sister Elsa and Sister Mirian were featured in a recent edition of Harvest magazine.
“As a hospital chaplain, I support patients emotionally and spiritually. I talk with them. I visit them. I listen to their worries, and I encourage them - Father Amandus Sway
Father Amandus Sway is one of two priest chaplains and two lay chaplains serving at Maine Medical Center in Portland, the state's largest hospital. The Catholic Appeal allows hospital chaplains to be present at Maine's largest secular hospitals. Along with MMC, they include Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, MaineGeneral Health in Augusta, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, and Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford. Read about the importance of the work they are doing.
Hunger & Relief Services (Catholic Charities Maine)
“We’re going into some of the most challenging times I think we’ve ever gone into." - Dixie Shaw
The Catholic Charities Food Bank in Caribou, which is supported in part through your gifts to the Catholic Appeal, served more than 30,000 people in the last fiscal year. The food bank provides food to 28 different food pantries located across Aroostook County, as well as in northern Penobscot and Washington counties. In a recent story in Harvest magazine, Shaw, the director of Hunger & Relief Services for Catholic Charities Maine shared why these are such difficult times for many they serve.
Office of Lifelong Faith Formation
"I really have a thirst for God and the Holy Spirit. I am driven by it. I want to learn how to be a better catechist or communicator or how to bring the word of God to others.” - Joanne Fortier
Joanne is among dozens of people who are participating in Echoes of Faith, a learning tool being offered through the diocese’s Office of Lifelong Faith Formation (OLFF). While designed for catechists, it is a program that will help open doors to the faith for any Catholic. Echoes of Faith is just one of many efforts by OLFF to helpful the faithful in Maine fully participate in the life and mission of the faith. The office also provides support and resources to priests, pastoral life coordinators, catechetical leaders, youth ministers, and other parish staff members and volunteers involved in faith formation. Read more about the Echoes of Faith program and about the other events and programs made possible through OLFF, which is funded through your gifts to the Catholic Appeal.
Parish Social Ministry
“What we try to do is to engage more parishioners in social outreach in their community, because when you serve others, that’s when you deepen your faith" - Bill Wood
Bill Wood is one of four outreach coordinators with Catholic Charities Maine Parish Social Ministry. Bill and the other coordinators work with parishes around the state to help them engage in parish social ministry so that parishioners may fulfill their baptismal call to serve others. Bill says his goal is to have something percolating in each of the 10 parish clusters he serves. Read about the work he does.
Relief & Hope Services
“I always envisioned Catholic Charities as a place where you can turn if you feel you have no hope.” - Stephen Letourneau
Relief & Hope Services is a Catholic Charities Maine Parish Social Ministry program that provides emergency assistance to people around the state. Volunteers, such as Julie Abbott, featured in a recent article in Harvest magazine, try to connect people with needed services or in some cases provide them with small amounts of money or gift cards. Relief & Hope Services receives around 1700 requests each year for assistance. Read about the program.
For a list of the other ministries and programs supported by the annual Catholic Appeal, see the annual report for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
St. Louis Child Development Center
“This is a center that actually teaches and helps your kids grow and learn." - A parent
The St. Louis Child Development Center in Biddeford, a program of Catholic Charities Maine, has been providing affordable, quality childcare for more than 50 years. [Read about the center's work]