St. Joseph Parish in Farmington and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay receive the Catholic Charities Matthew 25 Award

The community assistance programs at St. Joseph Parish in Farmington and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay were chosen as the winners of the 2024 Matthew 25 Award.

Presented annually through Catholic Charities Maine Parish Social Ministry, the award is intended to recognize and illuminate the work of a parish social ministry program and to provide financial assistance so that the ministry can further meet community needs.

The award, which includes a stained-glass plaque and a $6,000 grant, was presented by Bishop Robert Deeley and Catholic Charities Maine CEO Stephen Letourneau during a Mass celebrated at St. Joseph Church on Sunday, February 21.

“This Matthew 25 Award is given to you in recognition of the many ways in which you live the Gospel, bringing comfort, food, shelter, clothing, fuel and gas, as well as dignity and care to those who lack adequate sustenance,” the bishop said. “Thank you all for your service and for extending yourselves for those whose lives are challenged. Your outreach brings the light and love of Christ to others.”

“St. Rose and St. Joseph were picked out of all the applications across the state as the model of parish social ministry and community assistance,” said Letourneau. “It’s really all in the name of bringing Christ to people in need.”

Letourneau said that while there are many deserving parish social ministry programs, what sets St. Joseph and St. Rose apart is their commitment to having a parish social ministry coordinator on staff, rather than relying solely on volunteers. He credited the leadership of Father Paul Dumais, pastor of the parishes, for making that a priority. Father Dumais said, to him, it just makes sense.

“You can’t imagine a parish in Maine without a faith formation staff person, so why imagine a parish in Maine without a parish social ministry staff person? That has made a big difference in bringing the activity of parish social ministry into the heart of the staff and in providing coordination and direction for volunteers. It’s really increased our capacity to serve those in need in a variety of ways,” said Father Dumais.

“I think, a lot of times, people were doing things, but now it seems that it is a more coordinated effort,” said Annamaria Beal, a Parish Council member who, along with fellow parishioner Yvonne DeMillo, accepted the award on behalf of the parishes.  

The parishes of St. Joseph and St. Rose have several community outreach programs. They both serve community suppers, operate food pantries, and stock Blessing Boxes. There is a thrift store at St. Rose and a monthly warming center at St. Joseph. They also provide emergency assistance, for instance helping with rent payments or providing gift cards for groceries, and for nearly 20 years, they have been paired with a parish in Les Cayes, Haiti.

Dan Allen, the parish social ministry coordinator, said with the help of the Matthew 25 Award, he would like to now create a fund to assist people, especially the elderly, with larger home projects, such as helping to repair a furnace or a leaking roof.  

“When you’re 80 years old and on a fixed income and that kind of thing happens, what do you do?” he said. “We want to help people have some options.”

“Some of them are alone. Some of them don’t have family nearby, and they don’t have the resources to help them, so if we can be their resource, that makes us feel helpful,” said DeMillo, who serves on the Parish Social Ministry Commission.

Allen noted that not taking care of a repair can lead to a larger problem, resulting in someone living in substandard conditions or losing their home, and he would like to make sure that doesn’t happen. He said they have several parishioners who are plumbers or carpenters or work in other trades, and he plans to partner with them to identify and help those who could use a hand.




Stephen Letourneau, Annamaria Beal, Yvonne DeMillo, and Bishop Robert Deeley
Matthew 25 Award Plaque
Bishop Robert Deeley delivers the opening prayer. To his left his Deacon Frank Daggett. To his right is Msgr. Marc Caron and Fr. Paul Dumais.
Deacon Frank Daggett holds up the Book of the Gospels.
Bishop Robert Deeley at the ambo.
Stephen Letourneau at the ambo.