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The Holy Year of Mercy concluded on Sunday, November 20, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (also known as the Solemnity of Christ the King). The jubilee year was declared by Pope Francis after he saw the need in the world for an appreciation of the mercy of God in our lives. On Sunday, Bishop Deeley closed the Holy Year of Mercy at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, explaining why the true message of the jubilee year must carry on.
The eighth-grade class at St. Michael School in Augusta will assist the Salvation Army USA in distributing over 150 Thanksgiving baskets to local community members, providing hope and showing mercy to many in need.
“As I often say, when I see our students at their best, it is when they are helping others,” said Kevin Cullen, principal at St. Michael.
In commemoration of the end of the jubilee year, the four Holy Doors in the Diocese of Portland will be closed during Masses in Frenchville (Nov. 12), Lewiston (Nov. 13), Bangor (Nov. 13), and Portland (Nov. 20). The Holy Year of Mercy began with the opening of the Holy Doors to represent a renewed opportunity to encounter or grow closer to Jesus, who calls everyone to redemption. The Holy Door represents the passage to salvation which was opened to humanity by Jesus.
Excitement, anticipation, and hopes for a safe and moving journey filled the air of St. Pius X Church in Portland on October 19 as forty-five men and women joined Bishop Robert P. Deeley for a special Mass preceding the group’s departure on a 10-day Jubilee Year of Mercy pilgrimage to Italy. The pilgrimage culminates with a papal audience and Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, where the participants will pass through the holy door.
On a beautiful fall afternoon, city officials, community members, and parishioners of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish in Sanford joined Bishop Deeley at the eventual site of the new St. Ignatius Apartments on St. Ignatius Street for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The project includes the transformation of the former St. Ignatius Church and the construction of a new building to produce 66 units of affordable senior housing. The new facility, slated to open in the fall of 2017, will include 65 one-bedroom apartments and one efficiency apartment for individuals who are 55 years and older and meet income limits.
A three-day Holy Year of Mercy parish mission was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, October 3, through Wednesday, October 5. The program will be led by Fr. Andy O'Reilly, C.PP.S., a member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. A popular preacher, Fr. O’Reilly has primarily engaged in parish ministry with nearly 25 years as a pastor.
Nearly 200 parish leaders, teachers, volunteers, and representatives of other ministries gathered together to learn from nationally-known presenters and engage with counterparts from other parts of Maine at the 2016 Parish Life Conference in Lewiston on October 1. The conference's theme was “Opening the Door to the Joy of Mercy.”
Praising it as an act of mercy, Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving for the St. Martin de Porres Residence in Lewiston, which, for 25 years, has been a place of shelter and hope for the homeless. St. Martin de Porres Residence was founded by Brother Irénée Richard, O.P., a Dominican brother and deacon of the Catholic Church, in 1991.
At the start of a new academic year, hundreds gathered at St. John the Baptist Church in Brunswick on Sunday, August 28, as Bishop Deeley offered blessings to school teachers, administrators, staff, and religious education teachers at a Mass for Educators."Bless all educators with an abundance of grace to help them persevere and prosper in their profession, and strive and succeed with their students.”
In an effort to focus on and deepen their gratitude for the loving mercy of God, the Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou invites all to join them on a pilgrimage to the holy door at St. Luce Church, located on 441 U.S. Route 1 in Frenchville, on Sunday, September 11.
In response to inquiries from parishes, parishioners, and community members looking to donate to the victims of the devastating flooding in Louisiana, Bishop Robert P. Deeley asks that contributions be sent to Catholic Charities USA which is currently providing families and individuals affected by the disaster with immediate and long-term relief.
Children at the All Saints Catholic School’s Summer Program in Bangor worked in a community garden, made stress balls for faculty, and cut and braided nearly 20 fleece dog toys by hand and collected additional supplies for residents at the Bangor Humane Society.
An ecumenical ministry that provides free community meals in the Augusta area was presented with a Matthew 25 Award by Bishop Robert P. Deeley on August 20 during a Mass celebrated at St. Joseph Church in Gardiner. St. Michael Parish in Augusta was awarded $1,200 so that it could participate in the Angel Food Suppers program.
A partnership between the Diocese of Portland and the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is enabling inmates to perform tasks at many Maine parishes, schools, and organizations. In the last two years alone, inmates have worked over 10,000 hours for Catholic parishes and organizations, saving the recipients of the donated labor over $170,000.
Seminarians Liam Gallagher, Dennis Fitts, and Joe Moreshead set out on the pilgrimage on Friday, July 29, from the Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Lewiston, passing through the holy doors there to begin their journey. The pilgrimage then led to Litchfield, to Hallowell, to Augusta, to Freedom, to Monroe, to Hampden, and finally to Bangor, where the trio passed through the holy door at St. John Church.
Parishes and schools in the Diocese of Portland combined to raise over $45,000 for the Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Rice Bowl program during the forty days of Lent in 2016. Over 50 Catholic parishes and schools in Maine participated in the 2016 program, contributing a total of $45,070. It marks the fourth straight year that total contributions have risen in the diocese.
The “Garden of Eaten” is a social justice initiative in Scarborough which got off the ground with the help of a $4,000 grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Parishioners signed up for beds with the intention of gardening for themselves and also giving a portion to help families served by the South Portland Food Cupboard, which assists an average of 75 families a week.
Representatives from St. Paul the Apostle Parish and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor joined together for a groundbreaking ceremony at 611 Ohio Street in Bangor on July 8. A new home will be built on land donated by the parish and Mt. Pleasant Catholic Cemetery and the entire project is being funded by the parish as more than 100 parish families made gifts in raising over $140,000 to create a loving home.
Although they haven’t even hit middle school yet, children participating in Vacation Bible School at Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough had the opportunity to experience and hear about some of the challenges that come with aging thanks to a resident and staff members from Saint Joseph's Rehabilitation and Residence in Portland.
Bishop Deeley celebrated a multi-cultural Mass for World Refugee Day on Sunday, June 26, at Sacred Heart Church in Portland. Prior to the Mass, a procession of parishioners representing many countries began at Deering Oaks Park and ended at the church.
During graduation exercises, Mount Merici Academy students were recognized for the hundreds of hours of service work they dedicated to “Cassidy’s Kids,” the academy’s service project. “Cassidy’s Kids” was inspired by the passing of Cassidy Charette, a graduate of the academy in 2010 who was killed in a hayride accident in Mechanic Falls in 2014.
This summer, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor will begin work on the 18th home the organization has built or renovated for a local family in need. For the first time, however, the entire project is being funded by another entity: St. Paul the Apostle Parish, which raised over $140,000 to help fund the project.
Bishop Deeley offered a special blessing for the "Farm for ME" field and its workers on a beautiful day in Caribou on June 1. "Farm for ME" generated over 100,000 pounds of produce last year, adding fresh vegetables to the mix of food distributed by Catholic Charities Maine through its Food Bank to the 24 food pantries it supplies across northern Maine as well as through other organizations.
On May 26, in an effort to provide help and comfort to many in need, students at St. John's Catholic School in Brunswick formed a line stretching from the school to the Mid Coast Prevention Program (MCHPP) facility. The human chain passed 536.6 pounds of food, donated by members of the St. John’s community, from the school to the facility.
In an effort to answer the Holy Father’s call to support refugees, Holy Spirit Parish (St. Mary Church, Wells; St. Martha Church, Kennebunk; All Saints Mission, Ogunquit) has donated $10,000 to Pope Francis to assist with the purchase of food for the three Syrian families that he rescued during an April trip.
In an effort to reflect upon and give thanks for the Lord’s mercy, teens at Holy Spirit Parish (St. Mary Church, Wells; St. Martha Church, Kennebunk; All Saints Mission, Ogunquit) worked for months to extend that same mercy to fellow young people living in Maggotty, Jamaica, a poor area plagued by unemployment and illiteracy.
On Monday, April 25, Bishop Robert P. Deeley spoke about the Holy Year of Mercy to a group that has been defined by its own merciful contributions and shared sacrifice for over 80 years. The Mercy Auxiliary assists the Mercy Health System in achieving its strategic goals through fundraising, community relations, and retail customer service.
In the culmination of their toy drive, the sixth-grade students at Saint Dominic Academy delivered over 100 teddy bears and a large toy donation to provide warmth and comfort to children in need at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland. The service project was so successful, it will now become an annual tradition at the school.
Bishop Robert P. Deeley traveled to Caribou on Friday, April 15, to showcase two programs which are helping to feed the hungry of Aroostook County. The bishop helped prepare fiddlehead soup to celebrate the success of the "Power of Green" and visited the Catholic Charities Food Bank in Caribou, which served 23,000 people last year.
Community members and parishioners from St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay and St. Joseph Parish in Farmington gathered together for a special ‘Shelter the Homeless’ presentation on April 10. Christians are encouraged to go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them to seek resolutions to the challenges they face.
Filled with the joy of the Easter season, parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn donated over 3,100 diapers to Safe Voices, a non-profit organization providing emergency and support services to victims of domestic violence in the Lewiston/Auburn area.
Fourth graders at All Saints Catholic School in Bangor helped feed the hungry when they delivered 1,737 food items, including canned vegetables, pasta, beans, crackers, and other food items to Manna Ministries, also in Bangor. The organization features a soup kitchen, food pantry, and food bank for community members in need.
In recent months, faith formation students at St. Mary of Lourdes Parish in Lincoln have created "blessing bags" for residents at homeless shelter, made fleece blankets for two health care facilities, collected stufffed animals for children in a pediatric intensive care unit, and planned a luncheon for the lonely.
The Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish Social Justice & Peace Commission will hold its annual “Empty Bowl Supper” on Saturday, April 9, at 5 p.m. in the parish hall located on 65 Mellen Street in Portland. The supper will benefit a school in Morne Rouge, Haiti, with all proceeds helping to provide funds for food for over 100 schoolchildren.
In celebration of Easter and the start of spring, students from All Saints Catholic School in Bangor visited the residents at Phillips-Strickland House, also in Bangor, to plant flower seedlings together. Sprague’s Nursery in Bangor has generously donated the seedlings, soil, and pots for the gathering.
March 22, 2016
HOLY THURSDAY WASHING OF THE FAITH HIGHLIGHTS CALL TO HUMBLE SERVICE
Clergy from Catholic and other Christian churches gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for an interfaith Washing of the Feet ceremony on Holy Thursday. The ceremony raised awareness of the Church’s universal call to humble service on behalf of all humanity.
Members of the youth ministry group at Notre Dame du Mont Carmel Parish in Madawaska spent a weekend living outdoors to give them and others greater awareness of the struggles of those who are homeless.
March 9, 2016
MEMBERS OF THE NEWMAN CLUB AT USM COLLECT ITEMS FOR HOMELESS
Members of the Catholic Newman Club at the University of Southern Maine in Portland held a supply drive to benefit Preble Street and also volunteered at the soup kitchen there.
Members of the Catholic Newman Club at the University of Southern Maine in Portland organized a supplydrive to help Portland’s homeless population on March 8-10. The collected items will be donated to Preble Street in Portland, an organization that aims to turn hunger and homelessness into opportunity and hope as it meets a variety of needs for hundreds of local people each day.
As part of their “Casual for a Cause” initiative, students at St. James School in Biddeford donated to Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. In one day, the St. James community raised $412. On Tuesday, March 1, Meaghan McNamara, a representative from the hospital, visited St. James to accept the donation from students.
Over 100 enthusiastic participants, from New Brunswick to Houlton, traveled to Frenchville on Saturday, February 27, for a “Day of Reflection” for the Holy Year of Mercy. Bishop Deeley offered three presentations to those gathered at St. Luce Church, focusing on the virtue of mercy; mercy and the early Church fathers; and mercy in the teachings of the Popes.
Recently, faith formation students at Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville gathered over 100 hats, 50 pairs of mittens, 25 pairs of gloves, 25 scarves, and socks during a month-long donation drive. The total collection, which included items made personally by parishioners and parish staff, were donated to a local school district for children in need of winter clothing.
In late January and early February, St. Michael School in Augusta organized two collections to answer God’s call to serve by assisting the Ronald McDonald Houses in Maine and Catholic Charities Maine’s Threads of Hope thrift stores. On February 11, the school welcomed representatives from both organizations for a schoolwide assembly to present them with the items gathered.
Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated a Mass of the Anointing of the Sick at Saint André Health Care in Biddeford. So many people attended the Mass that the crowd spilled out from the community room and into the corridtor
Bishop Robert Deeley celebrated the Mass of the Anointing of the Sick at St. Mary's d'Youville Pavilion in Lewiston. The sacrament is administered to those suffering illness or weakened by age. Approximately 150 people attended the Mass.
Driven by the joy of giving to those in need, Good Shepherd Parish youth and young adults stood at the entrances of parish churches in Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, and Lyman with soup pots in hand to collect money for Preble Street Teen Center and a Catholic Charities Maine program. They raised nearly $3,000 in parishioner donations.
Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of young Catholics in Maine, local soup kitchens, food banks, and food pantries were big winners on Super Bowl Weekend (Feb. 6-7). Youth ministry groups at parishes throughout the diocese held soup pots to collect monetary and food donations from parishioners as they left weekend Masses to benefit the “Souper” Bowl of Caring.
Holy Cross School students in South Portland participate in "Penny Wars" to help students at Ngamo Primary School in Zimbabwe, a frequent recipient of the generosity and kindness of Holy Cross families. The “Penny Wars” generated $1,442.75, all of which will be sent to Ngamo to help students pay their school fees. The fees are $10 a trimester per pupil, often a figure too high for many in the village to afford.
Children at St. Brendan the Navigator Parish (Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Camden; St. Bernard Church, Rockland; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belfast) are working together to give thanks for what they have and to share God’s love through a special project benefitting Care Net, a pregnancy center located in Rockland.
Children and teens, accompanied by some adults, carried bags and bags stuffed with clothing into Catholic Charities’ Threads of Hope thrift stores on Saturday, February 6. Children in parish faith formation and youth ministry programs, along with Catholic schoolchildren, were encouraged to donate new or gently-used clothing as part of a "Winter Warm-Up" and the items were then delivered to the thrift stores in Caribou, Sanford, and Portland.
St. Michael students in Augusta collected aluminum can tabs to assist the Maine Ronald McDonald Houses, located in Bangor and Portland, which provide housing for families who have a child being treated at a local hospital. Maine Metal Recycling in Auburn will weigh the tabs, pay the current rate for aluminum, and send the money to the program. Since 1983, the Maine Ronald McDonald Houses have comforted and cared for over 12,000 sick children and their families.
During Catholic Schools week, students at St. Thomas School in Sanford collected gently used clothes and new pairs of socks and underwear for students at other schools would need them. They also made Valentine's Day cards for veterans and for residents of local nursing homes.
Students at Mount Merici Academy in Waterville collected personal care products to be donated to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. Each class from pre-K through grade eight was assigned a different item to collect.
Eighth graders from St. James School in Biddeford walked from the school on Graham Street to Seeds of Hope on South Street on February 2 carrying bags and bags of socks donated by students, families, and community members.The students formed a long line through the center and, one at a time, dropped their bags off for visitors at Seeds of Hope to collect.
All Saints School students in Bangor headed over to the Phillips-Strickland House, a nearby assisted living facility, on February 1 to visit the residents and present them with gifts. The items included shampoo, lotion, pens, stationery, and chocolate, donated by students from kindergarten through grade eight. In all, four large boxes were collected, with more on the way.
With markers, crayons, scissors, and glue, students at St. John Regional Catholic School in Winslow created Valentine’s cards for police officers, firefighters, and veterans on February 1. Principal Valerie Wheeler said she hopes the cards put smiles on the faces of the recipients and that creating them gives the students a greater appreciation for those in public safety and in the military.
With Bishop Deeley in attendance, the students at Holy Savior School in Rumford brought bags and bags of stuffed animals, toys, books, toiletries, and even handmade donations like quilts to the front of the school cafeteria on February 1. The students were participating in a “Bags for Love” project with the donated items to be given to children who need to quickly leave their homes in an emergency situation, often ending up in foster care.
Young Catholics from around Maine will score donations during the annual Souper Bowl of Caring, a weekend of giving and serving on February 6-7 during which 100% of the monetary and food donations collected will be given to local charities to help tackle hunger in the community.
Living out the works of mercy and making ourselves the neighbor of every person is certainly not limited to adults. In fact, it is sometimes the innocence and dreams of children which lead service projects to exceeding even the wildest of expectations. Throughout January, young Catholics in Fort Kent dedicated themselves to helping the residents at a battered women's shelter.
January 13, 2016
WESTBROOK PARISH TO HOLD NUTRITION CLASSES FOR LOW-INCOME ADULTS
Living out the works of mercy and making ourselves the neighbor of every person is certainly not limited to adults. In fact, it is sometimes the innocence and dreams of children which lead service projects to exceeding even the wildest of expectations.thony of Padua Parish will host “Cooking Matters for Adults,” a six-week program which will provide low-income people at risk of hunger with hands-on cooking and nutrition classes including instruction on meal preparation, grocery shopping, nutrition and reading labels, and food budgeting.
Parishioners and children at St. John Vianney Parish in Fort Kent are collecting items of need in an effort to assist individuals and families at a homeless shelter in Presque Isle and victims at a battered women’s shelter in Fort Kent.
January 6, 2016
AUBURN PARISH HELPS FEED THE HUNGRY
As part of the parish's Poor Fund Outreach Program, nearly 700 individuals/families at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn donated food items to help local families and organizations in need during the Advent season.
December 24, 2015
BISHOP DEELEY CELEBRATES MASS FOR INMATES IN WINDHAM
A large group of inmates listened intently in the visiting area at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham on Christmas Eve as Bishop Deeley celebrated a special morning Mass at the facility to deliver an important message.
An inspired group of 32 kindergarteners, carrying backpacks and bags full of food, walked from St. Brigid School on Stevens Avenue to Wayside Food Programs on Walton Street to deliver their donations.
DECEMBER 20, 2015
BIDDEFORD STUDENTS BRING CLOTHES TO PARK FOR THOSE IN NEED
St. James School students in Biddeford collected over 230 bags of hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, and winter jackets to donate to local people in need, leaving them at a local park where people can take what they need.
Thanks to generous donations from parishioners, parish staff, and other community members, teens from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn will deliver nearly 100 Christmas gift bags to residents at a local nursing home.
DECEMBER 8, 2015
BISHOP OPENS CATHEDRAL HOLY DOOR
Bishop Robert Deeley opened the Holy Door at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, inaugurating the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Portland.