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Catholic Charities Maine Awards Over $27,000 to Seven Local Parishes for Community Initiatives

PORTLAND---Parish Social Ministry, a Catholic Charities Maine program, has announced that seven local parishes will receive Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) parish grants totaling over $27,000.

The mission of Parish Social Ministry is to provide leadership, guidance, Catholic social teaching education, and training to empower parishioners to compassionately serve people of all faiths living in their communities. The CCHD parish grants support initiatives that aim to solve community-wide problems, empowering those in need to make ongoing life changes and to become more self-sufficient while offering parishioners the opportunity to serve those less fortunate.

The parishes receiving grants in 2017 are:

St. Brendan the Navigator Parish
(Camden, Rockland, Belfast, Islesboro, Vinalhaven)
The grant of $7,800 will help fund a case manager position at St. Bernard Church’s soup kitchen in Rockland. The case manager will serve as a “partner and coach” to soup kitchen clients struggling with challenges like housing issues, health problems, or abuse.

Our Lady of the Snows Parish
(Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Milo)
The grant of $6,800 will be used to purchase faith formation materials, including Bibles, DVDs, and prayer resources, for inmates at Charleston Correctional Facility. The supplies will enable the parish to enhance the spiritual direction it offers inmates through its prison ministry program. The program also assists inmates with resources upon their release to help them achieve stability as they transition back into society.

Holy Savior Parish
(Rumford, Bethel)

The grant of $5,000 will assist the parish in hiring a community advocate who will work with the local government and civic groups in creating economic growth in the area through grant writing, organizing job fairs, and developing ways for the parish to support these and other initiatives.

St. Joseph Parish (Farmington) and St. Rose of Lima Parish (Jay)
The grant of $4,500 will help the parishes as they launch the “Blessed Pierre Frassati Youth Camp,” a ministry designed to teach area youth about Catholic social teaching within the context of food security, nutrition, and hunger issues. The summer camp will be broken up into three one-week sessions focused on learning about the issues, doing service work, and reflecting on the larger role they can play in helping those in need.

All Saints Parish
(Brunswick, Bath, Boothbay Harbor, Newcastle, Richmond, Harpswell)

The $1,100 grant will financially assist the “Parents & Kids Fair,” a collaboration between the parish and St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick. Parents and young families will have the opportunity to engage with representatives from local groups and agencies that encourage healthy living and strong family lives.

St. John Vianney Parish
(Fort Kent, Eagle Lake, Saint Francis, Wallagrass)

The $1,000 grant will help support an educational series for seniors and financially-challenged individuals in several communities. The series will consist of three components: food, socialization, and education. The program will offer guidance on best practices for nutrition, weatherization, financial matters, and other topics.

St. Mary of the Visitation Parish
(Houlton)

The $1,000 grant will assist the parish in offering one-on-one sessions to food pantry clients on food preparation and preservation, health assessments, and other programs aimed at promoting healthy living. The grant will also help the parish provide participants with food preparation tools and exercise equipment to help them implement positive lifestyle changes.

“This year’s applications display a commitment from parishes to provide not only for the immediate needs of people in their communities, but also through programs that will educate participants on how to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives,” said Michael Smith, the director of mission for Catholic Charities Maine.

The mission of CCHD is made possible by the generous support of Catholics in the United States, especially through an annual collection taken up in parishes. From this collection, twenty-five percent of the proceeds remain in Maine to support local efforts with significant parish engagement. The remaining seventy-five percent is collected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to distribute for larger national funding opportunities from which Maine agencies and organizations that address the systemic root of poverty can apply.