Aiding parishes in their mission to become Centers of Charity and Mercy
As the charitable arm of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Catholic Charities is invested in seeing charitable works at every parish in our diocese thrive.
In 2022, a Charity and Mercy grant was awarded to St. Mary Catholic Church in Shelbina, Missouri who, in collaboration with three other local parishes, are renovating a former rectory into transitional housing for new and expecting mothers.
As the charitable arm of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Catholic Charities is invested in seeing charitable works at every parish in our diocese thrive. In alignment with Bishop W. Shawn McKnight’s vision of Catholic parishes functioning as “centers of charity and mercy” for their communities, the Parish Social Ministry program of Catholic Charities established Charity and Mercy Grants.
These grants are given to parishes in the Diocese of Jefferson City who hope to fund or grow a particular ministry of outreach for their neighbors – parishioners and non-parishioners alike.
The crux of funding Charity and Mercy grants rests “charitable service” as defined in Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love). In his encyclical, the late pope lists three specific qualities of a Church-related charitable service, realized when the ministry:
- Responds to immediate needs and specific situations with more than “technical care”, but with genuine love and heartfelt concern that enables others to experience the richness and totality of their humanity, made in the image and likeness of God. (DCE #31)
- Is independent of parties or ideologies but sees with the heart where love is needed and acts accordingly, utilizing planning, foresight, and cooperation with other like-minded institutions. (DCE #31)
- Is love given freely. It is not proselytism. The Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak. (DCE #31)
The eagerness to fund projects embodying these qualities is tangible among our board members.
In 2022 Catholic Charities had the privilege of funding several such projects, one of which – St. Patrick’s Haven, a ministry of St. Mary Catholic Church in Shelbina, Missouri – was particularly exciting.
A collaborative effort of four local parishes, St. Patrick’s Haven is a transitional home for mothers and children on waiting lists for public housing. With most of those served referred to the parish by their local pregnancy resource center, St. Patrick’s Haven provides not only a safe home but a peace of mind that allows families an opportunity to build savings and prepare well for their next step.
In their Charity and Mercy Grant application, they detail a plan to convert the parish’s large rectory into three apartments, in a way that would allow for a conversion back to a single unit if needed. While local Catholics unanimously agreed to support the project financially, the Charity and Mercy funds will see the project through to completion – building out rooms safely, adding kitchenettes, and finishing previously unused spaces.
Charitable service…responds to immediate needs and specific situations with more than “technical care”, but with genuine love and heartfelt concern that enables others to experience the richness and totality of their humanity, made in the image and likeness of God.
– POPE BENEDICT, DEUS CARITAS EST (GOD IS LOVE)
St. Patrick’s Haven is a wonderful example of truly “seeing” community needs, collaboration among parishes to meet those needs with love, and answering the call to shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and comfort the afflicted.
We look forward to continuing to contribute to these works of charity and mercy in parishes across our diocese in 2023. Our Charity and Mercy grants are made available for any parish to apply for online at cccnmo.diojeffcity.org/charity-and-mercy. Should you wish to apply for grant funding and have any questions, we are eager to meet with you. Simply contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-635-7719.