The Christian Action Committee is our parish’s community outreach group. Our members have a desire to assist the community at large by incorporating Christian values while responding to real material needs and social concerns of the community at large. These activities are one way that members of our parish community witness to the gospel message of compassion, justice and peace. No matter where your interests are focused, or how much time you have, there is a place for your efforts within this group.
Some of the organizations supported by the Christian Action Committee are the Prayer Shaw Ministry, Card Writing Ministry, McAuley House Baking, Elizabeth Buffum Chase Center Donations, West Bay Community Action Marketplace, Rhode Island Family Shelter, St. Vincent DePaul Society (SVdP), Habitat for Humanity and the Gabriel Project.
Two or three times a year since the Lenten Season in 2007, the sanctuary has been filled with beautiful and colorful handmade knitted, crocheted or quilted prayer shawls. The Prayer Shawl Ministry is responsible for these beautiful works of art. As a group of women work, their thoughts often turn to friends and loved ones, softly breathing a prayer, asking for God’s blessing for them as they stitch along. These prayers and blessings become as much a part of the fabric of the shawl as the yarn itself. The finished items become physical expressions of their prayers; a reminder of their love an of God’s blessings. These items are gifts like no other gifts – gifts of hope, of comfort, of peace and of love. Once these shawls are completed, they are gathered placed in the sanctuary, where they are blessed by Father during Mass. The prayer shawls are then given out to comfort, soothe and keep warm people that are sick or have experienced a loss. Additionally, the shawls are given to serve the purpose of bringing God’s blessing to a bride or a new mother and child, or for a prayer of peace. If you know of anyone who might need to be comforted, please contact a member of the Christian Action Committee. If you are interested in starting a shawl, one of the committee members can help with patterns, information and even some basic lessons in knitting or crocheting.
Parishioners who are recovering from surgery, injury or illness, are shut in, or those who have experienced loss, when known by the Christian Action Committee, will receive a note from several members of the Card Writing Ministry. With updated information, these members can continue to keep in contact with those parishioners who would welcome a sign of concern. If you know of someone who is sick or recovering from illness or injury, is home bound or in a nursing facility, and would like to receive notes or cards to let them know that their parish family is thinking of them and praying for them, please contact a member of the Christian Action Committee.
McAuley House is a meal site and house of hospitality for people who live on the streets or in shelters, or have housing and struggle to get by. They provide hot lunch five days a week and one Saturday monthly, in an atmosphere of love and respect. After daily prayer, guests are served lunch “restaurant-style” for up to 300 people each day. Volunteers offer coffee or juice and provide a selection of desserts. Once a week, those desserts are provided by parishioners of St. Catherine’s McAuley House Baking Ministry. If you are interested in providing some desserts once per month, or are interested in volunteering at McAuley House, contact a member of the Christian Action Committee.
Once a month, the Christian Action Committee collects donation for the Elizabeth Buffum Chase (EBC) Center. The EBC Center operates a short-term safe, confidential shelter for women and children in danger. While at the shelter, residents are provided with all basic needs (meals, linens, toiletries) and take part in a program that includes education about domestic violence, parenting, and financial literacy; specialized children’s services; advocacy and referrals. Transitional services are available after the initial crisis. To be involved in the EBC Center Donation Ministry, simply donate items such as latex/vinyl disposable gloves, hand soap in pump bottles, cleaning supplies and garbage bags on the weekends announced in the bulletin.
The Westbay Community Action Marketplace serves as the regional center for food security services (food security refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it). Households receive donated nutritious emergency food as well as nutritional information about healthy meal preparation. The household selects food products based on dietary needs, size of household, medical restrictions and preferences. A nutritional point system is used, based on the food pyramid to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet. The Christian Action Committee holds a food drive the first weekend of each month to benefit the Westbay Community Action Marketplace; non-perishable food items can be left at the entrances to the church.
The RI Family Shelter is a shelter for homeless families; it is located in Warwick. All basic necessities are provided during resident’s stay at the shelter. The Shelter also offers guidance through case management. Familes are encouraged to find employment and life skills training is offered. A group of people from our parish donate their time once a month to respond to the shelter to prepare and serve dinner, then clean up afterwards.
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are in need are are suffering. The St. Kevin’s conference of SVdP has invited St. Catherine’s to be part of their group. Some of the services provided directly to the residents of Warwick are rent/mortgage, utility and food assistance, as well as comprehensive referral services.
Habitat for Humanity strives to eliminate substandard housing by creating simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with people in need in order to improve quality of life and provide greater security. St. Catherine’s parishioners, through the Christian Action Committee, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on their build days to provide “sweat equity” on their projects. As build days are scheduled, announcements will be made in the bulletin.
The Gabriel Project not only seeks to save babies, but also to save women from years (and sometimes eternal) spiritual darkness and death. It is a “hands-on” help program that helps assure pregnant women that they will be helped. The Gabriel Project is a program in which volunteers can assist women in need with friendship and coordinate their needs such as transportation for medical care, housing, food, material needs and baby needs. Local resources can sometimes meet these needs, but the Church acts as a safety net and assures the expectant mother that she will be cared for. Each year, usually in the spring, the Christian Action Committee hosts a baby shower, held in the Parish Hall. Gifts donated are then given to the Gabriel Project to “shower” on the mothers and babies.