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Social Justice Outreach
Since its founding in 1960, St. Irene Parish has had a history of supporting those in need — not only in the parish, but on the local, national and international level as well. We have responded to hardships being suffered by individuals and by communities near and far. In each instance, when a need was recognized, parishioners responded with time, presence, and funds to meet the need — some small and some extraordinary.
Pope Francis’ emphasis on the plight of the poor and marginalized has brought new energy to the work of service and social justice in the Catholic Church. In the fall of 2014, a number of St. Irene’s parishioners responded to the call to create a Social Justice Committee to commit to the long-term sustainable integration of the Church’s social mission into the life of the parish.
The world tells us to seek success, power and money;
God tells us to seek humility, service and love.
Examples of St. Irene’s social justice outreach ministries at different levels include:
- Caring Friends Network (assisting members of the parish with meals, transportation, cards and general support in times of illness, crisis or death)
- Local Community
- Lazarus House (donating household goods and clothing, as well as monthly meal preparation at the House)
- Concord Prison Boxes (toiletries and cards at Christmas)
- Giving Tree (donating gifts to seniors and families in need at Christmas)
- Thanksgiving food baskets
- Christmas food baskets
- Hosting or serving at Carlisle Council on Aging luncheons
- Donating to food drives for local food pantries
- Our teens offering service at Nazareth Preparatory, Special Olympics and local nursing homes
- Sending holiday care packages to active duty military
- Donating to American Red Cross during times of need
- Supporting Mary’s Meals (which provides hot meals to school children in Africa)
- Providing books, school supplies and clothing to students in Nicaragua, Rwanda and Cameroon
- Rebuilding a home in Cameroon
- Funding a village well and latrine project in Malawi
- Funding a biogas project at a seminary in Rwanda
Our parishioners also support the work of organized charities that coordinate parish and community resources to effectively serve those in need.
| St Irene youth leaders engage in fundraising for the needy.
One organization we support, the Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities, provides emergency services, food and shelter to many families. We also support individual needs when possible. For example, when the St Irene's Council of the Knights of Columbus learned that the teachers in a local public school were "passing the hat" among themselves so that one of their students could have at least one Christmas present, our Knights provided a donation to supplement that grass-roots effort for a very deserving family. You can learn more about some of our parish activities through this website.
How to get involved
If you want to get involved in a special cause, be it food for the hungry or shelter for the homeless, we invite you to do the following:
- Explore subpages in this web site for specific parish social justice outreach initiatives, such as Soup Kitchen, Prison Ministry, and more. These subpages generally offer a contact e-mail address to reach out to in order to get involved. So do pages for liturgical ministries.
- If you don't find an outreach activity that matches your skill, interest, or time & transport availability, we suggest you contact one of the three broader groups in the parish: WomensClub@stirenes.org for women, KofC@stirenes.org [Knights of Columbus] for men, or firstname.lastname@example.org for post-confirmation youth. These three groups are broadly engaged in multiple activities across the parish and would love to guide you to where your energy can be of most value.
- If you want to start a new outreach activity, or offer a unique skill that doesn't naturally fit any of the existing groups or ministries, reach out to the Social Justice Committee via SocialJustice@stirenes.org, and they will be happy to discuss your interests with you, and possibly support the start of a new initiative. We welcome initiatives that align with our Catholic Christian beliefs and values.
For more information about the Social Justice Committee and about St Irene Parish' social justice activities, please download and read 'St Irene's Social Justice Summary'
Those are the ways to engage with parish coordinated activities. In addition, you can naturally reach out directly to local social justice groups and offer help outside the context of the parish in Local Social Justice Opportunites.