Serving Through Your Church

"Our words are buttressed by our deeds, and our deeds are inspired by our convictions." – Father Hesburgh

External Service

Where is there injustice? What can we do through our Church community to become one with the marginalized and to protect the dignity of all life?

“A basic moral test of a society is how the most vulnerable members are faring. … Our tradition calls us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.” – 
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

There are many ways to educate and inform ourselves and our parishes on how to engage deeply with the Catholic Social Tradition’s call to work in solidarity for the poor and marginalized:

JustFaith Ministries: Consider starting a JustFaith program in your parish. JustFaith provides opportunities designed to expand commitment to social ministry through study and exploration of Christ’s call to care for the poor and vulnerable. The multi-faceted program provides challenging and impactful workshops, curriculum, websites, and support services to sustain the commitment to build a more just and peaceful world.

Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD): The CCHD is the domestic anti-poverty program of the US Catholic Bishops. It works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that impact their lives, families, and communities. Central to the CCHD is the belief that those who are directly affected by unjust systems and structures have the best insight into knowing how to change them.

Consider organizing a group within your parish to collectively address issues of concern to your community such as affordable housing, decent education, jobs with living wages, or food insecurity. Work together to form an action plan that empowers the marginalized. To get started, consult this CCHD Community Organizing guide.

More helpful CCHD resources:
  • Videos: A variety of informative videos on whom the CCHD serves and why it matters.
  • Poverty Education: Resources to engage in learning about poverty and how to assist those in need.
  • Grants: Apply for a grant to implement or sustain a community program designed to promote the dignity of the human person, support economic development that significantly includes the voice of the poor and marginalized, or develop a national initiative to promote justice on a large scale.
Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl: With a special call to participate during Lent, the resources and stories provided through Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl program invite and instruct Catholics to live in solidarity with the poor all year long through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl website offers a variety of resources for families, parishes, educators, and dioceses to reflect and participate in concrete ways to promote human dignity.

To bring the CRS Rice Bowl Program to your school or parish during Lent, order your free materials online.

For additional ways to deepen your relationship with Christ and live in solidarity with the poor, please visit the Family Activities page on the CRS Rice Bowl site. Although oriented around Lent, the activities are useful all year long.

Internal Service

To celebrate and strengthen our relationship with Christ and our faith community, let us share our time and talent.

Music Ministry: If you sing or play an instrument, consider sharing your gift with ill or lonely parishioners. Join the choir or offer a solo performance.

Faith Formation: Help people deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through sharing His teachings. Consider teaching RCIA or religious education classes to parish youth. Attend parish school masses and celebrate God’s love with children.

Leadership: Support your Church through serving on advisory councils. If you have finance or accounting skills, consider a finance committee. If you are a visionary, consider a strategic planning committee. Draw upon your unique talents and professional skills to identify the best fit.

Bereavement Support: Prepare a meal for parishioners in mourning. Designate a time simply to listen and learn all about what made the person special. Offer to help the bereaved with cleaning or child care. As time passes, suggest activities they may wish to participate in and serve as a reminder of the love that remains in the world.

Hospitality: Actively welcome new faces to the Church community. Host a dinner party or book club. Offer to serve as a Mass greeter; get to know people and greet them by name.

Wash Church Linens: The gift of volunteering to wash and iron the linens and towels used during Mass is a simple way to contribute actively in the celebration of Mass.

Lector: Reveal God’s presence through his living word. Use or develop your public speaking skills to proclaim God’s word with joy and conviction.

Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion: Minister the body and blood of Christ to those assembled in faith or bring it to the homebound.

Altar Server: Share your gifts through assisting the priest in celebration of the Mass.