Parish Social Ministry

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“Then the righteous will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger, and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see You ill or in prison and visit You?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least sisters and brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ ”

Mission Statement

Grounded in Jesus’ teaching that “whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for Me” (Mt. 25:40), and rooted in the mission of our faith community, the vision of St. Raphael Parish Social Ministry is to help all parishioners recognize that their baptism calls them to be ambassadors of hope through direct service for others, and advocacy for a just and peaceful world.

The definition of Parish Social Ministry is the empowerment of the parish as the people of God to fulfill the Church’s mission of love, justice, freedom and peace by communally responding in an organized way to societal and individual human needs.  Parish Social Ministry: A Vision and a Resource (The National Conference of Catholic Charities, 1985).

The vision of Parish Social Ministry is to assist parishioners, through parish community, to understand and act on Catholic Social Teaching. Parish Social Ministry: Strategies for Success (Tom Ulrich, 2001).

Based on parish volunteers who have committed themselves to helping the people of our community, Parish Social Ministry is a vibrant, growing part of our faith community. Volunteers give freely of their time and talents providing assistance to those with basic needs, striving to minister compassionately, with sensitivity and confidentiality, hopefully treating each person with the dignity that each sister and brother deserves in Christ.

Parish Social Ministry provides assistance in three different ways:

  • Direct Service, working with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, (distribution of food, clothing, furniture, assistance with shelter needs, transportation, visitation, telephone reassurance, financial assistance and special services)

  • Convening support groups such as Initial Bereavement, Lazarus Ongoing Bereavement, Ministry of Consolation, Caregivers, Don’t Eat Alone, Merry Seniors, Kids & Us

  • Advocacy (speaking out for the vulnerable in our society in an effort to move beyond charity to justice).

Catholic Social Teaching:  Seven Basic Principles

  1. Life and Dignity of the Human PersonEvery person is precious; people are more important than things; the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances this life.

  2. Call to Family, Community, and ParticipationThe person is not only sacred, but social; marriage and family are central social institutions; people have a right and duty to participate in society, seeking the common good and well-being of all.

  3. Rights and ResponsibilitiesEvery person has fundamental right to life and those things required for human decency; corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to one another, to our families, and to the larger society

  4. Option for the Poor and VulnerableA basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring, recalling the Last Judgment (Mt. 25:31-46) to put their needs first.

  5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of WorkersBasic rights must be respected: to productive work, fair wages, organizing unions, private property and economic initiative.

  6. SolidarityWe are one human family; we are our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers; our love for all demands that we promote peace and justice in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

  7. Care for All God's Creation.  We show respect for our Creator by stewardship of creation; the environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions.


Parish Social Ministry at St. Raphael's

The first office was a small room in the rectory basement. Today, PSM occupies the first floor in the front of the Convent, and is staffed by Sister Judy Fay, CSJ (Coordinator), 36 office core volunteers, and numerous auxiliary volunteers. The office is staffed from 10 AM – 3 PM, Monday through Friday. The office  telephone is 516-308-3808.

Among the ministries and services are:

  • Office Support.  Parish volunteers assist once weekly for three hours, or on a substitute basis, in areas including phone work, assisting food pantry guests, transportation calls, and referrals for assistance in various areas

  • St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Members work with PSM to respond to emergency needs within the community. Meet monthly.

  • Emergency Food Pantry.  Donation and collection of foods, paper and cleaning products given to individuals and families in need in parish area.

  • St. Anthony Ministry.  Volunteers bring food donated by parishioners from Str. Anthony statue in Church to the Food Pantry in PSM office after Mass.

  • Bereavement Support Group.  Trained facilitators hold eight-week group sessions in the fall and spring to provide support and information to those in the initial grieving process (two months – two years).

  • Cancer Support Group.  Bi-weekly meetings with a nurse facilitator for people dealing with all cancer types and stages.

  • Transportation Assistance.  Volunteer parishioners using their own vehicles who provide rides to and from medical appointments for parishioners.

  • Hopemobile Drivers & Companions.  Provide scheduled rides for seniors and wheelchair-bound parishioners to Mass, food shopping, and medical appointments in our parish van (initial home visit required to prospective passengers). May serve weekly, monthly, seasonally. Valid NYS state driver’s required.

  • Friendly Visitors and Callers.  Make periodic visits to homebound parishioners or make weekly phone calls to nurture the parish community connection.

  • Caregiver Support Group.  Monthly meetings are held for those caring for aging and chronically family members.

Page Updated February 7, 2013
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