"Our service to the poor and marginalized needs to be a clear witness to Jesus our Lord, not mistaken for humanist philanthropy. Every Catholic charitable work must also be an authentic expression of Catholic faith." — Unleash the Gospel Marker 8.4, Archbishop Vigneron
Evangelical Charity as a Mission Direct Area
Traditionally, the ministries of Evangelical Charity have been called the “Christian Service Ministries”, rightfully so because they are a direct response to the love and mercy we have received from the Father. However, there is always a temptation for others to see our work as nothing more than social work. By rebranding to the Ministries of Evangelical Charity we remind ourselves of our most important vocation as evangelists.
These ministries will look differently within each Family of Parishes depending on the social location of the parishes and the needs of their individual communities. For purposes of strategic planning, it is helpful to view Ministries of Evangelical Charity through 8 specific lenses:
- Human Services: Ministries aimed at addressing a specific human need.
- Care Ministries: Ministries aimed at caring for a specific population of individuals.
- Community Outreach: Ministries and activities that partner with and/or support other community agencies and efforts.
- Mental Health and Crisis: Ministries that respond to the mental health and crisis needs of community members through the combination of direct and spiritual support.
- Bereavement: Ministries that accompany community members as they find hope and healing through the grief process.
- Pro-Life Ministries: Ministries that support-- through prayer, education, advocacy and pastoral service-- the dignity of life from Conception to natural death seeking to build a culture of life.
- Fraternal Organizations: Societies and conferences that operate for the service of the parish and the poor and for the Christian formation and fraternal support of their membership.
- Justice Ministries: Ministries that advocate for justice and advance the vision of Catholic Social Teaching in the parish and the public square.
- The Office of Evangelical Charity
- What is Evangelical Charity
- Why You Keep Hearing about Evangelical Charity
- What Makes Our Charity 'Evangelical'
Formation for Ministry
The Archdiocese of Detroit has a long history of providing formation to Lay Ecclesial Ministers—both staff members and volunteers working in parishes—this will continue to be the case as we move into this next phase of Unleash the Gospel. We will offer a formal training program for ministers of Evangelical Charity after the transition to Families of Parishes, but in the meantime, we encourage each Evangelical Charity minister to engage with the resources in our Formation Database.
Putting Mercy into Action
The Encounter, Grow, Witness paradigm calls all people to put mercy into action through our witness. Archbishop Vigneron wrote, “Every person in the Archdiocese of Detroit is called to Encounter Jesus anew, to grow daily as His disciple, and to give witness to the power of His mercy.” One of the greatest ways that we evangelize in the Archdiocese of Detroit is by putting mercy into action!
Every parish should regularly practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy! Check out these resources for inspiration!
- Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Catholic Apostolate Center
- Hands from Home Database of Projects
Since 2016 the parishes of the Archdiocese have worked together on the Mercy in Action Day—a weekend in which each of our parishes plans an Act of Mercy for their community. This tradition has become a fruitful part of our identity as Missionary Disciples!
- Mercy in Action 2021 Toolkit
- Detroit Catholic Article on Mercy in Action 2020
- Mercy in Action 2020 Slideshow
Referrals and Supportive Services
Pope Francis has called upon all parishes to become “field hospitals” and places of refuge for those seeking shelter from the injustices of the world. As such, each of our parishes is seen as a beacon of light and hope for people experiencing all different types of human needs. One form of hospitality is to make sure that all parish ministers know what resources exist for referral. The parish Evangelical Charity team is responsible for creating and keeping updated the parish referral list. See below for resources to aid you in completing:
- Link to Parish Referral Template and Instructions
- 7 Ways to Empower Your Parishioners to Share Your Evangelical Charity Ministries
- Supportive Services Database
We encourage parishes to share their completed referral lists with the Office of Evangelical Charity so that the resources can be compiled and shared with any parishes who struggle to find appropriate resources to refer others to. Please send these to Dr. Marlon De La Torre.
The Office of Evangelical Charity is also tasked with helping parishes connect with the various Mission Partners—ministries and non-profit agencies that also work to Unleash the Gospel in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Partnerships between parishes and these ministries help us to minister as One Church by sharing resources, expertise, and effort. If you represent a Mission Partner Organization and are currently not receiving news from the Office of Evangelical Charity please contact Dr. Marlon De La Torre to be added to our distribution lists. Parish ministers can check out the following to learn more about our Mission Partners:
Walking with Moms in Need
Walking with Moms in Need is a USCCB-sponsored strategic planning process where Catholic parishes and communities "walk in the shoes" of local pregnant and parenting women in need. Everyone should know how to help moms in difficult circumstances and this initiative helps make that happen. While not trying to turn Catholic parishes into pregnancy centers, we can support local pregnancy centers where they exist, and we can also find and share other resources with pregnant and parenting women. And where there are few local resources, we can create our own, based on the gifts of the parish community! For more information on how your parish can begin this process contact Kathleen Wilson.
- Why Walking with Moms in Need is a Great First Step to Evangelical Charity in Your Parish
- AOD Resource Site
- CCSEM Resource Site
- USCCB Resource Site
- WWMIN Parish Toolkit
- 19 Things your Parish Should Have Available for Moms in Need
- 10 Questions to Get to Know Your Local Pregnancy Center
- How Holy Family Parish in Novi is Walking with Moms in Need
- What would a mom in need find at your parish?
The Bereavement Lens of Evangelical Charity encompasses all of those ministries and activities that accompany members of our communities as they find hope and healing through their grief journey. Caring well for members of the community who are grieving is a testimony to our belief in the Resurrection! Below are some resources to help your parish begin exploring Bereavement Ministry.
- 5 Reasons your Parish Should have a Bereavement Ministry from Ascension Press
- CFCS Pastoral Care Program
- Good Mourning Ministry
- Grieving with Great Hope on Formed.org
- Project Red Bird Detroit Chapter
A Parish Nurse, sometimes called a Faith Community Nurse, is an actively licensed professional registered nurse. The Parish Nurse (FCN) combines their nursing practice with pastoral care to empower community members to become active partners in their health—experiencing the full and active lives that God created them to live. Not every parish has a Parish Nurse, but many have Parish Nurse Ministries made up of teams of volunteer nurses and other health professionals. The Office of Evangelical Charity, through the Parish Nursing Advisory Committee, seeks to help resource parish nurses. If you are interested in hiring a parish nurse or starting a Parish Nurse Ministry please contact Dr. Marlon De La Torre to be connected to your local Parish Nursing Coordinator.
- Health Ministries Association
- Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing
- Local Hospital Coordinators
The Archdiocese of Detroit follows the legislative priorities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Michigan Catholic Conference serves as the official voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan on matters of public policy and maintains a bank of news, people and current information on various legislative issues with moral impact and works to disseminate this information throughout the archdiocese. Their role is to help parish staff and volunteers prepare appropriate responses to legislation of concern and work to accomplish the goals of the U.S. bishops' conference. Make sure to sign up for the Catholic Advocacy Network to stay in the loop about legislative issues in Michigan!
Take It to the Next Level / Get Involved
Stay connected to your peers in Evangelical Charity ministry and receive important updated by signing up for the Evangelical Charity Newsletter and for our Mighty Network group!
For additional support, please contact:
|Dr. Marlon De La Torre, MA, MEd., PhD||Kathleen Wilson|
|Director of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship||Prolife Ministries Coordinator|
|Andrea Spankie||Jane Cheyne|
|CCSEM WWMIN Coordinator||Parish Nursing Advisory Committee|