Outreach/Social Justice

“An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world.”                                                                       – Pope Francis, Homily on March 1, 2014 in the Church of Gesu

SOCIAL JUSTICE   is a central and essential element of our Church’s teaching. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s special love for the poor and called God’s people to a covenant of love and justice. It’s founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came “to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind”(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with “the least of these,” the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45).  As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren” (no. 1397). (copied from USCCB web site) Contact Sr. Noella regarding any of the following opportunities. 616-392-6700 or npoinsette@oll.org  

OUTREACH   is a ministry that depends on the generosity of parishioners. Through the gift of time, talent, and treasure we, as part of the global Church and disciples of Jesus, are able to serve as the hands and feet of Christ in our world today. Through our charitable works we assist others in meeting their basic needs; through work for justice we remove root causes and change unjust structures. Both these facets are integral to living a vibrant, Spirit-filled faith. Contact Sr. Noella regarding any of the opportunities below. 616-392-6700 or npoinsette@oll.org  

Emergency  Financial Assistance: Sister Noella Poinsette, osf, Director of Outreach and Social Justice is available by appointment  and will assist with assessing the financial situation that an individual and/or family is experiencing. Contact her at (616)392-6700, x 114. The disbursement of funds is limited by policies set through the Outreach/Social Justice Board.

Feeding America: Food is purchased for distribution through St. Vincent de Paul Center. For every $10 tax-exempt contribution to Feeding America into account #03325 (St. Vincent de Paul) the Center can purchase $100 worth of food.  Because of this program the Center can provide meat as well as non-perishable food to those who are hungry. Volunteers pick up these orders once a month at a drop-off site here in Holland or by making a run to the warehouse in Grand Rapids. These loads are 600 – 1200 lb deliveries.

Friday Flix: An Exploration of Our Faith:   There will be a series of seven films on Friday nights for teens thru elders from both Holland Catholic parishes. These are contemporary films that will be followed by dialogue on social justice themes that are integral to our Church’s teaching and exemplified by the lives personified in each film. The first one is “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler”, a modern day woman who risked death in saying “yes” to God. Mark your calendars for this faith stretching series; you can come to one or any of them. Come enjoy a movie, free popcorn, and meet neighbors from our other Holland parish.                                                                                                                                                         The schedule is: 9/23 The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler                                                       …………10/21 The Visitor………………………..11/18 The Letters (St. Theresa of Calcutta) ……….. 1/20 To Be Announced……………….. 2/17 Selma ………………….. 4/21 Earth …………………… 5/19 He Named Me Malala                                                                     Five of these are at Our Lady of the Lake at 6:30 and in November and in May they are at St. Francis de Sales multipurpose room in church.

Habitat for HumanityThrough the annual UNITY BUILD Our Lady of the Lake partners with others churches in the construction of a house for a homeless family. Ellis Stich is the coordinator of this .                  


J- Walking (Justice-Walking) is a “prophet-raising” process that invites high school juniors and seniors and their adult companions to walk in the footsteps of Jesus today. Through prayer, retreats, reading, dialogue, and encounters, J-Walkers broaden their circle of awareness and expose their lives to the compassionate spirit of gospel justice. We had a successful year in 2015-16 but JustFaith Ministries is not offering this high school program next year. In 2016-17 there is a movie series instead. See Friday Flix.

JustFaith is an intensive 27 week program that runs through the school year. Through reading, DVDs, discussion and prayer in our weekly gatherings and 4 immersion experiences where we interact with those who .are poor (hungry, homeless, etc.) community is formed among the participants. Throughout this program study and discussion forms us in the justice tradition of our Church which is articulated in the Scriptures and in Catholic social teaching. The goal is  to develop a passion and thirst for justice that leads to expressing this passion in concrete acts of social ministry in service to the parish or community at large – to deepen our commitment to living as disciples of Jesus.  In 2016-17 there is a movie series instead. See Friday Flix.

One in five children in West Michigan is affected by hunger.  Through their Sack Suppers, Kids’ Food Basket is a force in Holland for attacking childhood hunger, ensuring that lunch is not the last meal of the day. Volunteers prepare, pack and deliver the Sack Suppers every school day to three schools in the Holland area. The first step is to register on-line are www.kidsfoodbasket.com.  You can schedule all on-site volunteering on-line, according to your schedule and their needs.

“The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!”                                                                                    – Pope Francis, Text from 7/25/2013 in Rio, Brazil”

Prison/Jail Ministry:  This is a Diocesan ministry through which volunteers are trained following an orientation session to discern if this is a ministry God and your gifts call you to. These volunteers then provide prayer services or visit at the Ottawa County Jail or visit juveniles at the local Juvenile Detention Center. Many of the juveniles have no other visitors.Contact Jude Acheson at 616-475-1255 or jacheson@dioceseofgrandrapids.org for more information. At Christmas time parishioners collect eye glasses and tube socks for prisoners throughout the diocese.

Refugee Cosponsorship: This is a new ministry in partnership with Bethany Christian Services. Years ago the parish sponsored refugees from Vietnam and from Bosnia. Pope Francis has recently taken in 3 refugee families and has called on all Catholic parishes to do the same.t present we don’t know what country our refugee family will be coming from. As of June 15, 2015 there will  very soon be a link from the home page to a site with detailed information on the cosponsorship and ways to get involved. If you’d like to be part of this ministry contact one of the co-chairs (Anna & Tom Bonnema annabonnema1@gmail.com ph# 405-2506 or Tammy Nguyen nguyentammya@gmail.com ph# 990-4561).


“The Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”         – Pope Benedict XVI  

Sister Church in Haiti: Our sister parish is Sts. Anne and Joachim in Labrande. This relationship did not begin with North Americans going and doing for someone else; the encounter began with asking Haitians, “What are you good at?” They were surprised by the question and then responded with pride in their worship and their school. Now we assist with salaries for teachers and in building a new church. Like the rainbow with Noah the rainbow in Haiti’s sky is a sign of hope; with our God and our Haitian sisters and brothers we are a part of this hopefulness.

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St. Vincent de Paul Center: This is a shared ministry with St. Francis de Sales, a ministry of the Holland Catholic Community. Food is collected from parishioners at both parishes when coming to weekend Masses. On Monday volunteers transport this from Our Lady of the Lake to the Center at 13th and Maple. Volunteers also staff the Center which is open Monday and Wednesday from 3-8pm and on Saturday from noon-4pm. Some volunteers work every week; some are Confirmation students doing service hours. Other volunteers do weekly shopping for needed commodities and fresh produce. If you want to volunteer any time at the Center, call Frank Casteneda at the Center. 616-394-0676. If you have donations of appliances, sofas, etc. in good condition – or if you can volunteer to help with these pickups, call Frank Casteneda 616-394-0676.

Nancy Shillander - OLLBob Shillander - OLL

Thanksgiving Food Baskets: Donations of food are given by parishioners and then volunteers prepare and distribute these bags of food to those who have registered for this through the parish. Many churches and agencies in Holland provide this service. Our Lady of the Lake’s participation in this ministry is one way of recognizing that there are poor people or people who are struggling financially in this economy that live within our parish.

VOLUNTEERS wanting to participate in any of these ministries contact Sr. Noella Poinsette, osf at 616-392-6700, ext. 114 or npoinsette@oll.org  

“The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!”                                                                                    – Pope Francis, Text from 7/25/2013 in Rio, Brazil”

The OUTREACH/SOCIAL JUSTICE BOARD  is made up of 3 members from Our Lady of the Lake and another 3 from St. Francis de Sales parishes. These members are Tom Bouman (SFDS), Pat Eldean (SFDS), Dan Fitzpatrick (chairperson, OLL), Donna Nowak (SFDS), Kathy Schoolmeester (OLL); we are presently looking for a third representative from Our Lady of the Lake.