“An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world.”
Pope Francis, Homily on March 1, 2014 in the Church of Gesu
The social teaching of the Catholic Church is deep and rich. 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” (Luke 4:18-19), and who identified himself with “the least of these,” the hungry and the stranger (Matthew 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).
St. Vincent de Paul Center
This is a shared ministry with St. Francis de Sales. Food is collected from parishioners at both parishers over the weekend, and then on Monday volunteers transport it to the St. Vincent de Paul Center at 13th and Maple. Volunteers also staff the center, which is open Monday and Wednesday from 3-8 p.m. and on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. Some volunteers work every week; some are Confirmation students doing service hours; others do weekly shopping for needed commodities and fresh produce. If you want to volunteer any time at the center, call Frank Casteneda at 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.
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.
Emergency Financial Assistance
The parish will assess an individual’s or family’s financial situation and determine whether funds can be disbursed.
Food is purchased for distribution through the 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 nonperishable 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 lbs. deliveries.
Faith and Film Series
This film series examines issues in the social teaching of the Church. Each film is followed by dialogue.
Habitat for Humanity
Through the annual Unity Build, Our Lady of the Lake partners with others churches in the construction of a house for a homeless family.
Kids Food Basket
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 online at kidsfoodbasket.com. You can schedule an on-site volunteering online according to your schedule and their needs.
This is a diocesan ministry through which volunteers are trained following an orientation session to discern if this is a ministry God is calling you to. These volunteers then provide prayer services or visitations 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. At Christmastime, parishioners collect eyeglasses and tube socks for prisoners throughout the diocese.
This is a new ministry in partnership with Bethany Christian Services. Years ago, the parish sponsored refugees from Vietnam and Bosnia. If you’d like to be part of this ministry, contact one of the co-chairs:
- Anna and Tom Bonnema, email@example.com, 616-405-2506
- Tammy Nguyen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 616-990-4561
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 something for someone else; rather, the encounter began with us 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 brothers and sisters, we are a part of this hopefulness.
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.