Cedar Grove Parish Initiates Program to Increase Parishioner’s Involvement by Giving Service Where it is Needed

Share Article

Hope Residence at Eva’s Village (http://www.EvasVillage.org), a shelter for women and children benefits from Cedar Grove Parish initiative because of its comprehensive program, and success in changing lives.

–“S.O.S. Ministry with children from Hope Residence during their Outdoor Fun Activity”

Shepherds of Service (S.O.S.), a Ministry at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Cedar Grove (SCS), was designed by its Stewardship Council to expand the number of parishioners who are actively involved in the life of the Parish. It has accomplished this by offering an extensive schedule of service activities for parishioners to participate in. A parishioner may commit to just one activity - "one parishioner, one time, one task" – or to multiple activities, reflexive of personal preferences and schedules.

In 2013, which is Year 3 for S.O.S., the Ministry has scheduled seventy activities to benefit at-risk and elderly individuals at five not-for-profit organizations: sheltered children at Eva’s Village, homeless youth at Covenant House, the elderly at St. Vincent's Nursing Home and the hungry served by Bridges and The Community FoodBank of NJ. The S.O.S. offers three different activity schedules which provide distinct, lifestyle-appropriate avenues of service for individual parish populations: an Adult Schedule, Young Professionals Schedule and Family Schedule. Over 300 parishioners have participated in S.O.S., some once, many frequently.

Eva’s Village, Paterson NJ, was selected to be part of S.O.S because of its comprehensive program, and success in changing lives. “Eva’s was eager to partner with us which made the organization an instant ‘yes’!” explained SCS Stewardship Council Chair and S.O.S. Ministry Director, Pat Braun. “Having researched numerous organizations regarding their need for volunteers, discussing how S.O.S. could meet those needs, and analyzing parishioner feedback regarding service ministry, it became clear that Eva’s Village and St. Catherine’s was a perfect pairing of Missions! A subsequent tour of Eva’s Village affirmed the selection.”

SCS Stewardship Council Member, Grace Whealan, compiled the research which drew SCS to Eva’s Village and serves as S.O.S. Parish Liaison to the organization. Parishioner Camille Nebus is Group Coordinator of the twelve S.O.S. Activities at Eva’s, each of which is a “Teachable Moment” for the young children living at Eva’s Hope Residence, a sheltering program for homeless mothers and their young children. Led by a different parishioner each month, each activity is comprised of an educational element and a fun activity focused on a different theme, such as “The Wind,” “Outdoor Fun” and “My Neighborhood.”

In addition to the monthly enrichment brought to the children of Hope Residence, members of S.O.S have also volunteered in other activities at Eva’s Village including their Annual Golf Tournament and Summer Carnival and a few routinely volunteer in Eva’s Kitchen. Monsignor Robert Slipe, Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, said, “In its ability to match today's parishioner's hectic schedule to the very real needs of social service providers in our area, S.O.S. has blessed our Parish with an ability to give service where it is needed and provide our people with opportunities to give of themselves to the poor. It's been a win-win for Saint Catherine's and the social agencies in our area.”

About St. Catherine of Siena S.O.S.
Detailed information about S.O.S. is available by clicking on the S.O.S. tab on the St. Catherine of Siena Parish website (w ww.scscedargrove.org).

About Eva’s Village
Eva’s Village (http://www.evasvillage.org), originally a New Jersey soup kitchen, was founded in 1982 by Msgr. Vincent E. Puma in response to the increasing incidence of homelessness in his Paterson, NJ parish. But Msgr. Puma soon realized that a soup kitchen was not enough. With the generous support of thousands of donors and private and government grants, Eva's has grown into the most respected anti-poverty program in New Jersey. Their mission is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted and provide medical and dental care to the poor with respect for the human dignity of each individual.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Joanne, Fagan
Eva's Village
973-523-6220 228
Email >
Visit website