Local parish receives $5,000 ministry grant

VAN BUREN and PORTLAND, Maine — An Aroostook County parish is one of four in Maine to receive Matthew 25 Awards, which include grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, from Catholic Charities Maine.

St. Peter Chanel Parish, which includes St. Bruno-St. Remi Church in Van Buren and St. Joseph Church in Hamlin, will receive $5,000 be used by the parish’s outreach committee to fund the purchase of a utility trailer that will allow parish ministries to transport food, household appliances, furnishings, supplies for children’s camps, and other items.

The outreach committee, comprised solely of volunteers, serves people in Van Buren, Hamlin and Cyr Plantation through a thrift shop; a food pantry; the Angel Network, which assists low-income families with basic home furnishings; an emergency needs fund; a mercy meals program to assist grieving families; and a free children’s camp program.

In total, parishioners donated over 6,000 volunteer hours in the last year.

Catholic Charities’ Parish Social Ministry program awards the funds to parishes to assist them in expanding their capacity to serve more people or to develop a new social ministry. The ministries receiving the awards must be directly serving vulnerable people in need, regardless of faith affiliation, and adhering to the principles of the Bible verse Matthew: 25, “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink.”

Other winning parishes, receiving $2,000 each, are: Good Shepherd Parish (Most Holy Trinity Church, Saco; St. Joseph Church, Biddeford; St. Margaret Church, Old Orchard Beach; St. Philip Church, Lyman; St. Brendan Chapel, Biddeford Pool); St. Joseph Parish

(St. Joseph Church, Ellsworth; Blue Hill Mission Church, Blue Hill; Our Lady of the Lake Church, Dedham; St. Margaret Chapel, Winter Harbor); and St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish

(Immaculate Conception Church, Calais; St. Joseph Church, Eastport; St. James the Greater Church, Baileyville; St. Ann Church, Perry; St. Ann Church, Indian Township; St. John the Evangelist Church, Pembroke).

In addition to the funding, each parish will also receive a stained-glass award.

“These are wonderfully organized projects that allow many parishioners to contribute to important work in their respective communities,” said Michael Smith, director of mission for Catholic Charities Maine. “In reading the applications and in seeing their work, it becomes obvious how much these parishioners truly care for their neighbors and the common good.”

“I am so grateful for the work of parish social ministry in our diocese,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley. “The help it offers, including the Matthew 25 Awards, reminds us that we are all called to participate in the mission of the Church, bringing love and mercy to our world.

“These four parish programs and so many others are devoted to spreading the message of the Gospel. They serve as wonderful examples of the ways in which people in our diocese are bringing God’s love to those in need.”

For more information about the many Parish Social Ministry programs assisting throughout Maine and ways that you can help, visit

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