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Ministry Descriptions

Parishes are communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth. Building a successful social ministry effort of the kind envisioned in Communities of Salt and Light requires tapping each and every able Catholic’s baptismal call to serve.


“In 1993 the U.S. Bishops issued a document called Communities of Salt and Light. In it, they set forth a vision of the parish as a caring and welcoming community, reaching out to those within the boundaries and beyond to alleviate human suffering, creating a more just society and to bring about the kingdom of God. The task they wrote, “belongs to every believer and every parish. It cannot be assigned to a few or simply delegated to diocesan or national structures. The pursuit of justice and peace is an essential part of what makes a parish Catholic)

The following descriptions are models of what each ministry could like. No two parish Social Ministry Committee/Teams/ministries will be identical and that most parishes are always in the process of developing and strengthening their programs.

One ‘Ohana: Food & Housing for All

“ONE ʻOHANA: Food and Housing for All” involves a wide range of activities and programs for individuals, families and communities to live their faith in action. Parishes throughout Hawaii have come together with community partners to incorporate “ONE ʻOHANA” Food and Housing for All” efforts in a Sustainable Food network.

“Houseless” Persons

Ministry with houseless persons could involve many services depending on the needs of your community including a thrift store, financial assistance to those in need, a food pantry and meal distribution. Initially, the Houseless ministry team educates the parish on the extent of the social issue in our area and plans how to reach out and help those in need. Some parishes make bags filled with toiletries and food items as well as a list of resources in the community to give to the most needy in the community.  Other initiatives include blanket and sock drives, visits to and volunteering at shelters, and working with community agencies to see how best to assist them in their work with the houseless people in our area.


Families Affected by Incarceration

Men & women in prison are wounded, hurting & in need of spiritual healing.  Many with self-inflicted spiritual wounds are ostracized from ordinary life and they are seeking the Lord Jesus who alone can reconcile and make new. Prison Ministry teams coordinate the prison schedules, recruit volunteers, gather supplies & facilitate training. Parish volunteers visit the jail and spread the good news about Jesus, serve Mass, lead prayer, Liturgy of the Word, and encourage others to live & celebrate the faith.

Kupuna Kokua

This ministry honors the elderly in your parish, and could include: providing transportation to doctor appointments and medical tests; assistance with activities of daily living; food shopping and meal preparation; companionship,  and respite for care-givers. In addition, the ministry locates and loans clients durable medical equipment like commodes, walkers, canes, raised toilet seats and wheelchairs. Transportation to mass is another important service to the elderly, offering rides to parishoners who are unable to get to Sunday Mass, whether the need is short or long-term.

Persons with Disabilities

A Disabilities Action Team can increase awareness and inclusion of all individuals with disabilities within our Catholic parishes by opening doors to accessibility, opening minds through education and awareness and opening hearts by celebrating the giftedness of the whole church. For more information, click here.

Healing People

This ministry includes organizing members of the parish staff and lay ministers to visit with those who are ill or convalescing at home or in the hospital or other facilities to share God’s Word and Eucharist. This could also include providing transportation to parishioners requiring a trip to a doctor’s office or to a pharmacy. Eucharistic Ministers could also elect to visit the various medical units, nursing homes, or homes of the homebound to provide the Holy Eucharist within the context of a brief liturgy. Family and visitors could participate in these prayerful occasions.


Caring for our Common Home

Environmental Justice ministry can be a group of volunteers that plans and presents programs to educate parishioners in the riches of Catholic teaching and spirituality on care of God’s creation. This would include the many interconnections with protecting life and health, social and economic issues, clean air and water, environmental justice, land use, and global climate change. Specifically, this could mean parish discussion and implementation of parish recycling, water and power conservation and events to cleanup local resources.


As Catholics, we believe we are all part of one human family. We are called to protect the life and dignity of every member of that family. Solidarity is a basic concept in Catholic teaching that asks us to stand with those who are poor and assist people in need around the world.


Legislative Advocacy is a nonpartisan issue-oriented effort to promote human dignity and to protect creation by shaping public policy. Parish sponsored legislative advocacy is based on consistent ethic of life. This ministry promotes basic human needs, anti-discrimination, economic justice, human life, and international justice and peace.


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