The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) has much to tell us about how to do God’s Will. First, we must love God whole heartedly. Love of God should propel us to act lovingly toward our neighbors.
Our diocesan public policy committee annually identifies issues for parishes to educate and bring all people to a greater love of neighbor as self. The members of OLOL’s Social Ministry Committee plan events for us to encounter God as we join in acts of service.
Since life is our greatest gift from God, we are to uphold life from the moment of conception to natural death. Here are some websites that help us with this: https://www.respectlife.org/, https://www.usccb.org/prolife. Advocating for life is a year round, lifetime activity. Whether you have questions or need support, our Office of Life Issues for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is available to help. Check out this short video from our Catholic Bishops about respecting others and the roles we have as co-creators with God.
Stand Out for Life is our diocesan peaceful, prayerful event happening every 4th Saturday that affirms the dignity of all human persons, with a special emphasis on children in the womb, pregnant moms in need – being exploited for profit, abortion workers, etc. This event happens every 4th Saturday, from 9 -10:30AM outside of the Regional Headquarters of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western NY (114 University Ave., Downtown Rochester). If you participate, bring your Rosary, wear a mask, practice social distancing and consider bringing a friend!
Each October all parishioners at all worship sites are encouraged to learn and pray about the gift that life is. The committee sets out Baby Bottles for special offerings given to area Pregnancy Care Centers. The Yates chapter of the American Federation for Suicide Prevention invites everyone to walk to end suicide. January is declared Poverty Awareness Month. On 1/22 we observe a day of prayer and penance, called the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children,” in commemoration of the many infant lives lost due to Roe vs. Wade and its reversal. This coincides with the March for Life in our nation’s capital. Our diocese makes busses available for us to participate. It is a pilgrimage that you will never forget. Education on issues to be advocated for in February’s Public Policy weekend also begin in January.
Read to inform yourself with these titles: Fratelli Tutti, On Fraternity & Social Friendship & Laudato Si by Pope Francis, Open Wide our Hearts, a pastoral letter against racism, “Civilize It” to help us have civil conversations with others who share differing opinions and Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which helps us to be the best voters we can be.
Anti Racism: Open Wide Our Hearts is our USCCB’s Pastoral Letter against Racism. The resources on a Catholic Response to Racism are vast. The Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University sponsors online dialogues. In Feb. 2021 the topic was Black Women and Criminal (In)Justice, (Resources for the discussion). The National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry suggests several resources. The Catholic Mobilizing Network seeks to end the death penalty (the opposite end of the spectrum of the beginning of life) and implement restorative justice. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recently released a version of the Stations of the Cross which focuses on overcoming racism. You can find them at www.usccb.org/resources/stations-of-the-cross-overcoming-racism.pdf.
Annually, the Diocesan Public Policy Committee (DPPC) identifies priorities for action. Every second weekend of February we are asked to contact our elected representatives about an issue identified by the DPPC. Go to our News & Events page to learn what issue and action to take this year. The NYS Catholic Action Network (CAN) assists us in helping to bring to our attention issues on which our voices will speak for the voiceless.
From Georgetown University an online dialogue, “President Biden, the US Bishops & Pope Francis” was offered (Feb. 2021). It was covered by the Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter, America, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Agency news outlets. View the recording and enlighten yourself and others with the resources. View the full list of public dialogues offered and recorded by The Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.
Before the pandemic OLOL Social Ministry Committee also encouraged us to serve in these ways:
Local Pantry: Consider donating the second of your BOGO items! Foods, toiletries, paper supplies — even pet food (for the non-human friends who may be in need) — can be left in the collection boxes at all worship sites. Items are delivered monthly to the local food distributions. Help delivering to the food distributions and assisting at them is always welcome.
Helping Hands Funds: Financial assistance is available to those in need by contacting one of the parish offices. These funds go directly to vendors to assist with rent, utility bills, medical bills and other emergency needs.
Angel/Giving Tree: During Advent parishioners are made aware of the needs of the elderly who may no longer have family to give them gifts. Parishioners purchase and wrap gifts based on needs found on gift tags. Help collecting the parcels and distributing them is always welcome.
Equal Exchange: Fair Trade is about small farmers in the Developing World receiving a fair price for their labors. But it is also about much more. Through Equal Exchange’s Interfaith Coffee Program, our congregation becomes part of a life-centered economic model which puts people and the environment before profits – a model rooted in the principles of justice, equity, cooperation and sustainability. With your help, we can build a better future for ourselves and our global neighbors. Equal Exchange products are available at worship sites throughout the cluster
Operation Rice Bowl: During Lent we partner with Catholic Relief Services to pray and collect funds that help brothers and sisters in developing countries.
Pet Food Collection: Held during winter in order to help raise and collect food for pets in our parishes to help out struggling families.
Grandma’s Kitchen: Provide food after school for students staying for activities at Penn Yan Academy
Handicapped Bus Volunteers: 3 times year and dates determined by Penn Yan Area Council of Churches. The focus of this ministry is to bring shut ins and the elderly to Mass and other Sacred Liturgies
Coffee Hour: Coffee and conversation with residents of Clinton Crest.
Immigrant and Migrant Ministry: “And when did we see You a stranger and welcome you?”(Matthew 25:38) Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:45) These words from scripture remind us of our call to be open and welcoming to immigrants because we were all immigrants at one time too. Throughout the Our Lady of the Lakes Community we have immigrants, many wanting to become citizens, living in our midst. They are people of great faith and deep devotion. Many seek assistance to learn English and study for citizenship through Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates. Another important way to help is to offer to get involved with the Alianza Agricola division of the Worker Justice Center of NY. Its other active programs include: human trafficking, domestic violence, legal education, worker advocacy, workplace safety and community engagement.
Diocesan Social Ministry Conference Held annually each spring.
The Catholic Family Center serves the needy of the greater Rochester area (of which we are a part).