Social Ministry Commission
Deacon Jim Corder Rev. John P. Klein, Pastor
517-323-2379 Phone: 517-323-2379
Lisa Martino Jose Lopez
Mike Guyeskey Terry McHoskey
Gene Schneider Patricia Niewiadomski
Susan Jensen Carrie Pence
Social Ministries Commission Mission Statement
We, the members of St. Gerard’s Social Ministries Commission, with the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ as our guide, look to provide leadership to our larger community, providing them with opportunity, education, and vision, enabling others to grow in faith through understanding, knowledge, and acts of mercy. Through these gifts Jesus will become more alive in our everyday lives as we encounter Him in places where, perhaps, we had never looked.
(Updated Nov. 10, 2011)
Social Ministries Directory
I am the Vine, you are the branches. (John 15:1-5)
Parish Social Ministry is rooted in the passion for the justice of the Hebrew prophets and the words and deeds of Jesus. Every parish community shares in the mission of Jesus Christ proclaimed in Luke’s Gospel of “bringing good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, new sight to the blind, and setting the downtrodden free.” (Luke 4:18) Parish Social Ministry is about building real community among those who serve and those who are served, among those who are privileged and those who are not. It is an organized effort of the entire parish to serve those in need, to advocate for justice, and to work at changing societal structures that perpetuate injustice.
(Excerpt: Diocese of Lansing Guidelines for Parish Social Ministry Commissions)
St. Gerard Parish - Social Ministries
The area below outlines the social ministries currently active in St. Gerard Parish.
These outreach ministries offer a wide range of opportunities to put our faith in action. A description of each ministry and contact information is provided for individuals wishing to become involved and for those who may benefit from the services they offer.
Annual Home Build/Renovation
Yearly St. Gerard is committed to helping a local family acquire a home. This has been done many different ways with many different local groups (Habitat for Humanity, Mr. B’s House, One Church One Family and Sparrow’s Nest). Parishioners contribute through prayer, in-kind donations, monetary donations and/or labor at the building sites.
CONTACT: Linda Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org,
BeFrienders are specially trained laypersons who enter into caring, nonjudgmental relationships with others in their times of special need by visiting with them, being with them, and bringing emotional and spiritual support. BeFriender ministry is one of “being with” rather than “doing.” BeFrienders accept people as they are, listen with compassion without giving advice and allow others to make their own decisions. BeFrienders maintain a strict policy of confidentiality at all times. BeFrienders minister to those going through difficult times such as: illness, disability, divorce or separation, death of a loved one, job loss/career change, parenting challenges, stress of caregiving and others.
CONTACT: Julie Horvath, email@example.com,
-Women’s Honor Guard:
Early on in its parish history the women of St. Gerard began the custom of honoring their deceased sisters with an honor guard at the funeral Mass. Each time a women from the parish dies the family is invited to utilize the honor guard.
CONTACT: Colleen Kuntz, Phone: 517-323-9414
Trained adult servers, mostly retirees, assist our grieving families by serving at each funeral Mass
CONTACT: Jay Corey, Phone: 517-393-1096
-Funeral Luncheon Volunteers:
On the day of the funeral St. Gerard makes a hall and volunteers available so that grieving families can provide a meal for all who attend the funeral. Homemade desserts are also provided from a list of a hundred other volunteers.
CONTACT: Clarina Adcock, Phone: 517-323-7445
-Grief Support Group:
St. Gerard’s Grief Support Group is an interactive group. During these sessions, tools, ideas, and creative projects help individuals move through the grieving process. Opportunities for learning and self-discovery are offered to help participants keep their loved one’s memories alive. This program is offered in a faith-filled setting. Grief support meetings are currently offered in six week sessions each fall and spring.
CONTACT: Vince Kuntz, Phone: 517-323-2379
CONTACT: Parish Office, Phone: 517-323-2379
-Prayer Shawl Ministry:
Parishioners meet twice a month to knit or crochet shawls which are given to people in need of special blessings, thoughts and prayers. Shawls can be used as an expression of comfort and concern as well as to celebrate something joyous.
CONTACT: Cay Warner, Phone: 517-323-2379.
St. Gerard Parish sponsors community dinners for those who may be alone on the major holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. This year is the 23rd year in a row that St. Gerard provides these community dinners. The dinners are held on the day of the holiday. They are served family-style in Fr. Weber Hall. There are many opportunities to volunteer. Three shifts of volunteers are needed for help in the kitchen, set up, serving, clean up and transportation. This event is a wonderful opportunity for parishioners to live the Gospel and put their faith in action. Last Thanksgiving there were 250 people served. “Nobody should be home alone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter no matter their economic status” said Mike Hudson.
CONTACT: Mike and Carolyn Hudson, Phone: 517-321-4297
The Dresser Mission provides practical help for needy women or couples in crisis pregnancies. A donated new dresser (or very good used dresser) is filled with donated baby items. When the dresser is filled, it is delivered to a local pro-life organization to be given to an expectant mother. We accept new and gently used baby clothes and dressers.
CONTACT: Pat Albright, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Eucharistic Ministry to the Homebound
Every Sunday, trained and commissioned Homebound ministers come forward to receive a pyx from the celebrant at our parish Masses. Armed with the Eucharist (and the Sunday bulletin), these volunteers will visit Catholic residents of one of the 11 assisted living communities in our parish and other parishioners living in their private residences. This ministry extends the Lord’s table to our brothers and sisters whose health prevents them from attending Sunday Mass. Volunteers serve every fourth week. Our goal is to ensure that the homebound know that St. Gerard has not forgotten them even though they are not able to sit in our church pews. If you know of someone from our parish who is in need of this ministry, please let us know.
CONTACT: Vincent Kuntz or Mary Peacock, Phone: 517-323-2379
Fair Trade Coffee
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Nicaraguan coffee, Divine Chocolate bars and Fair Trade Palestinian olive oil are sold one weekend each month in the Parish Hall after all Masses. This ministry provides a wonderful companion to our parish connection to the Casa Materna in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, where many of the mothers served by the Casa Materna work in coffee production. Proceeds from the coffee sale are donated to the Casa Materna and in this way our parish supports both the Casa and the Fair Trade coffee growers and workers. In our hearts, our homes, our places of work, our places of worship and in the wider world, CRS Fair Trade products help transform lives for the better.
Pat Niewiadomski, email@example.com,
Friends of Casa Materna at St. Gerard
Our group’s purpose is to build a connection between those served at the Casa Materna and St. Gerard parishioners. Located in the developing country of Nicaragua, the Casa Materna provides vital services for women with high-risk pregnancies living in the rural region of Matagalpa. The Casa Materna provides shelter, meals, medical attention, and community during the last days of pregnancy and allows the women to be near the regional hospital to ensure a safe labor and delivery. We partner with the parish’s Fair Trade Coffee group and jointly hold a monthly coffee sale where all proceeds are donated to the Casa Materna. Volunteers are always welcomed.
Theresa Kidd, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Gospel of Life Committee
The mission of the Gospel of Life Committee is to educate parishioners and the larger community on life issues; to identify life issues that need attention; and to advocate for life from conception to natural death. The committee will use the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, issued by Pope John Paul II, as its guide. The committee will operate under the Social Ministries Commission and will answer to the commission and the Pastor. If you are interested in the Gospel of Life Committee, CONTACT: Fr. Pieter van Rooyen, email@example.com,
JustFaith is an extensive, conversion-based process that provides a context in which participants can grow in their commitment to care for the vulnerable and become advocates for a more just society. JustFaith consists of 30 weekly sessions using several forms of adult learning including books, videos, guest speakers, discussion, prayer, two weekend retreats and four immersion experiences. The mission of the JustFaith Program is to provide lively, compelling resources that inspire and empower people of faith to embrace God’s call to compassion, healing, care, and community. “Just Faith changes people; those people change the world.”
CONTACT: Pat Niewiadomski, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Kids Hope USA
Kids Hope is a community outreach program that assists children who need academic and/or social skills help. Parishioner volunteers are trained and then mentor one child for one hour per week at Waverly’s Colt Elementary School during the school day. Parishioners can also volunteer to become prayer partners for mentors and pray for the mentor and child on a weekly basis. Volunteers as mentors and prayer partners are always welcome.
CONTACT: Marilyn Fox Wade, email@example.com,
Loaves and Fishes
Join us in serving the homeless by providing a meal and companionship. Enjoy hands-on service by donating your time. We have open shifts for companioning our guests (6pm-10pm and 10pm-8am). We are open 365 days, so if weekdays are inconvenient try weekends. Training and staff assistance is provided. We also take donations: financial contributions, personal items (hygiene items, clothing, etc.), household items (cleaning products, paper products, etc.). Special projects include assembling newsletters and occasional household repairs.
CONTACT: Harriet McCarthy 517-323-3973, or
Loaves and Fishes 517-482-2099
Meals on Wheels
This ministry is designed to provide manpower, support and assistance to the Meals on Wheels (MOW) programs in Eaton and Ingham Counties. The Tri-County Office on Aging manages this program to provide and deliver hot, nutritious meals to those in need at their homes. Meals are delivered every weekday; sack lunches and frozen meals are also provided for evening and weekend meals when needed but all deliveries are made at the noon hour during the week. An important element of the program also is that all recipients are “looked in on” and have some human contact every day. Recipients pay the recommended cost of the meals as they are able. There is “never a time when we don’t need more drivers, coordinators and kitchen help,” according to program managers in both counties. Deliveries are planned so that drivers can pick up the meals and deliver them to the homes and return to work or home within one hour. This ministry also depends on prayer partners, that is parishioners who are unable to physically serve in the program but pray daily for the volunteers, the recipients and the success of the program.
Marilyn Noeker firstname.lastname@example.org,
Phone: 517-622-1530 or
Gene Schneider email@example.com,
Meals on Wheels Office: Eaton 1-866-541-5444; Ingham 517-887-1460
Michigan Peace Team
Michigan Peace Team (MPT) empowers people to engage in active nonviolent peacemaking. MPT began in 1993 in response to the growing need for civilian peacemakers in the U.S. and abroad. We offer non-violence training workshops and provide opportunities to join peace teams. MPT seeks a just world grounded in nonviolence and respect for the sacred interconnectedness of all life.
CONTACT: Pat and Walt Niewiadomski, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 517-515-0450
One Church One Family
St. Gerard Parish has partnered with the Greater Lansing Homeless Resolution Network (GLHRN) to provide mentoring and support to a formerly homeless family. The GLHRN provides the home (named “St. Gerard Home”), placement services, professional case management, and training and educational services. The family lives in this transitional home where they, with the help of the city and the church, work toward self-sufficiency through job training, full-time employment, training and experience in budgeting, and other life skills. Parish volunteers provide mentoring, advocacy, friendship and support that fosters development of life-changing friendships, growth and wholeness. Once specific goals are attained, the resident family will be placed in permanent housing. Parishioners are needed to serve as mentors and to provide support, as needed, within the guidelines of the program.
CONTACT: John Fiero, email@example.com,
Historically, Parishioners coordinate with the Diocesan Office of Restorative Justice to reach out to the incarcerated and to provide Aftercare Programs for those released from correctional facilities. Activities have included mentoring, Bible study, Communion services, and, when our priests are available, celebration of Mass. Others help by donating Bibles and religious materials. If you are interested in the Prison Ministry, please
Dan Lundquist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Cross Blood Drive
St. Gerard Parish partners with the American Red Cross to host six blood drives each year at our parish. The American Red Cross reports that every two seconds blood is needed in the U.S. During our parish blood drive, volunteers are needed to provide snacks, set up, tear down, and assure that the blood drive runs smoothly. In addition, the parish is always looking for new blood donors and welcomes back former donors. Each blood donation can help up to three people. A person can donate blood every 56 days, allowing donors to participate in each of the four parish-sponsored blood drives.
CONTACT: Gene Schneider, email@example.com
Michelina DeRose 517-321-1958
Respite Care provides relief for those caring for an ill or disabled loved one. A trained volunteer is available to give some time off for the caregiver. They may need to run errands, go to a physician appointment, or perhaps attend Sunday Mass. New volunteers are always welcome.
CONTACT: Anne Kwart, firstname.lastname@example.org,
St. Gerard Parish partners with St. Mary’s Parish in support of the Sparrow’s Nest Ministry. The goal of Sparrow’s Nest is to assist homeless women and their children and create homeowners. We do this in four ways: by surrounding them with support, by equipping them with skills they need to succeed, by holding them accountable to their goals by providing housing that they can afford to own. Parishioners can contribute through prayer, and/or through participation on the support team. New prayer and support team members are always welcome.
CONTACT: Linda Smith, email@example.com,
St. Vincent de Paul Society
The St. Gerard Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul assists the poor in the local parish area. Rooted in faith, Vincentians believe their mission is to see the face of Christ in others and serve them with a spirit of hope. The Vincentians meet weekly on Wednesday evenings, at 1213 Clark St. starting at 4:30 pm, to pray, pack groceries and personal items for the needy (20-30 families a week). We then go to the homes to deliver aid and spend a few moments with each client. Home visits to the poor are a core activity, essential to the spirituality of the group. Vincentians also assess the needs of individuals, provide direct aid when possible, and connect the clients with other resources when necessary or beneficial. Vincentians deliver food baskets or vouchers for food at Thanksgiving and food vouchers at Christmas. At Christmas we also provide gifts for children and poinsettia plants to surviving spouses of deceased parishioners.
CONTACT: St. Vincent Office Phone: 517-853-8132
Bob Nicholson, Phone: 517-321-1597 or
Tom Haselschwerdt, Phone: 517-323-1954
Shared Pregnancy is a caring life-affirming ministry helping women through unexpected or challenging pregnancies and families with young children. They offer free ultrasounds, confidential pregnancy counseling and classes on pregnancy, parenting, and life skills. Volunteers are helpful in assisting us in our infant clothing program.
CONTACT: Donna Baker, Phone: 517-627-2733
Currently Inactive Ministries
The Refugee Services program at St. Gerard’s is currently inactive. Historically, parishioners have worked with staff of the Diocesan Refugee Services program to help refugee families relocated to Lansing. Parishioners would help set up the refugee family’s new home, would befriend and mentor the refugee family, might help with transportation and other needs, and would generally help the family adjust to life in Lansing. If you are interested in Refugee Services, please contact Deacon Jim Corder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-323-2379