Justice and Peace
Social Outreach Ministry
Justice and Peace News For February 25th CLICK HERE
“As a faith-community within the Catholic Church of St. Mark, the Justice and Peace committee, using our gifts and talents, desire to image Jesus Christ by fostering the values that He gave us and to promote the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Our ministry is guided by the Church’s "Catholic Social Teaching" (ref: USCCB website) and the "Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching". We currently sponsor and support several outreach and service programs, some of which like our food pantry and Snack-Bag Ministry operate year-round, others, like our Christmas Giving Tree program are seasonal. Our ministry is always in need of committed volunteers to help. We meet on the 3rd Monday every other month (beginning each January) at 6:30pm currently via Zoom. For more information about the ministry, please contact us.
The following list highlights our current ministries and outreach programs:
COLLECTION MINISTRIES: Throughout the year, we focus our efforts on a specific need / issue in our community by collecting specific items. Reaching out to those in need by providing these much-needed items as well as opportunities for our parishioners to give. In addition, during times of need due to crisis, natural disasters, and other emergencies other collections may be added. Below are the regular yearly collections we host:
February- Women’s Hygiene Items for VB Jail
May- Baby Items
June- Migrant Worker items
July- August – School Supplies
September- October Winter Items
Advocacy: Our goal is to help educate and raise awareness in our parish regarding HUMAN TRAFFICKING. We are utilizing bulletin announcements, our bulletin board located in the Great Hall and various activities such as World Day of Prayer for Human Trafficking on February 8th, and opportunities for awareness training via On-Watch, US Sisters against Trafficking, and the Polaris Project
C.A.S.T. (Chesapeake Area Shelter Team): Provides overnight winter shelter for the homeless for one week, Wednesday to Wednesday, along with meals, resources, security, and fellowship. St. Mark has participated in the weekly sheltering and currently we are an assisting church providing meals and volunteers to other area churches.
Catholic Worker Breakfast Line, Norfolk: a group of parishioners travel to Sacred Heart Church in Norfolk where they prepare and serve breakfast for the homeless on the streets of Norfolk generally Tuesdays and/or Fridays.
Christmas Giving Tree: We collect gift cards, and toys to help in need parishioners and families served by Catholic Charities, Samaritan House, Community Services Board and Refugee Resettlement helping them to have a merrier Christmas.
Feed Our Neighbor: Parishioners volunteer to prepare and serve a meal via PIN Ministry, Virginia Beach Winter Shelter, and Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, three to five times a year. Parishioners donate food supplies as well as preparing meals.
Food Pantry: Our Food Pantry collects, purchases and distributes food to individuals requesting assistance on Wednesdays from 10:00am to 1:00pm.
FOOD INSECURITY: We need your help! As you know food prices are rising drastically. Last year to fill a bag cost $13.04; this year the cost is $19.72 and Food Pantry donations are down. Please help by donating financially or by donating an item from our item list. Printed lists are also available on the table in Commons by Food Pantry bin
Food Pantry Items:
*Please check expiration dates
12-15oz Cheerios (or store brand)
14.5-15 oz Canned Green Beans
19-30 oz. Plastic Jar Grape Jelly
7.25 oz. Macaroni & Cheese
9-15oz. Instant Mashed Potatoes
1lb. Spaghetti noodles
24oz. Plastic Spaghetti Sauce
16-18 oz. Smooth Peanut Butter
14.5-15 oz. Canned Peas
12pk. Chicken Ramen Noodles
5 oz. Canned Tuna in Water
1 lb. Bagged White Rice
$10 Grocery Gift Card
Holiday Baskets: We collect gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas to provide a holiday meal to in need parishioners and families served by Catholic Charities, Samaritan House, Community Services Board and Refugee Resettlement with a special holiday meal.
Maison Fortune Orphanage: We work to build our relationship, share spiritual and material resources through our formal "twinning" with Maison Fortune Orphanage in Hinche, Haiti. **We are currently working to rebuild our bond and revitalize our awareness in this ministry.
Migrant Ministry: Alongside more than twenty other Catholic parishes from both the sides of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel we work to serve the migrant workers by collecting and donating resources. Items we collect are toiletries, clothing, bedding, backpacks, and school supplies, as well as rosaries, holy cards, and holy water.
PLARN: On Thursday mornings in the Great Hall from 9:30 till 11:00am a group turns unwanted plastic bags into bedding for the homeless. There is no experience required. No commitments and no meetings to attend, just gathering to make PLARN, mats, and sharing community with each other.
Prison Ministry: Program centers around visits to Deerfield Correctional Facility celebrating a Mass and conversations with the Catholic inmate community. The visits are usually on the fourth Tuesday of each month. We also write cards for the Easter and Christmas seasons for the Catholic Community at Deerfield.
Snack Bag/P.I.N. Ministry: We put together and deliver snack bags to PIN Ministry. Each Snack Bag contains: granola bar, fruit cup, treat(cookie/crackers/chips), and a meal replacement: tuna pouches or snack kits, only pop-top cans (the homeless usually do not have can openers) chicken noodle or other soup, beanie weenies, beef stew, Chef Boyardee types.
Respect Life: Throughout the year and a special focus during the month of May. We work to raise awareness and offer activities that reflect respecting ALL life from conception to natural death. Activities include our Baby Bottle Drive to support "Hope4Life", Baby Shower (Baby item drive) for Hope4Life & Catholic Charities, visits to the elderly at Chesapeake Place, reflections from our Prison Ministry volunteers, and advocacy items.
Volunteer Month: During the month of April, we work to focus on recognizing Volunteers; including all here at St Mark as well as those who volunteer in the community at large such as Schools, hospitals, EMS/EMT workers, and so many others. We host a reception with token gifts of appreciation and hors d'oeuvres for all volunteers. For those organizations that are in the larger community outside our walls we bake goodies and deliver them with our heartfelt thanks for all they do to help others. community.
Spiritual Adoption Ministry : The foundation for our Catholic Social Teaching is the “Dignity of Life” to help raise awareness, educate, provide prayer opportunities and reflection our Justice & Peace Committee is pleased to announce the implementation of our newest ministry. As an expression of love and respect for the most basic and innocent life our parish will be offering an opportunity for young and old alike to Spiritually Adopt a child from conception to birth. All our parish family will have the opportunity to “spiritually” adopt a child who is newly conceived in August each year. Not all newly conceived babies are allowed to be born. It is these babies you are being asked to “adopt.”
You may choose to “adopt” a child individually or as a family by signing up beginning in August or at any time throughout the nine months. You may choose a name and whether a boy or girl for the child for whom you will be praying, thereby acknowledging the baby’s humanity. You will be asked to pray for your unborn child and for all unborn children for 9 months. We will provide prayer cards, information sheets, trinkets, and monthly updates to help educate and raise awareness for the unborn. All information and materials will be appropriate for all ages. At the end of the nine months in May to honor the month of Mary and Mother’s Day we will host a birthday party that all are invited to share cake and joy for the birth of our spiritually adopted babies.
There are millions of unborn babies desperately in need of your prayers. Won’t you please “spiritually adopt” one and share the love for life that God have given you? Watch the bulletin for more details as we approach our start date. If you would like to be part of our Spiritual Adoption ministry, please see the display in the Commons or the pledge board in the Great Hall. For more information, please contact us using the form HERE