Social Concerns Commission

The Social Concerns Commission reminds us that the word "church" comes from the Greek work "ekklesia" meaning "call out". "As a Christian community we are people who together are called out of our familiar places to unknown territories, out of our ordinary and proper places to places where people hurt and where we can experience healing" (From the book: Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life). Although this would seem to indicate leaving your home, it is not necessary to do so. It does require you though, to step outside yourself to put on another's needs before your own and to actively respond to those needs in sacrifice and thanksgiving for all the blessings God had given you. Looking for a quick guide to the ministries and activities of our Social Concerns Commission? We have one for you!

 

  • Mike Schneider, Chairman, Turn on JavaScript!

 

 


 

Bereavement Ministry

The Bereavement Ministry is a ministry of consolation consisting of: the Funeral Luncheon Program, the New Life Choir, as well as, reaching out with a letter of consolation for those in our parish community who have experienced loss through death. Members also help to plan the Mass of Rememberance held on/near All Souls' Day. Referrals to various support groups are available upon request.

 

  • Rosanne Radziewicz, 440.238.9477

El Salvador Sister Parish, San José Villanueva

In 2004, our parish entered into a partnership with San José Villanueva in El Salvador. This partnership is primarily a spiritual joining of two equal parishes praying for each other and learning from each other. St. Joseph parishioners are invited to join in solidarity with the people of San José in any of the following ways: become a Prayer partner with a San José family; become an Education partner by sponsoring a child in grade school, high school, or university; become part of the planning committee to assist with promotion and development of the partnership; or visit San José as part of a parish group. More details are available by clicking on the title of our partnership.

  • John Novak, 440-228-0592, Turn on JavaScript!

Emmaus Walker

Aware that calls for assistance come into the Parish Office daily, our Social Concerns Commission is exploring the beginning of a new database. While our parish staff handles as many calls as they can for over thirty years, the calls that request temporary, emergency assistance in terms of food, shelter, clothing, and/or safety are referred to the Ministry of Assistance (MOA) to handle. Those calls require immediate attention and are the primary mission of MOA. Its members handling these calls are experienced and trained to respond appropriately in such cases. Other calls, however, are requests for help in a certain situation. Frequently, but not always, the staff contacts Ministry of Assistance to determine how St. Joseph’s Church can best assist in the situation. Help for these requests is where our Social Concerns Commission sees the need for a Social Concerns database and this ministry. You may return this Sharing our Gifts Form as a way of indicating your gifts for inclusion withing this database.


Examples from the past are:

  • Someone has furniture or appliances they would like to donate.  If MOA has a client in need of that specific item, they need people who have a truck or trailer and the strength to pick-up the item and deliver it at a mutually convenient time.
  • Someone with a pet is scheduled for surgery, or recovering from surgery, and needs someone to care for their pet until they are able to take over the care.
  • Someone is in need of assistance in grocery shopping, household repairs or yardwork due to unforeseen circumstances. Assistance is needed until permanent arrangements can be made.


When calls such as these come in, the office staff will be able to contact the database administrator who would send out a request for assistance. Another purpose for this database would be to keep you informed of ministry opportunities as they are planned.  For example, a request may come from the committee that plans, promotes and implements the Soul Race to line up some volunteers to help throughout the day. Proceeds from this race help to support a number of our Social Concern ministries.  Or a Westside Catholic Center dinner service family got hit with the flu, and a last minute substitution is needed to make sure that the dinner can be served as promised and scheduled.

Lastly, we would like to continue to build on this database by requesting and recording any specific skills or experience you might be willing to offer.  Examples of need may include:

  • Technical expertise to help us create and maintain this working database and the Social Concerns presence on the church website.   
  • Willingness to help a needy parishioner with a plumbing leak as he/she cannot afford to hire someone. 
  • Willingness to assist parishioners who are physically and financially unable to do their yardwork for a few weeks due to illness, surgery or accident, or in the spring and fall due to the amount of work needed.
  • Willingness to advise a family struggling with mounting financial burdens as a result of a job loss, divorce or death of a spouse. Financial options, advice on scaling back expenses, budgeting, sorting out bills, prioritizing payments, and next steps are all needed.
  • Giftedness in artistry that can help us create a logo for a new ministry or create a display for a workshop.

 

One of the most beautiful passages in the Bible is the story from Luke 24 – The Walk to Emmaus. After the death of Jesus and finding his body missing from the tomb, the disciples were on their way to Emmaus.  They were heartbroken, confused, and lost.  Jesus appeared to them and walked with them for a while.  Somehow they didn’t recognize him until they sat down to eat and he broke and blessed the bread.  It was then that they knew who he was and that he was truly risen.

 

The commitment to walk with someone through a difficult time is one of the calls of discipleship.  For this reason we would like to ask if you would become part of this database and an Emmaus Walker with us. You may return this Sharing our Gifts Form as a way of indicating your gifts for inclusion withing this database.

 

  • Tom MillerTurn on JavaScript!

 

    Fair Trade

    Our parish is proud to host a Fair Trade Shopping Boutique every year, usually in the month of November. It is held in our Holy Family Center and is open to the public. So, please invite your family and friends to shop and to learn more about this. Supporting fair trade means supporting the artisans and small farmers who produce such wonderful products in economically and environmentally sound ways.

     

    What is Fair Trade?

    The Fair Trade Resource Network provides a succinct explanation of what “fair” means:  “The word ‘fair’ can mean a lot of different things to different people. In alternative trade organizations, ‘Fair Trade’ is about more than just paying a fair wage. It means that trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect; that prices paid to producers reflect the work they do; that workers have the right to organize; that national health, safety, and wage laws are enforced; and that products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources.” This reinforces the idea that Fair Trade is about justice.

     

    Is this more than simply supporting a charity?

    Better than the “haves” giving to the “have-nots” tone that much charity takes on, fair trade transactions offer positions of respect and appreciation to both the producer and the consumer. Most of the time when we make a purchase, we know nothing of the people who made the item. Fair trade purchases often offer us a bit of education about the artisan and a peek into the life of the worker who made the item. The economic act brings producer and consumer closer together.

     

    Who are some of the vendors that I might find at the Fair Trade Boutique?

    Please visit this PDF for information and links to some of our previous vendors.

     

    • Shelley Mack, 440.243.2203

     

    Feeding Our Family

    On the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of each month four to eight parish members travel to Our Family Center, a storefront in East Cleveland, to provide a nourishing, hot meal to 50 - 70 men, women and children. A cooking team, of four to six parishioners, plan and prepare the meal in the church kitchen, in advance for the serving team. The serving team, of four to eight parishioners, meets at church at 2:30pm and returns at approximately 5:45pm. Volunteers can participate throughout the year. If you'd like to sign up, please use this link to use Sign up Genius.

    • Allen Weaver, 440.667-5094, Turn on JavaScript!

     



    GoodNews People

    Groups are beginning to assemble for Fall 2015! 
    Want to join us? Register here!

    GoodNews People is a dynamic parish-wide program that offers a way to explore the call of the New Evangelization. Through an engaging small-group process of prayer, reflection, and action, GoodNews People explores and deepens our call to discipleship. Each of the fourteen sessions includes prayer, reflection on Sacred Scripture, inspiring stories of “good news people,” focus on a virtue of the week, and woven through it all, opportunities for sharing in dialogue.

     

    Program Goals:

    • To engage participants in their Catholic FAITH as they share in prayer, reading of Sacred Scripture, spiritual practices, and dialogue;
    • To communicate HOPE as participants explore the possibilities that a faithful commitment to the gospel call to be “good news to the poor” can bring;
    • To open hearts to a greater LOVE by encountering the biblical witness of Jesus in the Gospels and that of everyday people who have chosen the path of love as they respond to Luke 4:18-19.

     

    GoodNews People includes:

    • 14 small group sessions (2 seasons of 7 sessions)
    • 2 hour sessions
    • Parish-wide program Kick-off and Closing Celebrations
    • Immersion Experience and follow-up

     

    You will meet other parishioners and experience a greater sense of purpose and belonging. You will learn how to be a disciple in today's world. You can join a group or create your own!

     

    • Kathy McConnaughy, 440.238.6390, Turn on JavaScript!

     

      Habitat for Humanity: Apostles Build

      Register here to volunteer!

      When signing-up, while you'll need to provide your name and email, you do not have to setup an account.

      Site workers should also scroll down (now) for Volunteer Information and Release Forms!


      2017 Apostle's Build Pictures

      For our third year, we're excited in 2017 to be a part of an interfaith endeavor! We'll be joining together with the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity as a part of their Apostles' Build initative. This is a collaboration between churches of different faith traditions in rehabbing homes in our region. Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity is providing their leadership and coordination for this project.

       

      A message from one of the soon-to-homeowners for everyone “Thank you so much for all your time. Your help is not in vain.  I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to have all this help. God bless everyone.” She also shared that she is looking forward to knowing that this is her home and to have a sense of stability. Toni has been learning a lot about home construction and finds this to be an awesome opportunity. When asked what her favorite project has been so far, she stated, “I liked doing the roof of the garage. It was the hardest I ever worked in my life but it felt really good. I also liked doing the front porch on the house down the street.”  She considers herself to be a lucky family and wants you to know that all her children are very excited about their new home. 

       

      We've signed-up for three days of work again this year. In addition, we're inviting others to be prayer partners during the work days. All of these opportunities are available for sign-up through the link at the top of the page. Those who are working, on-site, need to be at least 16 years of age. If you're between 16-18, you'll need to be accompanied by a parent. All volunteers need to complete the waiver that is available below. We hope that you'll consider joining us as there's an opportunity for everyone to get involved in one of these ways! For more information, please see the contacts below:

       

      General Information about Habitat and the the Apostles Build

      What is the Apostles' Build Initiative?

       

      Forms and Information for Site Workers

      Habitat's Required Waiver (Release) Form for All Volunteers
      2017 Volunter Information

       
      Past Years' Information
      Habitat's 2016 Pictures
      Habitat's 2015 Pictures

       

      • Fr. Joe Mamich, 440.238.5555, Turn on JavaScript!
      • Kathy McConnaughy, 216.215.5859, Turn on JavaScript!

        Meals at Westside Catholic Center, Women’s Shelter

        Perfect opportunity for families and individuals who have limited time or just want to get an introduction to social concerns. Each session is just a few hours and most volunteers seve just a few times each year.
        On the first and fifth Saturday of each month, six to ten parish members travel to the Westside Catholic Center on the near-westside of Cleveland. They prepare and serve breakfast for 100 to 150 needy clients. A similar group of two to four parishioners prepares and serves dinner for up to 30 women and children on the first and third Sunday evenings at WSCC’s Women & Children Shelter. Volunteers can participate several times a year. Please see the attached schedule for the volunteer opportunities and let Tom know the dates you are interested in.

        • Tom Miller, 440.238.9439, Turn on JavaScript!Turn on JavaScript!

         

         

        Women's Shelter Dinner Procedures

         

        Westside Catholic Breakfast Procedures

         

        Dinner at Women's Shelter Schedule for 2016

         

        Breakfast at Westside Catholic Center Schedule for 2016

        Ministry of Assistance

        The Ministry of Assistance (MOA) works to provide temporary person-to-person assistance to St. Joseph Parishioners and Strongsville residents in need. It handles calls to the church office requesting material assistance due to unanticipated circumstances, such as food insecurity, housing issues, job loss and other unexpected events that temporarily strain a family's finances. These services may include providing emergency food or other resources as appropriate and/or providing referral information to agencies that handle such situations for the long term. MOA seeks members who desire to work with our clients to help address unexpected needs through the client visit process.

        Each MOA member is expected to commit to active participation in at least three of its several major activities. In addition to client visits, these activities include providing additional assistance to those in need in the Strongsville Community and the Greater Cleveland area through the collection, sorting and distribution of school supplies, blanket and linens, clothing, food, toiletries; volunteer work at one of the two SVDP Ozanam Centers MOA supports; and cooking and/or serving Hot Meals at Holy Name Parish three times a year as well as Catholic Workers more frequently. All MOA resources and financial support are generously donated by St. Jospeh parishioners as well as community businesses. In conjunction with many other churches, MOA strives to improve individual lives in its ervice area.

         

        • 440.238.5555, Turn on JavaScript!

        Mission of Hope

        A journey in discipleship, the Mission of Hope Ministry, seeks out and responds, in community, to need existing from either a natural disaster or poverty. Our work may include cleaning, building, replacing and/or rejuvenating homes and communities. The week-long trip provides an opportunity to learn and act on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. During our time together, we focus on building community, fellowship, faith sharing, Scripture, daily Mass and devotional periods, finding balance in life, and learning the joy in living more simply. We invite anyone, especially families wishing to serve together to join us. All are expected to participate in trip planning and fund raising activities. No experience is necessary - only an open heart and a willingness to learn and serve. Beginning in 2014, local service opportunities will be offered through Hands of Hope.

        • Kathy McConnaughy, 440.238.6390, Turn on JavaScript!

        Parish Service Day

        Sign up here: Summer 2018

        Required Release Form: All Volunteers

        Join us for our Fourth Annual Parish Service Day on Saturday, October 27, 2018. We hope to get parishioners of all ages to assist in making a difference in our local community. There are opportunities for people of all ages and skills to assist in our local community. Our day begins with a short prayer and gathering at 8am, work shifts from 8:30am-12:30pm, 12:30pm-4:30pm, or all day. There is bound to be something that would interest you. Families and people of all ages are invited to participate!



        Service Day 2017 Pictures

        Service Day 2016 Pictures

        See before-after pictures of some 2015 Projects

        • Parish Office, 440.238.5555

        Respect Life

        Promoting respect for the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death. Our purpose is to help members of our parish live in accord with the truths about human life made known to us through natural law, human reason, and our Catholic faith. Committee members are involved in planning and executing activities which are intended to educate and engage all parishioners in building a culture of life beginning in our families and extending into the community. Activities include: the January Mass for Life, First Friday Rosary for Life, bi-annual Baby Bottle Collection, and legislative and community action against the death penalty, abortion, assisted suicide, and other direct threats to human life. Sign up to provide leadership, contribute new ideas and plan activities or to join us for 40 Days for Life each spring and fall to pray, fast, and keep vigil at a local abortion facility.

        • Patsy Brodie, 440.237.2239, Turn on JavaScript!

        Sharing Tree

        Our Annual Sharing Tree goes up each year in mid November. Tags are put on the trees from various groups and individuals that need assistance at Christmas time. The focus of the tree has been shifting to helping out people in the Strongsville area. The food bank clients receive many gifts from our generous parishioners. The Sharing Tree is run completely on the kindness of the parishioners. The tags are taken and then then gifts are brought back wrapped. The gifts are then sorted and delivered to the many organizations in need. This is a great service project for individuals as well as families.

         

        • Parish Office, 440.238.5555