Human Concerns

 Contact Rebecca Oxenreider, Minister of Human Concerns, Social Justice and Community Life

BeFriender Ministry

BeFriender ministry is a lay, pastoral care program. BeFriender ministers are trained in communication skills, faith sharing and ministry reflection. BeFriender ministers enter into caring relationships with others in times of special need, such as grief and loss, by visiting them, being with them, and bringing emotional and spiritual support. Commitment: A training period and time spent with the BeFriended.


Each year we open our parish hall to shelter 30-40 homeless people. During that time, we offer dinner, lunch, breakfast, hospitality and a warm place to sleep. Volunteers are needed for each aspect of the program and to serve on the core planning team. Always watch the bulletin for information and signup.

Children Helping Children

This is an opportunity for children at St. Mary's to reach out to other children. During the Advent season, Christmas gifts are collected and sent to children in our diocese where the needs are great. Commitment: 2-3 weeks in Advent - Watch the bulletin for information.

Clothing Collection

Parishioners donate clothing. The clothing is then sorted and delivered to charitable organizations such as: Our Lady of Lourdes Clothes Closet; Refugee and Immigration Services; Freedom House. We are in need of sorters and delivery people. Commitment: once a month on a rotating basis.

Door Ministry - St. Peter's

On the 3rd Tuesday of each month, a group of parishioners prepare and serve lunch to at least 200 homeless people at St. Peter's, a downtown Catholic Church. Four "chefs" plan, shop for, and prepare the main course. The dessert team prepares a dessert specialty. We can always use dessert makers. Commitment: one day per month or a dessert.

Endowment Fund

St. Mary's is blessed with an endowment used to fund our outreach to the poor and to those working to promote justice in our society. Parishioners are invited to submit suggestions of groups to be funded as well as to support the fund through financial contributions. Watch the bulletin for information.

ESL (English as a Second Language) Tutors

Each summer in conjunction with Diocesan Refugee and Immigration Services, we offer English and Citizenship classes. The classes are offered two evenings per week for six weeks. Training is provided. Development of English language skills will enable refugees and immigrants to become economically and socially self-sufficient. Commitment: six weeks beginning at the end of June through early August. Watch our bulletin for details.

Freedom House - First Tuesday

We serve the evening meal, wash dishes, pots and pans, and clean the dining room and kitchen. Dinner is served from 5-6:15pm and volunteers are needed each month. Commitment: one evening per month.

Freedom House - Second Saturday

Volunteers prepare and deliver a meal for 200 guests at Freedom House, a downtown shelter for the homeless. Volunteers rotate, serving every month on the 2nd Saturday. Commitment: one Saturday each month.


Help in Emergencies and Long-term Planning is a collaborative effort of Richmond area parishes and Commonwealth Catholic Charities to respond to people in financial crisis. Volunteers are needed to assist with telephones, intake, food pantry, and follow up. Training is provided. Time commitment is flexible.

Haiti Committee

At the invitation of our diocese, we have established a twinning relationship with a parish in rural Los Palis, Haiti. Through this relationship, we try to foster visits, letters, as well as respond to requests for assistance, as we seek to stand in solidarity with our Haitian sisters and brothers. Commitment: One meeting per month plus activities. Visit our Haiti web page.

Hispanic Ministry

We invite all Spanish speaking people to join in reaching out to Hispanic people throughout our community. This ministry seeks to host bilingual liturgical and social gatherings, offering educational opportunities, and seeking to empower people through our involvement with the Diocesan Hispanic Commission. Commitment: Flexible.

Human Concerns Committee

This group coordinates the outreach and advocacy efforts of our parish community. The group meets monthly to assess the various programs, plan parish-wide special events; such as educational activities and Christmas projects, and vision ways to lead the community in the ART (Act, Reflect, Transform) of justice and peace. Commitment: one evening per month plus involvement in direct service or advocacy as your schedule permits.

Human Concerns Food Pantry

We stock non-perishable food, cleaning items, and paper products to serve those in the parish and locally who have need. Commitment: assist in stocking shelves and keeping inventory. Volunteer time is flexible.

Human Concerns Steering Committee

Formed to set the vision and direction of Human Concerns and Social Justice Ministry based on the Gospel and Catholic Social Teachings. Commitment: Bimonthly planning gatherings and a willingness to vision for the future.


A conversion based formation process that seeks to provide a context in which participants grow in their commitment to the vulnerable and become advocates for justice. JustFaith consists of weekly meetings, and employs books, videos, discussion, prayer, retreats, and hands-on experiences. Commitment: Thirty weeks.


A conversion based formation process similar to JustFaith, completed in less time. Commitment: nine weeks.

Job Assistance Ministry

Seeks to provide unemployed parishioners with the names and telephone numbers of people who have information regarding job opportunities, to develop interviewing skills, and assist in resume writing so that those seeking employment may find suitable jobs. Commitment: Flexible.

Legislative Advocacy

All of our outreach and hands-on ministries help to temporarily assist low income families and individuals. However, unless laws change, many problems affecting the most vulnerable members of society will not be addressed. We are invited to be a voice for the voiceless all year, but especially in January and February when the legislature is in session. Join our advocacy group. Commitment: Flexible.

Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

Opening hearts, minds and doors, this ministry seeks to create a more inclusive and welcoming community, offering all people the same respect and opportunity to serve in Liturgy, Worship, and the social life of the parish. Commitment: committee meetings as needed and time devoted to creating an inclusive environment.

Parish Clinic

Our free health clinic is available each month to assist those underserved or without healthcare in our community. We need healthcare professionals, people with bilingual skills, and people to be on site during the clinic hours to assist with building needs. Commitment: Flexible.

Parish Nurse Ministry

Parish Nurse Ministry is open to parish health professionals who are aware of the vital link between body, mind and spirit. This ministry does not provide hands-on care, but rather counsels and educates on health related issues, refers individuals to appropriate community resources, and is available to discuss individual health needs regarding wellness, prevention and illness. For information about participating in this ministry or to request services, you may contact on of the coordinators at 804-740-4044, extension 25 or by email at [email protected].  Visit the Parish Nurse Webpage.

Prison Ministry

We serve the James River Correctional Center - a prison facility for men in Goochland County. Liturgy is celebrated there monthly. A group of parishioners celebrate Liturgy and facilitate Scripture study. Commitment: 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings each month.

We serve the men at James River Work Center on the campus of JRCC. We provide Liturgy, prayer and study. Commitment: one Tuesday evening each month.

We serve the Virginia Correctional Center for Women - a prison facility in Goochland County. We visit each Saturday for Liturgy, prayer and sharing. Scripture study takes place the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings. Commitment: one Saturday morning each month and/or Tuesday evening Scripture study.

We serve at Central Virginia Correctional Unit for Women in Chesterfield County the third Saturday each month. We offer Liturgy, prayer and educational opportunities to the women. Commitment: one Saturday each month.

We serve on a regional team at Henrico Jails - East and West, providing visits and Scripture reflection. Commitment: Tuesdays, on a rotating basis; 2-3 hours.

RCIA in Prison - We offer an RCIA experience for those women incarcerated at VCCW who wish to learn more about the Catholic faith and journey toward full communion with the Church. Training is provided and a team approach is used. Commitment: Training, plus one to two Monday evenings each month.

Meals on Wheels

Volunteers deliver nutritious meals and good cheer to the homebound and elderly. St. Mary's parishioners cover six routes on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Commitment: once a month for two hours or as substitutes when needed.


St. Mary's participates in the three-pronged diocesan TARGET program.

Catholic Campaign for Human Development - founded to uproot poverty, CCHD occurs in November and funds low income, self-help efforts in the United States.
Respect Life - supports services to pregnant women, education programs, and advocacy for public policies that protect all human life.
Operation Rice Bowl - a Lenten program of prayer, fasting, learning, and giving - serving global development projects and local anti-hunger efforts.
Commitment: 1-2 months around each TARGET area.

Refugee and Immigration

The diocesan program has been assisting refugees and immigrants for many years. Groups of parishioners join together to be be a friend, assist with housing, transportation, tutoring, shopping, etc. The need is constant. Commitment: 6 months - 1 year.


St. Mary's needs individuals to provide rides for those without transportation to church and/or doctor's appointments. Commitment: flexible according to each volunteer's schedule.

What's Mine Is Yours

The 1st and 3rd weekends of each month we collect donations of food to distribute to various locations in Richmond, as well as to our own food pantry. Commitment: once or twice monthly, sorting and delivering food.