Photo courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

FARMINGTON — From providing nourishment to those in need of food to offering warmth in the cold winter months, St. Joseph Parish in Farmington and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay are able to better the lives of community members thanks to new parish social ministry endowments with the Catholic Foundation of Maine.

Established in 2003, the CFM utilizes endowment funds to benefit churches, parish programs, schools, social justice initiatives, vocations, and many other ministries across Maine. The foundation manages the funds to ensure the long-term viability of the endowments so that the charitable wishes of the donors are carried out.

Since March of 2020, the endowments have helped the two parishes carry out their call to serve. A “giving spirit” has always guided the lives and benevolent actions of parishioners, but the endowments have made it easier to translate that spirit into tangible assistance through warming centers, hot meals in parish halls, and food pantries in greater demand due to the pandemic.

“St. Rose of Lima also recently opened a thrift store, which offers used household goods and clothing at low prices,” said Fr. Paul Dumais, pastor of both parishes. “The money raised at the store supports other parish social ministries.”

In addition, St. Joseph Parish recently expanded the St. Joseph Nutrition Center, which offers classes on cooking, food budgeting, and other important topics, in addition to its ongoing food distribution efforts.

“As we continue to pivot and make our projects more sustainable, we are excited to see the endowments grow through the continued generosity of those in the community,” said Fr. Dumais. “The endowments will sustain our efforts to help those in need for years to come.”

And as parishioners continue to offer help to the ministries in any way that they can, including volunteers like Ruth Gauvin and Helena Maguire, who help prepare the food and organize the shelves at St. Joseph, the endowments provide a new option for those who wish to offer support financially. 

“These are the first endowments dedicated to parish social ministry that have been opened with the Catholic Foundation of Maine, but they are a wonderful example of how important it is to support ministries of the Catholic faith forever,” said Elizabeth Badger, executive director of CFM.

If you would like to help the cause by volunteering or giving a gift, please contact Fr. Dumais at 207-778-2778 or Elizabeth Badger at 207-321-7820. For more information, visit the foundation’s website at www.catholicfoundationmaine.org.