New Parish Ministry Grows Out of ARISE
In the fall of 2011, parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston completed the three-year ARISE Together in Christ process of spiritual renewal and evangelization. The theme of the third season of ARISE is walking "in the footsteps of Christ" to move faith to action through acts of charity and justice.
The Milton Catholic Collaborative is comprised of three parishes serving the people of Quincy and Milton, Massachusetts. The "Caring Circle," an outgrowth of the ARISE program, is a new ministry designed to connect those in need with those who are able to help.
Member Pat Kelleher shared with us how the Caring Circle came into being.
I loved the ARISE program and I coordinated it at St. Mary of the Hills Church in Milton. We had ten small groups with 8 to 10 participants in each.
Because of the focus on Social Justice, I did a presentation to our Parish Council about developing a parish program to enable local people to request assistance. Jim Burke,ARISE Coordinator at St. Agatha's in Milton, was doing the same thing in his parish and Mary Gallagher, the outreach coordinator for St. Agatha's, suggested I contact him. We met many times to strategize and brainstorm our ideas.
The result is the Caring Circle hotline which is available 24/7 to those in need. Each of our 8-member Core Team takes a week to answer the calls. We have a secure blog site that the team uses to discuss cases and get input from each other on how to best resolve them. The callers' identities are never revealed and strict confidentiality is maintained. Through Constant Contact, we email requests for help to our 135 volunteers. When someone is able to help, they respond. Our newsletter keeps everyone updated on new endeavors, as well as past success stories. For me, it has been extremely rewarding to be able to assist so many through the Caring Circle, and it has become a wonderful way for people to get involved and become an integral part of their community.