In 2006, Bishop Robert N. Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg began the Ministries of Mercy initiative to support and foster parish ministries that serve the poor, suffering, and marginalized. The initiative was modeled after the Corporal Works of Mercy; feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving drink to the thirsty, & burying the dead and was identified as a priority in the diocese.

Today, these ministries of mercy are very present in our parishes and communities across the diocese serving thousands who come to our doors seeking help. They have been integral to the life of the Catholic Church for centuries following Jesus’ example of reaching out to the poor. Their focus is on five areas where the need is the greatest: food & clothing, shelter, life, visitation, and health.

Food & Clothing Ministries: feed those who are hungry, collect food for food pantries, and deliver meals to the homebound.

Shelter Ministries: provide shelter to the homeless and people in challenging situations. They include any ministries that work with housing for any special population and utility shut-off, eviction and foreclosure notices.

Life Ministries: work to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death and organize for its protection, and to encourage and enable programs to meet the needs of pregnant women, children, persons with disabilities, those who are sick or dying, and all who have been involved in abortion, refugees, and immigrants.

Visitation Ministries: bring reconciliation, healing, and the love of God to prisoners, the homebound and to those in nursing homes.

Health Ministries: provide medical care to the underserved members of the community. They include parish nursing, people who work with clinics, and free medical clinics operated by Catholic Charities.

These ministries need your help to continue to support those who are struggling with life issues such as poor, sick, homeless, in jail, homebound, and hungry. To learn more about how you can help serve those in need, please contact the ministries linked to above.