St. John Vianney Church, home to a large and devout Vietnamese congregation, has been quietly doing a great deal of good in the community.
Parishioners distribute about 300 baskets of food each week with the help of Dare to Care. And the parish provides space on its campus for an outreach program called Sitio Clothing Ministry.
Most recently, the parish provided two acres of its land in South Louisville for refugees, immigrants and others in the community to grow their own produce.
As reporter Jessica Able noted in a story on page one this week, the parish’s two acres is being divided into 133 individual plots. Refugees from Bhutan, Bosnia, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nepal, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan as well as other members of the community, will be able to grow vegetables and flowers there. The garden is a collaboration between the parish, the adjacent Americana Community Center and Catholic Charities of Louisville.
Father Anthony Chinh Ngo, pastor of St. John Vianney, said he wanted the parish’s land to be used for the good of the community. And so it shall.
The new leader of Catholic Charities used the same phrase to describe her own active service on local non-profit boards. The boards are a way, she said, to “do some good in the community.” She expressed it that way in an interview with The Record last week.
It’s a simple and straightforward way to look at service and the works of mercy, which we can sometimes overthink and thereby paralyze our good intentions.
How much better off would we all be if we each made a priority to simply do some good in the community?
Many of us do this in small ways already. Some even do it in big ways. If you wonder how you might do some good, check The Record regularly, you may run across something that sounds right for you.
In this week’s paper, for instance, you’ll see that the Archdiocese of Louisville’s ministry to people in hospitals — the BeFriender Ministry — is seeking volunteers.
If you want to ease into it, next week is Metro Louisville’s annual Give A Day week of service. The April 15-23 event is a sort of volunteer blitz. Agencies have posted volunteer opportunities on a website — all you have to do is scroll through the list and pick one. The website is mygiveaday.com.
Catholic Charities has a perennial need for volunteers, and a volunteer coordinator — Janet Millen — can help you find a good fit. Volunteers are needed for a range of work — from helping refugees learn English to answering the phone.
In the midst of the jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, Pope Francis called for “concrete signs of mercy.”
In that vein, Pope Francis added another act of mercy to his long list early this week: He opened a laundromat, a free service “offered to the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets,” the Papal Almoner’s Office announced April 10.
Opportunities to serve one another and the least of our brothers and sisters abound here in the Archdiocese of Louisville. As we come to Holy Week and the end of the penitential season, may we look forward to spring and summer with a fresh start, ripe for living the Gospel’s call to service.