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This article was published before the November 2022 election, but its material remains as relevant as ever in the wake of the passage of Proposal 3.

A culture of life is one that cherishes, defends and protects the most vulnerable from its earliest moments to its final minutes. Archbishop Vigneron reminded us this October that this cultural worldview can only come if we, “evangelists of the Gospel of Life,” look through “the widest possible lens because there is so much we are called upon to do to advance the respect for life.”

This means taking care of the most vulnerable — families, mothers, caretakers — with the help needed to make the choices that best sustain, support and dignify life. Archbishop Vigneron continued, “A culture of life is one where the poor are assisted, the sick are healed, and the vulnerable are protected. A culture of life is where our brothers and sisters are treated exactly as brothers and sisters, with the respect and dignity they deserve, as beloved sons and daughters of God … We have to redouble our efforts to provide assistance and resources to women and families across the region of the faithful to evangelize the Gospel of Life …” 

The city of Detroit is brimming with opportunities for the empathic heart to offer time, words, treasure and prayers to those in most need. Here are 16 ministries to consider ‘redoubling” your efforts with.

“The Vulnerable are Protected” 

  1. Mary’s Mantle in Southfield, Michigan reveals the deep concern the local Church has for vulnerable mothers and their children. A Catholic maternity home for homeless expectant women, Mary’s Mantle has been in operation since 2010. Inspiration for Mary’s Mantle came from a sobering encounter that Beth Collison had with a Metro Detroit woman in dire circumstances. Without a place to call home and pressure from her then-boyfriend, the mother sadly aborted her child. The St. Anastasia parishioner soon afterwards secured a house, the support of her priest and substantial donors to jumpstart the maternity home. Since then, Mary’s Mantle has served over 90 pregnant women and their babies. Through a structured program of life skills, prayer and mentoring, the maternity home encourages these mothers to not just choose life for their children but to choose a better life for themselves. Learn more
  2. Heartbeat of Monroe a pregnancy resource center that has dedicated itself to supporting young families since 1973. Opening just two months after the fateful Roe v. Wade decision, Heartbeat has continuously provided a resource closet where mothers in the area can obtain diapers, formula, car seats and toddlers’ clothes free of charge. Heartbeat also offers newborn, toddler and comprehensive parenting classes to improve the bonds between parents and children. Last October, Monroe’s Knights of Columbus Council raised $35,000 in funds to purchase a new state-of-the-art ultrasound machine for the pregnancy center. This new technology has certainly assisted Heartbeat’s efforts to build up a culture that values life and motherhood in southeast Michigan. Join us

“The Sick are Healed” 

  1. In the shadow of the historic Most Holy Trinity Church in Corktown is another history-making institution: the St. Frances Cabrini Clinic. Opened in 1950 as America’s first free medical clinic, volunteer doctors and nurses have continuously served the unemployed and uninsured with first-rate health care. The Cabrini Clinic was the result of Fr. Clement Kern’s deep concern for the poor in southwest Detroit. As the pastor of Most Holy Trinity from 1943 to 1977, Fr. Kern knew that providing free physical help alongside spiritual aid would renew those residing in his parish boundaries body and soul. Today, the list of services the clinic offers is large and ever-growing. It includes prescription assistance, podiatry, optometry, dermatology, gynecology, pulmonology, infectious disease care, social services, dental care and mental health care. How you can help
  2. The opioid crisis has decimated southeast Michigan for the last couple of decades. In 2016 alone, Monroe County itself witnessed 59 overdose deaths. However, by 2019 that number was reduced to 39. The St. Joseph Center of Hope in Monroe is a major reason more lives are being saved. Operated by Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, this 24/7 crisis intervention center “provides a supervised, supportive setting for individuals with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.” Individuals suffering from a debilitating addiction or relapse can stabilize, have their immediate needs met, and get help finding a place for long- term recovery. Since opening in 2018, the facility has worked with more than 500 individuals seeking to throw off the throes of drug abuse. St. Joseph Center of Hope is more than just a place of hope for addicts, it’s a place that sees past their troubles and recognizes their inherent dignity as human beings. Work with us

“The Poor are Assisted”

  1. Just a couple of miles across the city is another Catholic ministry that devotes itself to caring for the poor and vulnerable. The Pope Francis Center in Detroit welcomes nearly 200 guests on an average day and gives them access to services that many take for granted: hot showers, laundry, meals and even legal services. The PFC’s next ambitious project is a Bridge Housing Campus, a 40-unit complex in the heart of the city that is meant to significantly reduce chronic homelessness. Construction began on the housing project this past spring. Volunteer
  2. The Macomb County’s Rotating Emergency Shelter (MCREST) is an organization composed of 70+ churches that help and advocate for the area’s homeless population. A new permanent residence in Mount Clemens was completed earlier this year for MCREST, allowing more constituency and stability for those who are struggling. Parishioners are hosts at the shelter for one week of the year and are responsible for providing meals and hospitality to their guests. Their stated goal is to “show compassion to those in need, to uphold the dignity, honor the diversity and respect the life of every individual in our community.” Learn more
  3. In the most northern reaches of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Grace & Action is striving to be “the hands & feet of Christ here in our corner of his world.” Unlike other parts of southeast Michigan, poverty is less concentrated in rural Lapeer County and much more difficult to identify. With this in mind, struggling Catholics and non-Catholics alike are encouraged to call into a local parish office. That’s when Grace & Action springs into action. Composed of members from Ss. Peter & Paul, St. Mary, Sacred Heart and St. Patrick Churches, this Family of Parishes team provides assistance in the form of gas cards, covering grocery costs and other types of individualized services that will help neighbors in need. Fittingly, Fr. Solanus Casey is the patron saint of this ministry group. Learn more

“Our brothers and sisters are treated exactly as brothers and sisters.”

  1. The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban government last August resulted directly in an international crisis of immense proportions. Close to 80,000 Afghans have fled their native country in hopes of finding a new home away from home. Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan took action quickly and jump-started its Refugee Resettlement Program last October. Since then, CCSEM has found permanent housing for several dozen Afghan refugees in the metro Detroit area. In addition, CCSEM and local Catholic parishes have been assisting these newcomers with everything from filling out immigration paperwork, applying for jobs, transporting them to the grocery store and even supplying them with donated kitchenware. Get involved
  2. La Casa Amiga is another ministry operated by Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan that takes its mission of “welcoming the stranger” seriously. From its office in Pontiac, La Casa Amiga provides many services that ease the transition for many Spanish-speaking immigrants that choose to reside in southeast Michigan. Those services include legal representation, financial counseling, GED coursework, summer camps for kids and much more. Learn more
  3. In 2010, Deacon Michael Chesley began what is now called the St. Vincent De Paul Justice Initiative. Deacon Mike and the SVDP JI team have been working continuously since then with the imprisoned and those recently released from prison. For the imprisoned, the team provides the Eucharist, Liturgy of the Word and personal prayer, although the pandemic challenged the administration of this spiritual aid. SVDP JI also devotes itself to assisting recent parolees in halfway houses. They provide the individual with underwear, socks, new shoes, winter coats and some hygiene items. Beyond these basic necessities, the team develops loving relationships  with those they serve. “I have so much love for them because especially when they come out of the jails and prisons, the world treats them as lepers,” Deacon Chesley recently told Detroit Catholic. Donate
  4. In 2018, St. Mary Catholic Central opened its doors wide in a creative and innovative way to serve those in the state of Michigan. Starting that year, the high school in Monroe created the St. Andre Bessette Open Door Inclusion Program, a unique endeavor to provide a Christ-centered education to every student, regardless of intellectual disability. Students in the Open Door Inclusion Program are paired with student peer mentors and attend approximately half of their classes with the regular student body. An individualized curriculum and the full support of SMCC’s staff ensure an appropriate though challenging curriculum for these students with disabilities. Beyond these appreciative students and their families, this Inclusion Program enables the average Catholic student at SMCC to learn important lessons about the dignity and value of every person despite their differences. About the program
  5. Mary’s Children Family Center is a unique community program located in Clawson where adults with brain injuries/intellectual and developmental disabilities participate in a structured program for six hours a day. Designed to enhance their quality of life, these individuals get to enjoy cooking classes, speech classes administered by Wayne State University and even spa days. Mary’s Children and its volunteers serve with the radical Christian belief that even the severely disabled “have the right to know God’s love from the people who nurture and care for them.” Get involved

“A call to reciprocity”

  1. St. Joseph’s Helpers is a brand-new Christian ministry geared toward helping the elderly and those with disabilities make repairs to the homes they live in. In doing so, this team from the Rockwood area hopes they can assist these individuals to remain at home and independent. All of St. Joseph’s Helpers are volunteers and currently operate solely on donations. This Catholic organization directly connects people in need to faithful workers that have the skills and expertise to complete each unique home project or repair. Join us
  2. Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan actually operates two Adult Day Centers, one on the campus of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Auburn Hills and another in St. Clair Shores at St. Lucy Catholic Church. Beginning in the early 1980s both locations have provided exceptional service and care for older adults in the community who feel isolated and forgotten. Participants, often suffering from dementia, get to enjoy a day of socializing, singing, stories and puzzles. Moreover, these Adult Day Centers enable devoted caregivers — often spouses, children or relatives of the elderly — to run errands, work or just provide a respite for a day. Volunteer
  3. Good Mourning Ministry is a bereavement apostolate that resulted from its founders’ trials and transformations within the grieving process. John and Sandy O’Shaughnessy, parishioners at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, both experienced the loss of their first spouses in difficult fashion. Ultimately through prayer and practical guidance, both were able to find deeper meaning in their personal losses. It is now their mission to be a faithful resource to those who are mourning and hoping for healing after the death of a loved one. Good Mourning Ministry travels the country, providing workshops in churches to give grieving individuals tools to transcend their sorrow. GMM is utilized now in over 100 parishes throughout North America. The ministry also created Grieving with Great Hope which is a video series on FORMED. A portion of their proceeds earned goes towards the Catholic Relief Services. Find a workshop
  4. Named after the man who buried Jesus, the St. Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Ministry at U of D Jesuit School in Detroit enables high school upperclassmen to participate in an important corporal work of mercy. Often, those who die in poverty have very meager funeral services if at all. Students at U of D Jesuit do what they can to dignify those who have passed away. Among the services they provide, juniors and seniors pray for the soul of the deceased and serve as pallbearers during the actual funerals. These funerals are frequently for former veterans and the homeless who live on the streets of Detroit. The school’s motto is “Men for Others.” Clearly, the students are embracing this call to minister to the marginalized, even in death. Learn more