Despite the many hurdles and challenges we faced in 2020, the generosity and charity of St. Mary Mokena parishioners shined as brightly as ever.
Our generous parishioners donated roughly $90,000 to St. Mary last year for various charitable causes. That amount includes things like Baby Bottles for Life, the Lighthouse Books available in the narthex, and direct donations earmarked for those in need.
“I am extremely grateful for the generous hearts of our parishioners!” says Father Dindo Billote, pastor of St. Mary. “By donating, they are performing the Corporal Acts of Mercy and enabling St. Mary to be a beacon of support to those most in need in our community.”
Below are three examples that shine a light on the abundant generosity of our fellow parishioners. Any names used are pseudonyms to protect the privacy of the individual.
Feeding Body and Spirit
John had run into some financial difficulties while caring for his parents, who were sick with Covid. St. Mary was able to help him purchase some much-needed meals. Besides feeding his body, John was also looking to feed his spirit by reading the Bible, but he had trouble understanding it.
Fortunately, St. Mary was able to connect him with a parishioner volunteer who used to be a prison minister. This volunteer now visits John regularly to help him read and understand the Word of God.
Christmas Gift Drive
Each year, St. Mary holds a Christmas gift drive where parishioners pick tags off a tree in the narthex with Christmas gift wishes from those in need. This year, every tag (around 700 tags) was taken, and each request was met.
It just so happened that, after the gift drive, one parishioner was organizing her own charity event and asked if there were any overflow gifts. Miraculously, the very next day another parishioner, who had not had a chance to grab a tag, left gifts in the narthex anyway with the hope that someone in need could still receive them. The parish was able to give those gifts to the woman who had been collecting donations the previous day. The timing was perfect!
One local woman was barely making it. Her daughter had passed away, and she was caring for her grandchildren. The woman was struggling to work and raise her grandchildren, all while grieving the loss of her daughter. Thanks to parishioner donations, St. Mary has been able to provide this woman with much-needed financial and bereavement support.
There are many ways that you, too, can help those in need through St. Mary. You can put money directly into the poor box, mail a check to the parish and write “needy” on the memo line to designate it for charity, or even stop by the parish office to donate. There is also a box outside door #3 in the circle drive where people can leave donations
The parish would like to express thanks and gratitude to all those who donated and who will donate in the future. You are truly living out your faith by doing so.