As Catholics, we are called to imitate Jesus’ compassionate love, service, and sacrifice. One way we imitate Christ is through our actions, actions which are informed by the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. These virtues are expressed in what Catholic teaching refers to as the Works of Mercy.
There are fourteen Works of Mercy, divided into two categories:
• Corporal Works of Mercy: Meeting the physical needs of the person.
• Spiritual Works of Mercy: Addressing the needs of a person’s soul.
Rather than creating onerous demands on our lives, taking daily action in one or more of the Works of Mercy is a significant way of living our lives of faith as Catholics. Join us as we live out our faith and impact our community.
Opportunities for Works of Mercy
At Our Lady of Grace, our ministries and organizations provide opportunities for our parishioners to engage in meaningful action, enjoy fellowship with one another, and purposefully live out the call to “love our neighbor” through the fourteen Works of Mercy. While the following ministry listing at Our Lady of Grace Church is by no means an exhaustive inventory, we hope it will provide a useful path for engaging in the Works of Mercy by serving Christ in Castro Valley.
“In this life we cannot always do great things but we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Theresa
Assist priests at liturgical services, especially the Mass. Open to Boys and Girls in 5th – 12th Grade. Weekend Masses and Monday school liturgies. Training provided.
The ministry of altar care consists of weekly care of the Altar and Sacristy, washing of altar cloths, care of holy water fonts, plants, flower bouquets and vestments.
Parishioners arrange the flowers for the altar weekly.
ART & ENVIRONMENT
The Art & Environment Committee is comprised of parishioners who are responsible for enhancing the church with seasonal decorations according to the Liturgical Seasons of the Catholic Church.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion distribute Holy Eucharist at Mass. Assignments are made on a rotating basis based on individual availability and mass preference.
Lectors are men and women who proclaim the first and second scripture readings at mass. All lectors receive one-on-one training and are provided a lector workbook to assist in background and points to be emphasized in each reading. Assignments are made on a rotating basis based on individual availability and mass preference.
CHOIR – (open to ages 18 and up) provides music at the Sunday 11:30 AM Mass. Rehearsals are Thursdays at 7:30 PM. Cantors from the choir sing Saturdays at 5:00 PM mass and Sunday at 7:30 AM.
FOLK GROUP – A group of musicians who minister to the parish weekly year round with contemporary Catholic music at the 9:30 AM mass. (Music knowledge required.) Weekly rehearsals.
5:00 ENSEMBLE – A group of musicians who minister to the parish monthly year round with contemporary Catholic music at the 5:00 PM mass – typically, the fourth Saturday of the month although this is subject to change. (Music knowledge required.) Rehearsals are scheduled in the afternoon prior to the scheduled mass.
Sacristans prepare the worship space for the celebration. This includes setting up the sacred vessels, ciborium and hosts. After the liturgy, the sacristan will help to clean up and leave the sacristy in good order for the next group of ministers that will come in for the following liturgy. Typically, 5:00 pm mass sets for 7:30 am. 9:30 am mass sets for 11:30 am mass.
Ushers are parishioners who assist with taking up the collection at weekend masses and who are available for distributing bulletins, special seating needs and emergencies.
“Love God, serve God; everything is in that.” – St. Clare of Assisi
FESCO is the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition, a non-profit organization that is a coalition of churches providing shelter and services to families with children who find themselves homeless. Les Marquis is a 22 bed emergency shelter that houses up to eight families – both male and female. Banyan House provides transitional housing for five to ten months. Services include counseling, case management and assistance with resources to sustain permanent housing. One member from each church sits on the FESCO Board and also as a liaison with the church in terms of communicating about FESCO’s work and needs and coordinating parishioner assistance with same.
Members provide hospitality after parish funerals by providing a meal in a pleasant setting for family members and friends of the deceased. Many parishioners show a spirit of Christian stewardship by providing food, sharing their time and talent for the reception.
PASTORAL CARE TO THE SICK
Pastoral Care to the sick enables elderly and ill parishioners to receive communion on a weekly bases. Each visit includes talking with the sick (some have no family to visit them), praying and giving them the Eucharist. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who can volunteer a couple of hours a week.
This group is dedicated to the Gospel values of peace and social justice in our community as well as in the world at large. Along with other activities, they organize movies nights and arrange for speakers on social justice themes and hang a “black drape” on the church door on days of scheduled executions. They participate in activities that support Bread for the World, FESCO, and the South Hayward parish and are affiliated with Pax Christi, USA, a Catholic peace organization.
A group of individuals crochet and knit shawls for the homebound and sick in our Parish community. As the shawls are made, prayers are said for whomever will ultimately receive them. Each recipient receives a prayer with the shawl that has been blessed by our pastor at a community mass. The shawls are labeled “Made Just for You -Our Lady of Grace Prayer Shawl Ministry”.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY
A Catholic lay organization that helps the poor and those in temporary need. Member parishioners visit them in their homes and bring not only food and financial assistance but hope, prayer and an understanding ear.
STROBRIDGE SENIOR MEALS
Volunteers serve a monthly community meal (the third Wednesday of the month) to the senior guests that live at the Strobridge affordable apartments that are located at 21000 Wilbeam Ave in Castro Valley. By providing this monthly community meal, the guests are able to join together with other residents and share a meal and conversation with their neighbors as well as members of Our Lady of Grace community. This has proven to be a very fulfilling and worthwhile evening for those who have prepared, served and visited with the residents during this monthly meal.
Typically 25-35 residents are served in their community room. As the kitchen is small, volunteers bring the food from individual homes – hot and ready to serve. Ordinarily 5 or 6 people each time are sufficient to do what is needed for this outreach.
Instructions to parents, godparents and families preparing to have infants and small children baptized. The ministry team shows a video and facilitates a discussion of the rite and ceremony.
Study of scripture through the eyes of our Catholic Faith using the Bible, Catechism of the Church, and other supplemental materials. There are currently three study groups:
Tuesday AM – open to all 18 years or older
Men’s – Tuesday Evenings – from 7:00-8:00 pm
Women’s Evening – meets every other Monday, September-May, 7:00-8:30 pm
CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD
This program gathers children, ages 3-11, during the 9:30 AM mass for age appropriate presentations on the Sunday gospel. The group leaves after the opening prayer and returns during the offertory.
Held twice a year on a 3 day weekend at Holy Redeemer in Oakland, the Cursillo, a short course in Christianity, is for those who desire to deepen their spirituality respond to God’s calling in their lives. Its purpose is to make a Christian community possible in all neighborhoods, parishes, work situations and wherever 2 or more are gathered.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE GRUPO HISPANIC
Spanish Speaking Small Christian Community The Hispanic Community supports the faith development of our Spanish-speaking community through celebration of the Mass in Spanish, through prayer groups for youth and adults, and through community-building events.
Students in grades K-8 gather on specific Sundays to learn about and grow the faith, through scripture, doctrine, music, video and crafts. Volunteers are needed as catechists (teachers), catechist aides, class help, office help, event coordinators, communications.
Becoming Catholic is a sacred rite of passage. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a process of exploration, discovery and formation for adults desiring to become Catholic. The ministry nurtures inquirers through the formative stages of the Catholic faith, providing answers to questions and spiritual and religious education. The ministry offers opportunities in hospitality, teaching and being a sponsor.
Preparation for Baptism (children 7 & older, Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation (High School & Adult) Volunteers needed as team members, communication, office help.
RCIA for children and teens meet with the First Reconciliation and First Eucharist families one Sunday per month, six times per year.
High school confirmation meets once a month, Oct-May.
Adult confirmation meets weekly beginning in November.
SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES
Formerly known as Renew. Small groups meet once or twice monthly for prayer and fellowship—structure, meeting times and places are set by individual groups (usually Tuesdays).
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Each summer the parish offers VBS week beginning the last Monday of July. Volunteers lead groups of children through a variety of activities designed to help them learn more about God.
Volunteers are needed as activity coordinators, activity site helpers, family program coordinator, dinner coordinator, office help.
The Youth Ministry Program serves high school students, grades 9-12, helping them learn about and grow in faith. Students gather weekly from 6:00-8:00pm on Sundays. Volunteers are needed as team members, event coordinators, snack coordinator, communications, and chaperones.
COFFEE AND DONUTS
Parishioners are invited to Stack Center for coffee and donuts after the 9:30 AM Sunday liturgies. Different parish organizations volunteer to host this ministry each week. Three “teams” are needed – one after each mass.
COMMUNITY BUILDING FUNDRAISERS
Our parish plans several key fun events throughout the year that build community and act as critical fund-raisers for the Parish. These events are only possible through the kindness and dedication of those parishioners who step forward to chair and work the events. Volunteers are always needed.
Held in January or February each year. Requires event chair and/or co-chair, ticket chair, setup and cleanup crew volunteers, and servers.
Our biggest event – held the last weekend of September every year and featuring game and food booths, entertainment and a raffle. Requires event chair and/or co-chair, food booth chairs, game booth chairs, facility logistics chair, raffle chair, entertainment chair, security, setup and clean up crew and workers for all of the booths.
Held in May every year. Requires event chair and/or co-chair, auction item chair, server coordinator, setup and clean up crew.
CYO SPORTS PROGRAM
CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) sport programs for 2nd grade through Middle School employ healthy and enjoyable competition to promote the sharing of gospel values among athletes, parents, and coaches. Adults are needed as coaches, athletic directors, and board members.
These volunteers act as caring stewards of our gardens and grounds. They beautify the landscape with tasks that include weeding, watering, taking care of all rose trees and bushes, and planting seasonal flowers in planters when needed. Volunteers are always needed to help in any area of choice, from watering to weeding to planting with the level of involvement being completely up to the volunteer in this ministry.
ITALIAN CATHOLIC FEDERATION (ICF)
Founded in 1924, the ICF is a family-oriented non-profit fraternal organization dedicated to promoting activities that build faith and family and operates on the belief that we accomplish more together than we can alone. There are monthly dinners with a short meeting where they share their culture, heritage and religious beliefs. They also sponsor fundraisers that help provide education scholarships and support many charities such as research for Coulee’s Anemia. Meets 2nd Thursday of the month, 6:30 PM.
NEW PARISHIONER REGISTRATION
Members of our parish community meet with new parishioners and assist them in the process of formally becoming members of our faith community. This takes place in Stack Center following our 9:30 AM liturgy on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.
Our Office Volunteers provide a lunch break for the office staff by answering the phone and greeting guests during the hours of 1:00-2:00pm, Monday through Friday as well as monthly staff meetings. Additionally volunteers are needed to assist with mailings, phone calls or light office work.