“And he gave some…as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God..”
– Ephesians 4:11-13


“COVID-19 is acting as an accelerant for issues dioceses were already facing, like priest shortages and low parishioner engagement. Due to the financial implications of the pandemic, bishops are faced with the urgency of these questions now,” shares Deacon Steve Mitchell, Director of Parish Renewal for ACTS XXIX. 

ACTS XXIX is an apostolate founded in 2019 by Deacon Steve and Fr. John Riccardo. Its name conveys the truth that the same Holy Spirit who was at work in the life of the early Church is at work right now in our lives. In fact, ACTS XXIX believes and proclaims over and over again that each of us was born for this moment in history. Its ministry is eager to unleash the power of the gospel to equip ordained and lay leaders for the apostolic time in which we live. ACTS XXIX seeks to foster a greater capacity to hear God and execute God’s blueprint for parishes and dioceses, and reclaim the Church’s missionary identity. 

The Catholic Foundation recognizes that the work of ACTS XXIX is helping to meet the needs of parishes and dioceses now and for well into the future. The Foundation’s mission seeks to provide for the Church’s long-term needs and sustainability and we are proud to work with organizations, like ACTS XXIX, that share that goal.  

In 2019, a generous donor established a donor designated fund at the Catholic Foundation on behalf of ACTS XXIX. A designated fund is an advised fund whose beneficiary organization is specified by the donor(s) at the time of the gift. Income from the fund, and in some cases principal, is distributed in accordance with the instructions provided at the time of the gift. Beneficiary organizations can take financial support from the fund as it is needed. 

“Donors and ministries alike love donor designated funds because they are a donor-centered tool that benefit our beloved charities,” shares Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation. 

The primary focus of ACTS XXIX is priestly renewal, because the team sees the health of the presbyterate as fundamental for parish transformation. One of the ways that ACTS XXIX has prioritized this is by providing retreats and workshops around the country. In these, ACTS XXIX shares what they call the “three essential principles for parish transformation.” These principles are: reacquiring a biblical worldview, it’s not enough to be a staff, and God is the Architect. In the first year of their mission, they have ministered to and equipped over 600 priests.

“Priests are often tired, alone, and working at an unsustainable pace. Fr. John has been anointed to preach the gospel in a compelling way. When they hear it, these priests are renewed and recommit to their priesthood. It is a time of incredible healing for them and God moves in a powerful way,” shares Deacon Steve.  

In addition to ministering to and equipping priests, ACTS XXIX also provides an event aimed at the lay faithful in the pews. This event gives the laity an opportunity to hear the power of the gospel anew, personally respond to it, and be sent out as agents of re-creation in the world.  

The net effect of these events aims to make parishes places where the gospel is proclaimed in power, the lay faithful are equipped for mission, and non-members can find what our world is so desperate for: hope, goodness, beauty, unity, justice, truth  and more. “Churches are the only organizations that exist for the benefit of nonmembers. We want to help parishes become places of excellence and to welcome, or welcome back, new people,” shares Deacon Steve. 

“We are a very small team and God has flooded us with work. Our partnership with the Catholic Foundation means that we can be confident that the money given by our donors is stewarded well.”

In its second year of mission, ACTS XXIX is eager to work in a more concentrated way with some pastors, deacons and seminarians in the Archdiocese of Detroit to help equip them for the current era in which we live. 

The work that ACTS XXIX provides for dioceses is free, and the entire apostolate is donor-based. “What God has revealed to us through our experiences has been freely given, and freely we give it away,” Deacon Steve says. 

“We are a very small team and God has flooded us with work. Our partnership with the Catholic Foundation means that we can be confident that the money given by our donors is stewarded well. It is being invested in funds that uphold our Catholic tradition. It’s one less thing we have to focus on. In that way, the Foundation is an incredible partner.” All funds at the Catholic Foundation are invested in accordance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ guidelines for socially responsible investments.

For those who are interested in learning more about the mission and ministry of ACTS XXIX, Deacon Steve suggests visiting their website, actsxxix.org, and especially their new white paper titled Reimagining What a Catholic Parish Can Be: A Destination for the 21st Century (imaginethis.actsxxix.org). For those who wish to support ACTS XXIX’s efforts to unleash the gospel, the organization asks for both prayer and financial partners. We invite you to give today to the fund designated for its benefit.


Create a Donor Designated Fund for a Charity that You Love

In June, the Catholic Foundation presented two interactive virtual training webinars on grant writing, which were open to the public. Around 80 attendees from across Michigan gained valuable insight and tips for writing grant proposals of all types, with a special emphasis on the Catholic Foundation’s 2020 competitive grant process. In Zoom breakout rooms, participants had the opportunity to connect with one another and share questions and best practices.

The Catholic Foundation seeks to educate and build up our community through collaborative trainings and workshops. The granting workshops also provide an opportunity for the Foundation to listen to grant seekers and gain valuable insights on the critical work they do.

Read More

“A lot more people are praying and believing in God right now than did before the pandemic, and I’m one of them. I’m trying to find where I belong.” These words were shared recently by a guest of the St. Augustine St. Monica parish food pantry. A parish staff member had asked the guest if he had any prayer intentions or would like to pray together from a safe distance. This invitation led to a conversation about his search for meaning and for God, which has continued over the past several weeks. 

This guest is not alone in his search. Several others who live in the parish’s neighborhood were not ready to come to church due to the pandemic or for spiritual reasons. Yet they were seeking a safe, welcoming space to ask questions, connect with others, and get to know Jesus. St. Augustine St. Monica is meeting their needs by offering an outdoor, physically-distanced small group hosted by their evangelization team. The meetings allow for casual conversation, a brief Biblical teaching on questions such as “Why am I here? How can I find my purpose?” and discussion. 

The St. Augustine St. Monica Food Pantry has adapted during the pandemic and is meeting increased need.

St. Augustine St. Monica Catholic Church is a thriving multicultural parish in Detroit whose mission is to announce the Good News of Christ by developing their talents to respond to the needs of their parishioners and everyone within their boundaries. In 2019, the parish received a $5,000 grant from the Catholic Foundation for a neighborhood evangelization project. The project seeks to better equip parishioners to share the Gospel in their daily lives and in direct evangelization efforts in the community. The grant helps to fund the full-time staff person who leads these efforts, as well as parishioner training, printed evangelization materials, and the costs associated with hosting events that are “shallow entry points” for the community. 

St. Augustine St. Monica Parish’s food pantry is also a grantee of the Catholic Faithful Response Fund.

“Jesus is the light in the darkness. He is shining His light on people suffering during the pandemic, suffering due to minimal access to food, and suffering due to lack of community. As we gradually re-open, our evangelization efforts have continued in a safe way. This is one way St Augustine St Monica Parish continues the mission to make disciples of all nations, by meeting people where they are and providing for both bodily and spiritual needs,” shares Genevieve Kocourek, Evangelization Coordinator for the parish. During the pandemic, the parish has continued and creatively adapted their evangelization in the neighborhood, both virtually and in-person. 

“The evangelization program has increased the faith of participants through their encountering Jesus on mission, which gives them confidence in God who works through them to reach others. It has also increased the faith of the surrounding community. Some neighbors have encountered Jesus very powerfully when being prayed with or through having conversations with parish evangelists that allow them to reflect more deeply on the mysteries of God,” Kocourek continues. 

Parishioners and visiting summer seminarians, who come voluntarily, are trained to evangelize and can participate

An evangelization workshop that took place earlier this year.

in direct evangelization efforts such as home visits and follow-ups and evangelizing at a local liquor store. Their effort also includes hosting summer events such as ice cream socials and bi-weekly summer basketball afternoons, helping to make the parish grounds a center of recreation in the neighborhood. Some of the efforts continue this year in an adapted way.

The evangelization team also has a presence at parish events such as Jazz on the Lawn and Trunk or Treat. The team runs the Alpha Program, which has been moved to an online format during the pandemic.

St. Augustine St. Monica also received a $2,500 grant in 2019 to celebrate the parish’s Feast Days in August. The three-day celebration strengthens and grows the parish family through a revival with dynamic preachers and a jazz festival that draws in many people who are not part of the parish. Visitors are able to meet parish members, see the church, and talk or pray with members of the evangelization team. 

Alpha retreat provided online and and outside

“People who have entered the Catholic Church in this parish in recent years have stated one of their reasons as seeing the love of members of the community. We desire that the love of Jesus Christ, enfleshed in our parish, goes out in our evangelization efforts and transforms people’s lives,” Kocourek shares.

The Catholic Foundation is energized by the creative and persistent ways that St. Augustine St. Monica parish is enfleshing Christ’s love in the community. Help us to increase our granting in 2020 to projects that are unleashing the Gospel in impactful, dynamic ways.



Help us grant even more in 2020 for parish evangelization efforts

Above all, clothe yourself with love

and let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts.

– Colossians 3:9-17


As a community of faith, we grieve with all those who have experienced, because of racism, senseless acts of injustice that rob them of their human dignity.

We stand in solidarity and prayer with all those working to confront the sin of systemic racism that has caused so many tragic acts of violence towards our Black brothers and sisters and people of color. 

We support Pope Francis who said, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

We echo the words of Archbishop Vigneron, who names “we are living in the wounds of many years of injustice in our local communities.” As such, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan confirms our call to work for peace, solidarity and justice in our community. The Gospel calls us to clothe ourselves with this radical love.

As your Catholic Foundation of Michigan, we are actively discerning concrete ways we can confront the sin of systemic racism in our community. We look to you to help us in this vital work.

You are always in our prayers.


Download a PDF of this statement.

The Catholic Foundation is proud to partner with organizations that foster compassionate leadership and inspire Catholic philanthropy. We are especially proud of our partnership with Austin Catholic High School alumni who have created not one, but four scholarship endowments through the Catholic Foundation and have showcased the power of Catholic philanthropy.

Austin Catholic High School is a co-ed comprehensive college preparatory school serving young men and women of all faiths coming from northern Macomb County, Rochester, Algonac/Marine City area and St. Clair Shores. Opened in 2011, Austin strives to cultivate healthy and resourceful students for college and beyond. 

“Austin is special because of the strong sense of community and family atmosphere,” shares Janel Coppens, Head of School of Austin Catholic High School. “Our focus on inviting all to our table is rooted in the Augustinian pedagogy and our core values of Truth, Unity and Love. We are part of a network of Augustinian schools (including Villanova University), around the world,” she continues.

“At Austin we are about community, our school community and the community at large. We guide our students toward seeking the truth from self-awareness, academics, and seeing God in others. This is instrumental for our students to become compassionate leaders,” reflects Kelli Horton, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. 

Austin Catholic High School was a dream of many Catholic lay leaders in Macomb County since the early 1990s. In 2002 the Archdiocese of Detroit asked the Augustinians of the U.S. Midwest Province to sponsor and operate the new school. The Augustinians had founded and operated the original Austin Catholic Preparatory High School on Detroit’s east side from 1952 until it was closed in 1978. 

In 2017, a group of Austin Catholic Prep Detroit alumni that are involved with Austin Catholic High School wanted to recognize various members of their classes and make a gift to the new school, in recognition of the outstanding education they received from the Augustinian friars of their days. The Austin Catholic Prep Class of 1963 was the first to create a scholarship endowment through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. They challenged other alumni groups to match their gifts. Since then, three other endowment funds have been opened for Austin High School. 

“Our Board of Directors believes that a Catholic education should not be just for the elite and they work to provide opportunities for all,” shares Coppens. The four endowment funds held by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan help make this possible by providing tuition assistance for Austin Catholic High School students. 

The Augustinian Scholarship endowment was started with a gift from the Midwest Augustinians to support the future of Austin Catholic and more generations of students. Two other endowment funds were opened in memory of an Austin Prep alumnus who has died. The Gary Evatz Memorial Scholarship endowment was created in memory by his wife, to honor his legacy and support of Austin and how much he valued his Catholic  education.

The Sharon and Rick Pine Scholarship endowment was created in memory of Rick by his wife Sharon and alumni of the Class of ’63. Rick was a standout athlete for Austin Prep Detroit and had the distinction of breaking a record in basketball previously set by famed player Dave DeBusschere.

Before Rick’s untimely death 14 years ago at age 60, he had been very involved, alongside other alumni from the Class of ’63, in trying to open a new Austin High School.

Rick Pine in 1963.

“Rick was well-liked by everyone and was very committed to seeing the new high school open. His high school class really stuck together; their experience had been transformative and they wanted to make that possible for students today,” says Sharon Pine. “Catholic schools are so important for the moral formation of young people and I am grateful that this endowment is helping provide that opportunity,” she continues.

Endowments are permanent funds that hold their principal in perpetuity and are invested for a particular purpose, such as tuition assistance. The endowment fund grows and makes annual distributions that support a beloved school for generations to come. They are a meaningful way to leave a legacy. 

Austin Catholic High School has found the experience of working with the Foundation to be positive. “The Catholic Foundation has been helpful and supportive of Austin and our goals to build funds that will support our school and families well into the future,” shares Coppens.

For those who are interested in getting to know the school better, the staff and students invite you to visit. She says, “We are small but mighty. Our students, staff, and families agree there is nothing quite like an Austin education and the value speaks for itself. Come and experience the Austin Advantage.”

The Catholic Foundation is committed to ensuring the holistic formation of our Catholic school students as joyful missionary disciples, for now, and for generations to come. To join us and open up an endowment for a school that you love, click here.

Give now to one of the Austin Catholic High School Endowments


Create an endowment for a Catholic school that you love.

One of the most rewarding aspects of receiving gifts from donors is hearing about what motivates them to give. This giving is a donor’s heartfelt, joyful response to gratitude and a deep commitment to their faithful values. 

We wanted to share some of the notes that have accompanied the hundreds of donations to the Catholic Faithful Response Fund over the past few months, so you too could gain a sense for the motivations of some of the gifts by many faithful people throughout southeast Michigan, and some from out of state, during this time. 

Giving in Honor of Someone who is Still Alive or has Passed Away

  • “I’m making a gift to the wonderful St. Al’s Parish, on the day of the 100th Birthday of the Polish Pope, St. John Paul II the Great” – Elizabeth 
  • “In memory of Antoinette” 
  • “I thank God for you, Aunt Joan, for your example of Faith. May God bless and protect you. St. Joseph, pray for us. I love you.” – Jill
  • “For all 12 Felician Sisters that have passed away since Easter. God bless them all.” – Mary
Giving In Gratitude for a Priest

  • “In honor of pastors and the great work they do for their flock. “ – Bob, with a gift to St. Clare of Montefalco
  • “I just watched Easter Mass on YouTube. Thank you, Fr. Patrick. It was very uplifting. Detroit has a special place in my heart. I am blessed to be able to make this donation for all of the great things your church is doing. God Bless your parish. In Christ’s Name, Amen. – Jack
  • “This gift is inspired by Fr. Patrick and the parishioners of Corpus Christi who are working to stream Mass” – Julie
Giving in Support of Food Banks

  • “Give to those who are in need.” – Robert, with a gift to Corpus Christi parish
  • “Thank you for feeding the hungry.” – Molly 
  • “This ministry follows in the footsteps of Jesus – serving and being present to the poor and vulnerable.” Francine, with a gift to Deo Gratias Ministries 


Giving in Support of Facilities Taking Care of Family Members or Friends:

  • “My sister lives at St. Louis Center for Exceptional Children and Adults. I am very familiar with their mission.” – Josh 
  • “This place has been a Godsend for my grandmother and all of their residents”  – Tracy, with a gift to Lourdes Senior Community


Giving More in Times of Greater Need:

  • “I donate to both organizations on an ongoing basis and decided to ‘throw-in’ a little more.” – Harry, with gifts to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Pope Francis Center
  • “I’ve felt helpless sitting at home, unable to volunteer like we usually do at Pope Francis Center. This helps me feel like I can contribute something even at home.” – Victoria
Giving Alongside Prayer:

  • “I am on my knees saying my prayers to St. Joseph.” – Julie, with a gift to St. Joseph Shrine
  • “‘Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.’ Angels’ Place truly demonstrates Christ’s love by providing for those most in need.” – Kyle
Giving Because of Community Awareness:

  • “This is a great way for the community to come together. I didn’t know how to help or who needed assistance.” – Nick 
  • “Thank you for taking care of our community!” – Olivia
  • “I am so grateful for the support that Regina has given the girls during this difficult time. We are so blessed to be part of the Regina family.” – Cheryll

Will you experience the joy of philanthropy with us?
We are here to partner with you.
Join with us in giving today.

Edward Stross, a Roseville artist completed a new mural in Roseville memorializing the 13 Felician Sisters who died of COVID-19 at their Livonia motherhouse this spring.  (Banner Photo by Patricia O’Blenes)

When the Felician Sisters established the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary convent in 1936, Livonia was just a small town of farm fields outside of Detroit.

The Felician Sisters — known for their religious faith and resilience — opened Madonna University the following year and, later, founded a Montessori preschool, several elementary schools, Ladywood High School, St. Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital, Angela Hospice, Marywood Nursing Care Center and Senior Clergy Village, all within about one square mile.

“The city has grown up around them and because of them,” says Patty, a graduate of Ladywood High School, a ministry of the Felician sisters from 1950 to 2018. “I was a first-generation college graduate. The sisters were mostly Polish immigrants and they gave me the idea that I could go further in life.”

The Livonia Felician community in 2009.

Twenty-two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the convent and 12 sisters have died since April 10, at least eight of them directly from the disease. The community was home to 56 sisters before the coronavirus outbreak.

Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation and an alumna of Madonna University, was deeply moved by a sense of profound loss for the Felician community and the impact of losing so many sisters so quickly. She felt called to respond and invite others to join her in creating a fund to support the sisters.

“This is an opportunity to let the sisters know how much we care about them and support them in this difficult time,” Angela says. “I’m excited that the sisters are willing to accept this fund as a gift of hospitality.”

The immediate needs that have been identified for the Livonia community are burial expenses and care for the sisters. While so many sisters were sick, the community had to hire additional nurses and caregivers. There were unanticipated additional costs related to staffing, sanitizing, purchasing prepackaged food items, and securing personal protective equipment.

The new support fund is a donor designated fund, which makes it simple for an unlimited number of donors to contribute to the sisters in a variety of ways (such as via credit card, a check, or a gift of securities). The fund is restricted to support of the sisters, and it can go out in an amount and frequency that is most helpful for them.

When making a gift to the fund, donors are encouraged to share a story of a sister who has had an impact on them. These stories will be collected and shared with the community.

Angela receives graduation recognition from mentor and advisor Sister Ann Stamm at Madonna University.

Angela is grateful for the many lessons learned from the sisters. She learned about social justice from Sr. Mary Martinez Rozek, who coordinated a Multicultural Club at Madonna University before other institutions addressed diversity. She learned about compassion while volunteering in the Sisters’ infirmary under Sr. Victoria Marie Indyk. Both sisters passed away in April.

“I would not be who I am today, without the inspiration, leadership and wisdom of the Felician Sisters of Livonia. This is the least I can do to give back to them,” Angela says.

Other local leaders have recognized the impact of the sisters too.

Sen. Dayna Polehanki, who recently held a moment of silence on the Michigan Senate floor in honor of the Felician sisters in Livonia, notes their long legacy of service.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the convent in Livonia,” Polehanki says. “Now, in their time of need, I encourage others to join me in donating to support these remarkable women.”

Livonia mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan reflects, “The Felician Sisters are not only integral to the foundation of healthcare and education in the City of Livonia, they are integral to my personal foundation. I was taught by the Felicians at St. Michael Catholic Schools, and my children have been taught by Felician Sisters at St. Michael’s and the Montessori Center of Our Lady. They are part of who I am today.” She continues, “The Felician legacy of unconditional compassion for people, coupled with their inherent desire to meet the community’s most basic needs in healthcare and education make them inspiring, strong women.  We are saddened by the loss of so many sisters but we will be forever grateful God placed them in our city.”

Sister Mary Christopher Moore, CSSF, provincial minister, is grateful for the tributes to the sisters on the floor of the state senate and in the media. “This outpouring of love and support in our hour of need is God’s Providence in action,” she says. “We are humbled by the generous spirit of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan that has embraced our Sisters during these unprecedented times.

Sr. Victoria Indyk offers health care in Haiti.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron recognizes the local impact of the Felician sisters. “For generations,” he says, “the Felician sisters have labored to bring the love and message of Jesus to innumerable souls in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Jesus assures us, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.’ I am grateful that the sisters now will be able to more readily receive support from those who often were once recipients of their own selfless sacrifices.”

To learn more about the Felician Sisters of North America, visit https://www.feliciansistersna.org/.

Update: As of August 28, 2020 we have distributed roughly $20,000 to the sisters through the kind generosity of nearly 800 donations from supporters in 35 states and four countries. Read more. 

GIVE NOW TO THE Felician Sisters of North America-Livonia Support Fund


Remembering the 12 Felician sisters who died in April and May:


Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth! (Psalm 104:30)

During this Sunday’s Pentecost feast, we will hear this Psalm proclaimed. In this time of pandemic, our prayers for renewal and healing may have a newfound earnestness. And yet also during this time, we have experienced in profound and powerful ways how so many Spirit-led people are responding courageously and generously to those in need.

“How manifold are your works, O Lord!” the psalm continues. With nearly 40 organizations featured in our COVID-19 Catholic Faithful Response Fund, we have seen the abundant variety of ways that people are being of service, and we “are glad in the Lord”.

In our Pentecost edition of the Catholic Foundation’s newsletter, we feature numerous donors and funds that are modeling “different forms of service” in the name of the same Lord (1 Cor 12:12).

You, too, are part of this body of Christ, who has been given to drink of one Spirit. We thank God for you, and we are here to support your calling to be generous and faithful.

Where is the Holy Spirit leading you to live more faithfully, more ignited and fully alive during this season?


Give Abundantly This Pentecost

“Deo Gratias Ministries is founded on the idea of unconditional hospitality and on human dignity, reflecting the truth that all people are created in God’s image and have a right to be cared for and have their needs met,” shares Co-Director Sr. Shelley Marie Jeffrey, CSSF.

Deo Gratias Ministries is an independent ministry of the Felician sisters and received a 2019 competitive impact grant from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. One way that Deo Gratias Ministries offers hospitality and provides opportunities to build relationships is through their café. The café serves as a welcoming area where people can drop in for refreshments or a light meal, and is based in the parish center at St. Jude Parish in the Regent Park neighborhood of northeastern Detroit.

“There are a lot of pantries and soup kitchens, but the sisters are creating a place for people who do not have access to Starbucks or Panera. At the ca, people can relax and drink a cup of coffee or play games together,” shares Terry Ahwal, who serves as an advisor to Deo Gratias Ministries. 

“There are a lot of pantries and soup kitchens, but the sisters are creating a place for people who do not have access to Starbucks or Panera.” – Terry Ahwal, advisor to Deo Gratias Ministries

John Kanitra and his wife Anne volunteer with Deo Gratias Ministries, and the first time John came to drop off a donation for the café, he ended up staying several hours. “The café is a comfortable space and everyone seemed to feel like they belonged,” he reflects. 

“Every person that the sisters come into contact with is treated like a friend. The sisters did not want to start a ministry giving food to people they did not know. They want to get to know the community, and to become a part of it. Yes, to understand its problems, but especially to recognize the community’s strengths and find out what their hopes and dreams are,” Terry continues.

As relationships among community members are built at the café, community needs can surface. “It provides an opportunity to talk together about what needs to happen in the community. We are not us coming in with the ideas but rather working together on solutions,” Sr. Shelley shares. 

“One of the outcomes in the belief in the intrinsic dignity of the person is belief that each person has unique gifts and has the right to make choices. Everyone’s voice is important because they come from their own experience and have a sense of what their needs are,” says Sr. Shelley. “As two middle-aged white women coming into this largely African American community, we recognize that we don’t have any answers. We try to honor their experiences and engage interculturally,” she continues.  

After many months of planning, the café opened up in January 2020. It was only operating for about two months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but a small, steady group of neighbors had been coming regularly. The local residents had already shared many ideas for how to build community in the neighborhood, including cleanups, a BBQ meal, and forming a neighborhood association. 

Then, in March, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “We had to think differently. We began a short term ministry that we can do while people need to stay at home to be safe,” shares Co-Director Sr. Felicity Marie Madigan. 

 The pantry at St. Jude Parish temporarily closed, and so the sisters began a curbside distribution of food and masks twice a week, which is currently serving about 70 cars. A café guest has been regularly helping with the distribution. They are already thinking about how to adapt after the stay-at-home order is lifted, such as having an outdoor café. 

Another way Deo Gratias Ministries is building community in the neighborhood is with a community garden. Currently they have planted vegetables in three gardens which they hope they can harvest for and with neighborhood residents this fall, many of whom do not have easy access to fresh produce. They have applied to buy a lot near St. Jude which will allow them to put in a much larger garden. Eventually, the sisters hope to raise enough funds to renovate the existing kitchen to offer cooking classes and build skills for cooking fresh produce. 

Those who meet and work alongside the sisters are moved by joy, hope and spirit of gratitude. “The sisters are helping to unleash the Gospel through their work. They are so enthusiastically embracing building this ministry. The sisters’ joy is infectious,” shares Tim Johnson, an active parishioner at St. Jude Parish who helped connect the Felician sisters with the parish.  

For those who have never been to Regent Park, Terry Ahwal encourages them to come visit. “You will see decline, but beyond that, you can see the people and their potential,” she says.

Because the ministry is completely run by the sisters and other volunteers, 100% of donations go toward program costs. To get involved visit their website at https://dgmdetroit.org/ and contact Sr. Felicity. 

“Nearly one hundred years ago a couple of nuns came to Livonia and built the institutions that made the city prosper. Imagine the Regent Park neighborhood 20 years from now, transformed because of the community-building work that Deo Gratias work is facilitating. I believe these nuns are going to be successful because they work from the heart and they work smart. Please support their work,” Terry encourages. 

Give today to Deo Gratias Ministries’ work during the COVID-19 pandemic through a gift to the Faithful Response Fund.


Help us grant even more this year for social outreach ministries

From May 12-18, 2020, we invited you to experience the joy of philanthropy with us by asking you to share with our granting committee the organization that most inspires you from our Grant Catalog

Last week, we announced the grant recipient organizations who received the most unique votes, and wanted to share more about their ministries during the coronavirus pandemic and why community members were inspired to vote for them. 

Thank you to the thousands in our community who participated and generated the most interest for these organizations. 

St. Joseph Shrine, Detroit: Food Distribution

St. Joseph Shrine made extraordinary adaptations over the past several weeks to continue its work of caring for the spiritual and material needs of the community. The priests of the Shrine remained available each day to hear confessions and make sick calls. They also increased their spiritual outreach to the public via live-streamed Masses and devotions.

St. Joseph Shrine’s food pantry, which is operated in partnership with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, continues its mission of providing food and other essentials to local families in need. The food pantry has adopted new strategies to serve the present needs of its neighbors by providing financial assistance for necessities and taking new precautions to safely serve our neighbors, such as delivering food. The food pantry regularly serves over 100 local families twice a month and they are currently increasing services to meet increased demand.

With the grant they received from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Catholic Faithful Response Fund, St. Joseph Shrine will be able to:

  • Restock supplies for the food pantry, including shelf-stable food, sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment to promote health of an increased number of local families
  • Purchase additional sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment to maintain a clean environment as the Shrine reopens for masses


Community members who voted for St. Joseph Shrine shared why they were inspired: 

  • St. Joseph Shrine is an incredible parish with devoted priests who have saved the church building from being demolished and raised money for it’s repair. They have created a parish family that is unique and they truly care about their parishioners, providing every opportunity to connect and receive the allowed sacraments during this pandemic
  • St. Joseph Shrine has remained a beacon of hope in this unprecedented time. We found great solace in being able to visit with Our Lord in adoration and in the broadcasts of the Holy Mass and the 33 Day Consecration to St. Joseph preparation.
  • St. Joseph Shrine provides much needed spiritual nourishment for the people of God, not just in Detroit, but for many others due to their online presence! The priests help God’s people grow in holiness each day.

Regina High School, Warren: Tuition Assistance  

Without much notice, the dedicated teachers at Regina High School quickly moved their curriculum to a digital platform to allow students to complete their tasks at home, until school ended in late May. The guidance staff provided a list of resources for families on topics such as physical, mental, and COVID-specific health, education, spirituality and food assistance programs. Throughout the last months of school, the administration consistently checked in with staff, faculty and families, to let them know that they wished to work with families in any way they can. The administration brought appreciative signs to every teacher, and staff delivered signs, cap and gown and other items to seniors on the day that would’ve been their graduation. 

Regina’s Alumnae Association raised over $10,000 for Gleaners Community Food Bank and for Regina families experiencing financial hardship during this time. Regina also hosted a blood drive, and shared an online campaign thanking their alumna who are working on the front lines as healthcare providers. 

With the grant they received from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Catholic Faithful Response Fund, Regina High School will be able to support families who may be financially concerned about continuing to send their daughters to Regina. 

Community members who voted for Regina High School shared why they were inspired: 

  • Regina develops its young women’s vision and faith. The transformation of the young women during their four years at Regina is remarkable. The faculty, staff and students are an asset to our community and the state of Michigan. 
  • Upon entering the main doors of Regina High School, you feel the presence of the Lord, the warmth and inviting smiles of faculty, staff and students, as well as a sense of a very loving community. It is truly a special place!
  • Regina High School builds strong women, many of whom have careers in healthcare.
  • I am so grateful for the support that Regina has given the girls during this difficult time. We are so blessed to be part of the Regina family.

Give Now to the Regina High School Endowment

Cornerstone Education Group, Detroit: Devices for Virtual Learning

Through their Food Distribution Program, Cornerstone parents in Detroit and Redford can pick up 12 meals per week. Many families depend on school meals for their children, and Cornerstone has also been working with the Mayor’s office to provide food for additional children in the neighborhoods they serve. Weekly, more than 500 individuals receive food in this program. 

Cornerstone Education Group has also been in touch with every parent to determine if they are in need of a Chromebook device and internet access to support their child’s virtual learning during this time. They have distributed over 1,100 Chromebooks and are still in need of more to meet the need of families, so that students can better access critical virtual learning platforms.

With the grant they received from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Catholic Faithful Response Fund, Cornerstone Education Group will be able to distribute 10 Chromebooks to families in need.

Community members who voted for Cornerstone Education Group shared why they were inspired: 

  • Cornerstone has an excellent teaching staff, who are communicating well with parents and spending a lot of time virtually teaching our children.
  • Because of Cornerstone Schools, our children have a bright future.
  • I love Cornerstone. It is a wonderful place to send children, and radiates love and happiness.
  • I would love to see Cornerstone be blessed with this grant to help more families like me who have multiple children in need of laptops to help complete their schoolwork and also to feed those in need!

St. Albert the Great University Parish, Houghton: Formation and Resources for Spiritual Closeness 

From early in time of the pandemic, St. Al’s was focused on clear and consistent communication for year-round and student parishioners, online as well as phone calls and mailings, particularly for older parishioners. Faith development continued through online guided retreats, YouTube homilies, Zoom cookouts and other ways of nurturing spiritual closeness during physical distancing. Parking lot adoration and confession were also offered to the community. 

The St. Al’s community re-opened for mass this week, utilizing the Bishop’s directives to reduce risk. They are also continuing to provide morning Holy Hour and parking lot confessions and adoration. 

Community members who voted for St. Albert the Great University Parish shared why they were inspired: 

  • They were instrumental in building my faith as a young man and continue to serve young people going through important years of change and challenge to find and grow in their faith.
  • They are providing great leadership and innovation in this trying time. They were among first to host drive-up adoration and confessions. The church is now open 24 hours a day.
  • St. Al’s is truly a huge family of students and community members who support one another. 

Give Now to the St. Albert the Great Evangelization Endowment


Give Now to the Catholic Faithful Response Fund and increase the impact of these grants!

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