Among the chief duties of a Christian are spiritual and corporal acts of mercy based on the loving ministry of Jesus. Spiritual works of mercy attend to the nurture of people's souls: comfort the sorrowful, forgive all injuries, bear wrongs patiently, counsel the doubtful, dispel ignorance, confront sin, and pray for the living and the dead. Corporal (bodily) works of mercy care for people's physical needs: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, and bury the dead. People at St. Helena's are fulfilling this responsibility in a growing number of ministries in the neighboring community.
The Blessing Pantry
The Blessing Pantry is our latest ministry to the community. For many years, we had collected food and transported it to a neighboring food pantry for distribution. Recently, however, we have felt the need to deepen our hands-on commitment to those who experience hunger by serving as a place for both bodily and spiritual nourishment. The Blessing Pantry is stocked regularly from donations from parishioners, which we bless every week at the altar, and through collections of non-perishable food and other supplies from the neighborhoods near the church.
Several afternoons a week, Fr. Ethan holds office hours at a local Starbucks to serve as a ministry of presence to the local community. Both parishioners and passersby come for prayer, pastoral care and counseling, and to ask questions about faith and spirituality.
St. Helena's participates in a number of other outreach activities, such as the communion and visit ministry of parishioner, Deidre Burke, at two local retirement communities and our presence at the Burr Ridge Concerts on the Green.