Mercy and Justice
Inspired by Scripture and the social teachings of the Church, the Mercy and Justice Committee of St. Thomas Aquinas promotes the right to life and the dignity of each person. The committee works to open avenues for our university parish to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters, locally and globally, and to serve our brothers and sisters in the works of charity and justice. These are the avenues our parishioners have opened to serve our brothers and sisters:
FEEDING THE HUNGRY MINISTRY
Our parish helps to feed the hungry and provide necessary items to friends in need in our community through organizing collections for the Holy Comforter Church and Church of the Incarnation pantries, The Haven and the Red Hill Elementary School Backpack Program. In addition, parishioners cook and serve dinners at the Salvation Army four times a month with the food obtained with parish funds. We also prepare two dinners each year for PACEM. Contact: Mark Ross (click here).
Salvation Army Program (prepare and serve dinner at the Soup Kitchen):
- 1st Tuesdays. Contact: Ann Johnstone (click here).
- 2nd Wednesdays. Contact: Nadina Ross (click here).
- 3rd Wednesdays. Contact: Delia Laux (click here).
- 4th Wednesdays: Knights of Columbus
HAITI COMMITTEE (Tri Parish)
Members of St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish join the parishioners of St. Michel’s in Saltadare, Haiti, in the spiritual support of each other’s parish. Since the early 1990s, we work to support the St. Michel School, clinic, rectory, and church. Through the student sponsorship program, we assist with the expenses of its school operation. Through fund raising activities as auctions, golf tournaments, and Haitian “Arts & Crafts” fairs, we help support the operating costs for the St. Michel Clinic and Church. We also have regular trips to St. Michel that are open to all church members. Trips may be focused to medical teams, UVA student breaks, or construction planning; but always open to any of our parishioners. See the Church bulletin for our weekly updates. For more information, visit our tri-parish site. Meetings are at 12noon on the 2nd Tuesday of the month (attendees can come via Zoom too). Contact: Bob Fromm (click here).
IMPACT (Interfaith Movement Promoting Action Together)
IMPACT is a community-based organization that currently has 31 diverse congregations participants. Members of IMPACT work together on the root causes of community problems such as public transportation, access to adult dental care, and affordable housing. We welcome those who are interested in working for a greater degree of fairness in the Charlottesville and Albemarle area with IMPACT. Contact: Judy Zacharias (click here).
PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry)
This ministry involves outreach to the homeless in our community. We coordinate our efforts with PACEM who run a homeless shelter for men during the winter months. St. Thomas parishioners prepare and serve a meal for the men a few times a year. Notification of the need for volunteers for these meals is through the parish print bulletin and e-bulletin. Contact: Judy Zacharias (click here).
This ministry is dedicated to the doctrine of our faith that all life is sacred and must be protected and defended from conception until natural death. Our primary focus is the defense of the unborn children who are not protected under the laws of our nation or our commonwealth. We participate in regular prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood to share the message that every child is a precious gift from God deserving of protection. We support the efforts of Thrive Women’s Health Care of Central Virginia which offers resources to women in crisis pregnancies. We have participated in the annual 40 Days for Life campaign since 2007, as well as the annual Walk for Life in Charlottesville. Many parishioners attend the annual March for Life in DC and Richmond. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). Contact: Delia Laux (click here).
SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL HOLY TRINITY CONFERENCE
Our SVdP conference consists of parishioners of the local Catholic churches with a mission to grow spiritually through helping our friends in need in this community. We meet each month and provide assistance through personal interactions by which we see the face of Christ in those who we serve. “Go to the poor: you will find God” (St. Vincent de Paul). Click here to visit our site to learn more.
In our Liturgical Ministry and ministry to families, there are additional charitable opportunities (e.g. our Bethany Ministry, serving the families of the deceased, and our St. Zelie Ministry for Infertility & Miscarriage).
- Alliance for Interfaith Ministries (AIM)
- Blue Ridge Area Food bank
- Charlottesville Area Community Foundation
- Food Ministry at the Church of the Incarnation
- Habitat for Humanity
- Holy Comforter Church Food Pantry
- Loaves and Fishes
- Love INC
- People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry (PACEM)
- Shelter for Help in Emergency
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul Holy Trinity Conference
- The Haven
- The Center Charlottesville
- United Way
This list, while comprehensive, does not include the many hours of dedicated service donated by innumerable volunteers. The gift of such service is vital to the work made financially possible through the following appeals and fundraisers.
LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL
- Youth Ministry fundraiser
- Hope for Haiti Golf Tournament
- St. Vincent de Paul Society Holy Trinity Conference: Friends of the Poor Walk
- Mission Cooperative Appeal (Diocesan)
- Red Hill School Supplies Drive
- Haiti Arts Fair
- Respect Life Month: 40 Days for Life (October)
- Turkeys (Parish donation to Loaves and Fishes)
- Advent Gift Fair (Christ the King)
- St. Vincent de Paul Society Holy Trinity Conference: Give the Gift of Light
- Giving Tree
- Knights of Columbus: Coats for Kids
- Knights of Columbus: Keep Christ in Christmas card sale for vocations
- Catholic Schools Week (CCS; January)
- Haiti Sponsorship event (February)
- Spring Break Trips (Catholic Hoos, service to the poor)
- Annual Diocesan Appeal
- Operation Rice Bowl (Catholic Relief Services)
- Knights of Columbus: 40 Cans for Lent
- Knights of Columbus: Soup Suppers
- St. Vincent de Paul Society Holy Trinity Conference: Easter Collection
- Province of St. Joseph Formation Appeal
- KOVAR: Knights of Columbus collection for VA Citizens with mental health challenges
- Youth Ministry Cupcake Fundraiser
- St. Vincent de Paul Society Holy Trinity Conference
- Charlottesville Catholic School (CCS) (Grant Money for Scholarships)
- IMPACT (Interfaith Movement Promotion Action by Congregations Together)
- PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry)
- AIM (Alliance for Interfaith Ministries)
- Love, Inc.
- Food Pantries (at Holy Comforter and Incarnation Parishes)
- The Haven: Personal Care Items
- Road to Emmaus (Catholic Hoos)
- Respect Life
- Salvation Army Dinners
- Various Diocesan Collections throughout the year