Criminal Justice Ministry
Criminal Justice Ministry is a new program developed in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Detroit to visit the imprisoned -- those who are forgotten in society and often without hope. The program has two types of ministries: those who conduct prayer services, bring the Eucharist and conduct bible study, and those who visit on a one-on-one basis to talk, listen and communicate. Those who volunteer for the program must complete the proper forms, be screened, have background checks by the archdiocese and the prison system and be approved for the type of ministry they have chosen at the prison of their choice. This program provides a unique opportunity to those parishioners who want to follow the Lord's directive to visit the imprisoned since no life is ever hopeless and no soul is ever lost.
Christmas Giving Tree Program
This program provides all parishioners the opportunity to give Christmas presents to approximately 1,200 poor and needy adults, teenagers and children in the greater Detroit area. St. Kenneth's Christian Service Commission works with different organizations and tailors its program to meet the special needs and timing of each organization it supports. The program begins in late September when the commission determines the size of the program (total number of tags), the organizations it will support and the number of tags for each organization. In early October, the organizations are contacted and they provide St. Ken's with the particulars of their program (how many girls, boys, women, men, etc. and their wants and needs).
Each organization is assigned a specific color and the tags (shaped like ornaments) and labels are prepared, assembled and, in mid-November, hung on the Christmas trees in the Gathering Space in the rear of Church. Then the parishioners take the tags from the trees and purchase gifts for the person identified on the tag. The tag is affixed to the presents and the bundled gifts are brought to the church Gathering Space on one of the first two weekends in December. Volunteers carry the presents from the back of church to the hall where the gifts are stored and eventually sorted by color and family (if applicable).
Two parishes out of the eight organizations that make up the program supply the names of specific individuals (a total of about 500 names or about 40% of the program), which require that care be taken to insure each person receives at least one gift. Once all the gifts are sorted and bagged up by color, they are either delivered to or picked up by the respective organizations about two weeks before Christmas. This gives the organizations time to deliver the presents to the poor and needy before Christmas day. The parishioners of St. Kenneth are very generous to the poor and supportive of this program thus donating approximately 3,000 to 4,000 presents for the 1,200 tags. In summary, St. Kenneth's Christmas program provides gifts to organizations that distribute those presents directly to the poor and needy. Both St. Kenneth and these 'front line' organizations need and rely on each other to help the poor as our Lord directed.
There are numerous bagel stores in the vicinity of St. Kenneth Parish that are willing to donate their "end of the day" unsold bread, bagels and pastries to help feed the poor in the city of Detroit. St. Kenneth has organized a team of volunteers to go to these bagel shops on Sunday (2 locations) and Monday (3 locations) at the close of business to pick up any unsold products and bring them to St. Kenneth's hall. On Monday and Tuesday mornings all of the bread, bagels and pastries are taken from the hall and delivered to St. Christine's food pantry for direct distribution to the poor and needy in the Brightmore area of Detroit. At certain times of the year when St. Christine's pantry is closed, the bagels are delivered to the Salvation Army in the Brightmore area or St. Leo's soup kitchen where they are served or distributed to the poor. In this manner, the surplus of the suburbs helps feed the hungry of the city and respond in some small measure to Christ's directive to feed the poor.
Once each week on Tuesday afternoon, the St. Christine Soup Kitchen hosts a meal for the poor and needy at their facility in the Brightmore area of Detroit. St. Kenneth Parish sponsors the meal on the third Tuesday of each month. Christian Service volunteers purchase the food, prepare and cook the meal on Monday night in St. Kenneth's kitchen and deliver, reheat and serve the meal at St. Christine's on Tuesday. At the soup kitchen, the St. Kenneth volunteers are joined by regular soup kitchen volunteers who perform normal kitchen duties, drink preparation, headcount, and hall clean up and crowd control. In addition, the St. Ken parishioners bake desserts for the soup kitchen and bring them to the parish hall by Tuesday morning thus adding a personal homemade quality to the meal. The many St. Kenneth soup kitchen volunteers are rotated into the cooking and serving activities so that all who volunteer are given the opportunity to serve the poor.
During the colder months of the year, the United Methodist Church of Greater Detroit screens and takes in homeless people in downtown Detroit. Each night, the people are bussed to outlying churches or parishes who feed and house the homeless for a week at a time at each location and are often referred to as rotating shelters. St. Kenneth parish assists in this effort by buying, preparing, cooking and serving one meal (during the week's stay) at each of two near by Methodist churches.
These meals are prepared and served in similar fashion to the soup kitchen meals. In addition to the meals, St. Ken's runs a post meal bingo and provides all the prizes consisting primarily of much needed sweat shirts, dob kits, gloves, hats, socks and other personal items. The bingo is conducted in a light hearted manner designed to have as many winners as possible and is enjoyed by all and hopefully relieves some of the stress of their personal situations.
First Sunday Food Collection
This program is designed to give the St. Kenneth parishioners the opportunity to donate non-perishable food and hygiene items to the poor and needy in Detroit utilizing two inner-city parishes for distribution. On the first weekend of each month, the parishioners bring cans, jars and boxes of non-perishable food and personal hygiene items to the Gathering Space at the rear of the church. If parishioners forget their food donations, they can donate cash to be used to purchase food certificates for the walk-in poor.
After Monday morning daily mass, the food and hygiene items are taken from the Gathering Space and loaded into a vehicle for transport on alternating months to St. Christine's pantry or St. Dominic's Outreach who distribute it to the poor in their areas. At Christmas and Easter, the major portion of this monthly food collection has been used by St. Vincent De Paul Society (of St. Kenneth) to make about 50 food baskets for families identified by St. Dominic's. Any remaining food is delivered to St. Dominic's outreach building. The generosity of the people of St. Kenneth is very helpful in the effort to meet the needs of the poor.
St. Vincent De Paul Society Ministry
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society is a group of dedicated men and women who provide assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis. This aid may take the form of intervention, consultaiton, or often through direct dollar or in-kind service. Requests for assistance typically come through the church office and are followed up by a visit from a memeber to the Society. The Society also assists those in need through annual food basket distributions and others acts of charity. New members are encouraged and always welcome. For more information call the parish office.
For those touched with an abortion experience, Project Rachel offers a confidential healing ministry which includes counseling, therapy and support group services. For more information about Project Rachel, call 888.722.3255 or 313.237.5777 or the parish office.
Gospel of Life
The Gospel of Life group supports various pro-life organizations through out the year. They handle all the pro-life activities for the parish and assist in supporting the local Right to Life/Lifespan chapter. For more information you can contact Joanne Moening at 734.464.6922