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Parish and Diocesan Opportunities

Historically, the Life & Justice Office has been two separate but in tandem offices: the Respect Life Office and the Human Rights Office. Within the parish, these two emphases are often still separate, and we continue to work with parish groups whose focus is one or the other.

Parish Ministry

Get Started

Role of Parish Human Rights/Respect Life Coordinator

The responsibilities of the Parish Human Rights/Respect Life Coordinator depend on the interests of the committee members, the needs of the pastor and the parishioners and the opportunities for volunteers in and around the parish.  For instance, the responsibilities of the Human Rights Coordinator for a parish with a large youth ministry and within walking distance of a local food pantry may be different than those for a parish with a large population of older adults and an active Knights of Columbus council; the responsibilities of the Respect Life Coordinator for a parish close to a pregnancy center may be different than those for a parish needing more information on end-of-life care. Each parish Human Rights/Respect Life Committee must decide what it is that will provide the most benefit to its parishioners and will provide the most opportunities for its members.  

However, by working with the Life & Justice Office and with other parishes in the deanery, members of a particular parish Human Rights/Respect Life Committee may have the opportunity to not only participate in additional programs, activities and events, but to also share their own gifts with even more of our faithful.   For instance, one parish may have someone who enjoys organizing and planning events and a nearby parish may have someone who likes making posters and flyers; by working together, both Human Rights/Respect Life Committees benefit from the contribution of each and both parishes have the opportunity to share in a single larger event.  

For more information, please read the following document: Parish Coordinator Description

Getting Started

  1. What are the current areas of interest for you and for your fellow parishioners?  

  2. What unique skills, knowledge or talents do your committee members or your parishioners have that they would like to share?

  3. What other ministries exist within your parish and what needs within your parish are currently not being met?  

  4. You will want to provide volunteer and donation opportunities for your committee members and for your parishioners.  What existing pro-life/human rights organizations or activities are near your parish?  

  5. Working closely with Respect Life/Human Rights committees from neighboring parishes can provide additional opportunities and resources.  What other parish Respect Life/Human Rights committees exist within your area?

  6. Feeling called? Click here to get signed up!

Parish Tool Kits

In addition to providing on-line educational resources and referrals to local community partners and to other social service/pro-life organizations, the Life & Justice Office has developed a set of pastoral care programs monitored by a dedicated program manager who coordinates the relationship between the diocese, the parishes committee and the community partner, if applicable.  For these particular pastoral care programs, online "tool kits" have been created to assist with the development of parish ministries. 

The benefits to: 

  • New Parish Ministries -- Provides the necessary materials for small parish Human Rights/Respect Life Committees, or even a single individual who may not yet have the interest and support of others, to establish a viable parish Human Rights/Respect Life ministry from which to grow.

  • Existing Parish Ministries -- Provides a quick and easy way to kick-start additional programs by simply utilizing diocesan resources that are already available.  

  • Experienced Parish Committee Members -- Provides the opportunity to participate directly in the design, development and implementation of diocesan programs by serving on leadership committees or as a diocesan resource when another parish contacts the Life & Justice Office with a requests for program assistance or for expertise in a specific area. 

Below are some "tool kits" of activities and ideas to assist with the development of your own parish Human Rights/Respect Life ministry. These are not exhaustive lists and are meant to help you kickstart or reinvigorate your parish ministry. Visit our page of resources and programs for even more ideas. These are also split between ordinarily Human Rights and Respect Life programs and ministries; each could easily cross over (i.e. a parish Human Rights ministry can offer community outreach for 40 Days for Life; a parish Respect Life ministry can encourage prayers on behalf of migrants and refugees in the General Intercessions at Mass). To learn more, please contact the Life & Justice Office.

Parish Tool Kits

Human Rights Ministry "tool kits"

  • MAX Prison and Jail Ministry

    • Start a Volunteer in Prayer (VIP) ministry in your parish to celebrate Mass or gather together to pray a rosary for the intentions of the incarcerated members of our diocese or to simply to share the intentions of those in need of prayers.

    • Start a Prison Pen Pal Ministry in your parish

    • Become certified as a Volunteer in Corrections (VICs) and visit the incarcerated.

    • Serve as a mentor with the Catholic Charities Workforce Development Program to help folks get back on their feet after time spent in prison.

    • Help process rosary requests from offenders and assist with packaging and mailing rosaries.​

    • Organize a team at your parish to pray for the intentions of women and men who are currently in prison or jail

  • VIA Immigration Ministry

    • Use Scripture readings such as the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt as "teachable moments" in homilies​

    • Distribute pamphlets to your parishioners

    • Include multicultural awareness activities in parish youth programs and activities

    • Sponsor a parish migration education program

    • Celebrate National Migration Week in your parish, traditionally observed the week following the Feast of the Epiphany in January

    • Include prayers on behalf of migrants and refugees in the General Intercessions each week

    • Distribute welcoming packets for newly arrived parishioners and organize outreach activities directed toward migrant populations in the community.

    • Plan multicultural liturgies, sacramental services, intercessions, outreach, and parish ministry training for members of all ethnic groups

    • Establish a relationship with the local diocesan refugee resettlement and immigration assistance office and volunteer by organizing charitable drives to benefit migrants and refugees, hosting job fairs, offering English-language tutoring, or planning a parish service day in Migrant and refugee neighborhoods

  • CRS Rice Bowl

  • Holy Rosary Credit Union (financial literacy and aid)

    • Contact Holy Rosary Credit Union to schedule a parish presentation​

    • Provide Holy Rosary Credit Union flyers to post in public areas of your parish

  • Unbound (international marginalized/vulnerable)

    • Contact Unbound Church Outreach to schedule a parish presentation​

    • Provide Unbound posters and flyers to post in public areas of your parish

  • Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (rural entrepreneurship)

    • Contact NWMEF to schedule a parish presentation​

    • Provide NWMEF flyers to be placed in public areas at your parish

Respect Life Ministry "tool kits"

  • 40 Days for Life

    • Schedule a team of volunteers from your parish to participate in a 40 Days for Life campaign in the Spring and Fall. In addition to praying on the sidewalk, prayer vigils can be coordinated at your parish​

  • ComPassio

    • Contact the Life & Justice Office to schedule a parish presentation​

    • Provide copies of a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care to the members of your parish

  • Faith in Action

    • Utilize the Knights of Columbus Faith in Action Programs, including Novena for Life, Silver Rose, March for Life Ultrasound Initiative, Pregnancy Center Support, Special Olympics, Mass for People with Special Needs, and Christian Refugee Relief​

  • March for Life Pilgrimage

    • Host a testimonial or presentation by a past pilgrim from your parish or from a nearby parish​

    • Sponsor a pilgrim or family from your parish for this year's trip

    • Schedule a Mass or prayer rally at your parish to show your support for the pilgrims traveling to Washington D.C.

  • Project Rachel

    • Contact the Life & Justice Office to schedule a parish presentation​

    • Organize a team at your parish to pray for women and men suffering from abortion

  • Spiritual Adoption

    • Sponsor a 9-month Spiritual Adoption program at your parish either during the school year or between the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) to Christmas​

    • Partner with a local parish that is sponsoring a Spiritual Adoption program to donate gifts for a local pregnancy resource center

  • Other

    • Facilitate presentations on abstinence and other Theology of the Body topics for teens at the local high school​

    • Sponsor a Missouri Right to Life Mother's Day carnation fundraiser or Elizabeth Ministry Rosebud Program

    • Provide cards and other information on post-abortion counseling and healing via Project Rachel or Rachel's Vineyard, especially in the confessional or restrooms

    • Organize/promote/participate in a local Life Chain event on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October

    • Work with local organizations like Missouri Right to Life to co-sponsor pro-life posters, billboards, and signs for local pregnancy centers

    • Enter pro-life floats in local parades

    • Participate in local pro-life rallies on/around January 22nd

    • Attend the annual Missouri Right to Life Pro-Life Lobby Day in Jefferson City in the Spring

    • Attend, or host a table at, your local annual Pregnancy Resource Clinic fundraiser banquet

    • Facilitate a clothing drive for poor and/or abandoned pregnant mothers

    • Organize a gift bag program for new parish couples and current parish couples newly married or expecting a new baby

Even more "tool kit" ideas for your ministry:

  • Develop, coordinate, and facilitate presentations for parishioners on the Church's teachings on the sanctity of life and dignity of the human person, the parish Respect Life/Human Rights ministry, and discussions on current relevant topics in the news.  

  • Bring in local and regional speakers.

  • Ask your parish Knights of Columbus council if you can speak at their next meeting.

  • Link relevant content into parish website or create a parish Respect Life/Human Rights webpage.

  • ​Join or partner with other parish committees to host an educational or informational event on pro-life/human rights issues.

  • Create podcasts or recordings on parish website for all parishioners to listen to and for fellow parish committees to use in their respective parish activities. 

  • Develop a library of books, CDs, and DVDs that can be made available to parishioners and fellow parish coordinators and committee members.  Consider including topics on Church teaching, papal encyclicals, saints, and apologetics.

  • Keep the narthex/vestibules stocked with pamphlets and brochures from the diocese or from USCCB.  

  • Have a booth at your annual Parish Ministry Fair.  

  • Work with your local radio and newspaper to advertise events and to support local merchants who have pro-life/human rights values.

  • Raise funds and sponsor billboards around town.

  • Work with Newman Center and other student Christian organizations like the Student Baptist Center and Student Lutheran Organization to provide external speakers and support to pro-life/human rights activities on campus.   

  • Create a section in your weekly parish bulletin to promote pro-life/human rights events and activities.

  • Get a parish bulletin board and include information about current events (local, national, and international), pictures, statistics, parish committee contact and meeting info, diocese Life & Justice Office volunteer opportunities, donation information, Knights of Columbus events, information on relevant resources and programs, either your parish or the diocesan Life & Justice websites, Bible verses and reflections on today's readings, parish men's/women' group events, and relevant book/movie reviews.

  • Attend the annual Missouri Catholic Conference Annual Assembly in Jefferson City in the Fall.

  • Create a parish prayer team to support one of the Life & Justice Office pastoral care programs.

  • If you are a health care professional, join the local Sts. Cosmas & Damian Guild of the Catholic Medical Association.  

  • Coordinate outreach activities with parish men's/women's groups (e.g. That Man is You, She Shall Be Called Woman, etc.).

  • Participate in the Legion of Mary.

  • Hold a bake sale to raise money for groups of parishioners in need, other parish ministries, and for external not-for-profit organizations.

  • Volunteer at a hospice home.

  • Volunteer with Special Olympics.

  • Participate in liturgical ministries (lector, extraordinary minister, cantor, etc).

  • Lead a weekly pro-life/human rights rosary or hour of perpetual adoration for the ministry's intentions.

  • Do a presentation on the Church's teaching on Catholics being involved in public policy along with instructions on how to write effective letters to legislators and to local newspaper editors.

Diocesan Ministry

Role of Volunteers

Role of Diocesan Program Volunteers

The responsibilities of a Diocesan volunteer within any of the Life & Justice Pastoral Programs depends on the type of outreach of the program and the needs of the Life & Justice Office. For instance, a volunteer within our Gabriel Project pastoral program will be quite unique from a volunteer within our diocesan MAX Jail and Prison Ministry. Each diocesan volunteer must discern how God is calling them to share His Love and Mercy with others, as well as based on the capacity and needs of our pastoral programs.

By volunteering within our diocesan Life & Justice Pastoral Programs, you have the opportunity to share your gifts with many within our diocese. By becoming involved with our VIA Immigration and Refugee Ministry, you have the chance to encounter different cultures and welcome the stranger into our community. By helping spread the Spiritual Adoption program through the diocese, you have a chance to engage in conversation about human development and the great wonders of human life.

Getting Started

  1. What are your current areas of interest?  

  2. What unique skills, knowledge or talents do you have that you would like to share?

  3. What other Respect Life/ Human Rights ministries exist within our diocese and what needs within our diocese are currently not being met?   

  4. Working closely with the Life & Justice Office can provide additional opportunities and resources.  How can our diocese outreach within our own community as well as with other dioceses?

  5. Feeling called? Visit our Pastoral Programs page, discern which you are being called to, and contact us to get involved!

Get Started Diocese
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