To act is to serve. Like the early deacons of the Church like St. Stephen and St. Lawrence and the deacons of today, the Church follows example they give of diakonia (to act, to serve). There are several ways in which we act –or serve, as members of St. Ann’s Church.
What is meant by Parish Diakonia? Simply put, it is our service to the Lord and to our neighbor. Diakonia is a Greek word for service. The early Christians spoke of their diakonia to the community as rooted in their experience of meeting the Lord and hearing the witnesses speak of who Jesus Christ was and is to them. The Gospels and Acts of the Apostles is filled with the Lord’s service: healing, feeding, teaching, accompanying, praying, sacrificing, forgiving, admonishing, and loving.
Our parish community, it is hoped, is one that stimulates the clergy and laity alike spiritually, intellectually, socially and challenges them, in community, to make sense of what it means to be a Melkite Catholic and a better human being in our world. Our diakonia is about being good stewards of the gifts we have been given used for the good of ourselves and others, as Bishop Nicholas would say.
Saint Ann’s diakonia is made up of people who gratuitously dedicate their time as a point of reference for the community for the sake of showing the face of Christ to others. Here are a short list of the variety of good works we do for the Lord and for others. Our friends make an enormous contribution to the life of the community.
The Parish Council at St. Ann’s is composed of faithful men and women who are dedicated Melkites and who sacrifice their time, talents, and resources for the Church. The Council of the Parish represent the parish, as clergy and laity together, and seek to fulfill the mission ascribed to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Adult Faith Formation
To be Catholic is to be Pro-Life. The Church teaches us that all human life is to be respected from conception to natural death. The teaching is found in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). Our Melkite Church, indeed, the entire Catholic Church, is not silent on the teaching of Life and the place it holds in the heart and mind of the believer; it is also not silent when there are many inaccurate messages in the media and other venues as to when human life begins and ends.
Respect for and protection of human life includes these principles articulated for us by the Ruthenian Archeparchy of Pittsburgh:
– Surgical and chemical abortion of a human person after conception is sinful; including birth control methods which prevent the implantation into the mother’s uterus of the developing human being
– Intentionally withholding or withdrawing medical care which provides ordinary life support is sinful.
– Extraordinary life support for extended periods of time are not obligatory; however a person should NEVER be denied hydration and nutrition.
– Correcting and, if necessary, opposing civil or medical proponents which deny respect for human life. Teaching respect-life through parishes and media.
The St. Gianna Pregnancy Resource Center in New Haven helps at-risk women and their children with good and reliable resources for life. The mission of the Center is to show God’s love and mercy to all mothers and their unborn babies in a gentle and caring manner, from initial encounter to birth and beyond. We provide encouragement, support and education during and after pregnancy. We provide a place where families can welcome the life of their child with confidence and joy!
Matthew 25 works of charity
“Whatever you did for one of these least ones of mine, you did for me.”
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the [people] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (Vatican II, Church in the Modern World, 1965). From biblical times right through to today, the faith community and in particular the Church has provided to those in need –the widow, the orphan, the sick person, the elderly, the underemployed, the unemployed — a meaningful and dignified place in the midst of much turmoil and change.
Some good works of Christian charity
- Catholic Near East Welfare Association – a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support for the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe
- Melkite Catholic Children’s Aid (donations are collected by the Eparchy for children in need in the Middle East
- St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, CT, charitably provides food, meals, case management, and basic human services to those in need.
- Waterford, Connecticut Food Pantries, a place to donate food for the needy and to volunteer.
- Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Clinic, a local center providing mental health assistance.
- Clothing Collections for needy families in the local communities. The collection container is located on the parish grounds.
National Association of Melkite Women (NAMW) is a group which promotes and supports vocations to the priesthood and religious life in the United States.