Here’s a list of 10 ways to serve in your Catholic Parish. Getting involved is a great way to create a positive impact on your community. I have been volunteering in Catholic parishes since I was 10 years old when my mother was volunteering as a Catechist.
Since, I have served parishes as a Catechist, choir sing, guitarist, clarinetist, charities, youth groups, nursery caregiver, and a passion reenactment actor. After all these years of community involvement, I wanted to share ways you can serve your local parish.
For the next two years, I’ll be studying to receive my certification from the Pastoral Formation Institute. This certification will help me better know the Catholic faith so that I can better serve my local parish ministries. Inspired by this endeavor, I decided to create this post.
#10 Being a Catechist or Catechist Assistant
Being a Catechist isn’t just something I do on Sundays. It’s a big part of my life and my own vocation. I was greatly moved by Pope Francis’s new Ministry of Catechists. Since Pope Francis made the announcement that he instituted the Lay Ministry of Catechists, I immediately called my parish and volunteered. In the future, I will write a post at length on the joy and fulfillment that teaching children the Catholic faith has brought in my life. If I attempted to do that in this post would be about a book-length. Stay tuned for that future post.
#9 Singing in the Choir
Have you ever attended a Mass without music? It’s much quieter and the pace feels slower. Honestly, I would rather attend a quiet Mass than one with bad music. I have been there too. Another thing I have experienced is a Mass with only one singer and no participation from the parishioners.
In my opinion, if you walk into an unfamiliar church while traveling you can tell right away what the parish is like by the music. If the music is offered by a large choir of children with a conductor then you know that the parishioners are made up of young families. You can immediately tell that the church is organized with a formal music ministry. On the other hand, if you walk into a Mass and the cantors are friars singing a gregorian chant then you know you’ve walked into a traditional Latin Mass and you’re likely next to a friary.
The point I’m trying to make is that if you want to influence the culture of your Mass, consider joining the choir. As Saint Augustine says, “singing is praying twice.”
#8 Participating in Charity Events
There are many different kinds of Charity events. The two that I am most familiar with are selling tickets for raffles and the other is hosting a booth at a jamaica or parish festival. I remember one local rancher used to offer the church a large cow for the raffle. Instead of selling tickets, I bought them for myself hoping to win the cow. My dad had a small ranch just outside of town. Unfortunately, I never won the cow.
#7 Joining a Ministry
My parish has many ministries. To name a few: music ministries, pastoral care, hospitality, altar servers, lectors, acts retreat, homeschool ministries, marriage counseling, marriage guidance, natural family planning education, bible studies, respect life, pantries for the poor, services for pregnant mothers, rosary makers, youth group, women’s group, men’s group, and seniors group. Those are just to name a few of the ministries active in my parish. There are so many more, don’t settle for just any ministry. Find one that will help you grow as a Christian and that will allow you to utilize your talents to help bring the Kingdom.
#6 Volunteering as a Tutor for Homeschool Ministries
Teaching is a passion of mine. Just like Catechism on Sundays, on Thursdays, I volunteer with my local homeschool ministry. These days, a lot of parents are choosing to homeschool their children. My family has made this decision as well. As a parent, I wanted to be involved in my children’s parish co-op so I started serving the homeschool ministry. Our parish has tutors who teach Catechism, math, history, art, choir, geography, and even Tae Kwon Do.
#5 Leading a Bible Study
Recently, I took a bible study course offered by a local parish called, The Bible Timeline. The course was created by Ascension Press and offered by a study leader at a nearby parish. You don’t need to be a bible expert to offer a course. Ascension Press has many bible courses will materials, workbooks, and videos so you can follow along. Even though you are the leader, it’s more like you’re the organizer of a group bible study.
#4 Teaching a class on a Sacrament like Marriage or Baptism
This month, I became a Godmother for a beautiful baby girl – my niece. To prepare me for this great responsibility, I took a course by Augustine Institute called, Baptism: Reborn. This course was offered on Formed.org a Catholic streaming service. It came complete with a printable workbook PDF.
The Sacraments are the most important part of a Catholic’s life. You can have an impact on their special moments. Like with bible studies, you don’t have to be an expert. The Augustine Institute has created parish guides to help you lead a marriage or baptism class.
#3 Hosting a collection for your local food bank or for poor members of your parish
In my city, it’s easy to host a pantry collection. All you have to do is call the food bank or fill out a form online on their website, then tell everyone what date you plan to have the collection, and then take what you collect to the food bank. When I was growing up, there were very poor families living nearby my parish so our youth group used to just walk over to their homes to deliver food. Where you live will impact how you organize your ministry for the poor.
#2 Buying Good Catholic Books for Other Parishioners
This may not be possible for everyone. In my current financial situation, I would not be able to afford to buy extra books but I wish I could. Catholic Answers offers discounts for bulk purchases of a single book, at the time of writing this some books – when purchased in bulk of 100 – are at about a dollar each (subject to change). That’s a pretty amazing deal. As a suggestion, I would recommend sharing a book about the Eucharist with your fellow parishioners. A pew survey showed that 69% of identifying Catholics did not believe in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
I should also mention that a more affordable alternative to this is purchasing pamphlets for your parish.
For more book suggestions check out my Catholic resources page for a list of great books.
#1 Intercessory Prayer
Intercessory prayer is praying on behalf of someone else. Often parishes will share the prayer intentions of each Mass. Some parishes have ministries dedicated to praying for the intentions of parishioners. This is not the least among parish ministries but rather the most important.
Catholic Answers has this to say about intercessory prayer:
“To intercede is to go or come between two parties, to plead before one of them on behalf of the other. In the New Testament, it is used as the equivalent of entugchaneln (Vulg. interpellare, in Heb., vii, 25). “Mediation” means a standing in the midst between two (contending) parties, for the purpose of bringing them together (cf. mediator, mesites, I Tim., ii, 5).”
Being someone who volunteers to actively intercede for a friend, neighbor, loved one, community member, or fellow parishioner can have the biggest impact on someone’s life. As an example, in my family, someone who was in labor was experiencing complications for several hours – about 5 or 6 hours. My aunt, my mother, and I began to pray the rosary interceding for the mother and the baby. Just as we were about the conclude the rosary at Hail Holy Queen, the baby was born!
The rosary is extremely powerful. So is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Whatever form of prayer you choose, whether it be a litany, a novena, or a prayer to a specific saint. Know that intercessory prayer is powerful because it brings your relationship with God, your relationship with the person, and unites them in a special way.
This video speaks at length about the power of intercessory prayer:
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. There are many more ways to get involved in your local parish. However, I wanted to speak from experience. These were my top 10 Ways to Serve in Your Catholic Parish. Thank you for reading.