The mission of Holy Cross’ Outreach Ministries is to provide parishioners of all ages with opportunities to learn to help others, reflect the love of Christ in our dealings with others in our community and strive to make outreach a part of our daily lives. Holy Cross’ Outreach Ministry will extend to those in our local community, the broader metropolitan Baltimore community and to those in need throughout the world.
Under the guidance of Fr. Gregory, the Holy Cross Outreach Ministry seeks to develop a diverse set of opportunities for parishioners to practice their faith toward others in our community. You can participate in the following four types of ministry opportunities to those outside our parish either in a local, metropolitan or world-wide context:
As a part of your participation in the lives of each other and of the Archdiocese, you can provide monetary and in-kind gifts to support individuals and project initiatives.
In recognition of the unique gifts of time and talents that God has given to each of us, you can share your talents through the gift of work, thereby helping to support others who cannot support themselves.
A popular saying among Orthodox today is, ‘We fall alone, but we are saved together.’ As Orthodox Christians, we are members of the Body of Christ and, as such, we are called to be in relationships with one another. Our outreach efforts enable us to live this truth by providing various opportunities for you to develop relationships that exhibit Christ’s love with those you serve outside our parish.
As outreach and ministry is the responsibility of all Christians, Holy Cross’ Outreach Ministry seeks to provide you with the chance to exercise leadership in developing, initiating and leading outreach ministry projects. If you see a need that Holy Cross is not currently addressing or believe that a need could be addressed more fruitfully, please contact Deacon Mark O’Dell.
Pregnancy Center West
Holy Cross assists Pregnancy Center West, a crisis pregnancy center located on Frederick Road in Baltimore Md., through the the clothing you drop off in the Narthex. Founded in 1983, they exist ‘to provide pregnant women with a community where alternatives to abortion are available and they operate as a non-sectarian organization to develop and administer programs and to provide facilities to assist women experiencing crisis pregnancies.’
While clothing is vital to their ministry, they also perform other services for those in such sensitive positions, including:
- pregnancy test
- baby furnishings
- long-term friendship
- emotional and spiritual support
- emergency food items and diapers
- referrals for medical, legal and financial assistance
- post abortion counseling
- 24 hour answering service
Please visit their webpage for more information on how you can assist their efforts beyond the clothing you so generously give through the parish, hours of operation, address, etc. Or contact Paul Hutchenson for more information.
Baltimore City Homeless
The Grace and Hope organization is a Protestant group of women who are unmarried and celibate and live in a somewhat monastic fashion. Nearly all of them are over 80 years old. They invite guest speakers to minister to the homeless.
The downtown Grace & Hope Mission, located at 4 S. Gay St., opens their doors to the homeless on all nights except Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30 - 8:30 PM for services. In addition to hymn singing and hearing preaching, the homeless are invited to pray and/or talk with the guest speaker or ladies after the service, and meals are served either in the building (on cold nights) or in lunch bags as people leave the facility.
Anyone wishing to come to the mission should come prepared to see anything! Many of the homeless have varying diseases and conditions, many are very dirty, etc. On occasion, fights have broken out. This is not a place for young people unaccompanied by an adult; even adults should be fully aware of their surroundings. Additionally, a participant from Holy Cross should be prepared to listen to the stories of the homeless and to love and point them to Christ and His Church for help, mercy and salvation.
If you choose to participate, then go to plant seeds, make sandwiches, listen to and pray for the homeless.
Have you ever wondered where the food you leave in the food-basket goes? It goes to the “food pantry” at NCEON, the North County Emergency Outreach Network. Located in the heart of Glen Burnie, NCEON (pronounced ‘neon’ with a silent ‘C’) comprises more than 36 churches and 6 civic organizations and ministers to people in Holy Cross’ immediate area: Glen Burnie, Linthicum, Hanover, Pasadena, and Severn. They were established in 1989 and since then have distributed over $2.5 million in food and funds to those in need. (Currently, Deacon Mark O’Dell serves as our NCEON board member.) NCEON’s ultimate goal is ‘not to be needed’.
Open Mon/Wed/Fri from 10am-3pm, their outreach helps members of the community with:
- court ordered evictions
- utility shut-off notices
- budget counseling
- pastoral counseling
- homeless programs
Your non-perishable food stuffs go a long way in our immediate community and NCEON is very thankful for us. Please keep the donations coming as our Christ blesses you with His rich gifts.
The Perfect Bag
Question: With so many canned food options on the store shelves, how do I know what items are best to donate to food drives or pantries?
Answer: After consulting with numerous food pantry directors in the area and seeking nutrition advice from registered dietitians, we compiled what we like to call the Perfect Bag. The Perfect Bag contains a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all five food groups.
- 2 cans of hearty soup, stew or chili: Supplies many nutrients
- 2 cans of tuna, chicken, salmon or luncheon meat (e.g.. Spam): Contains protein and iron. Canned salmon is a source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids
- 1 can of fruit: Supplies vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, fiber and other healthy substances.
- 1 can of 100 percent pure fruit juice: Contains vitamin C and often betacarotene
- 1 can of vegetables: Supplies beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, complex carbohydrates, fiber and potassium
- 1 can of tomato or pasta sauce: contains lycopene, a healthy substance that is more available to your body in canned and cooked tomatoes than in fresh
- 1 canned meat: Offers a variety of ingredients and nutrients
- 1 can of beans: Contains plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber
- 1 can of evaporated milk: makes an excellent source of calcium and protein
Our Daily Bread
Our Daily Bread is the name of a soup kitchen in Baltimore that serves one hot meal a day, between 10am and 2pm, to the city’s poor and homeless. It is staffed and run entirely by volunteers, primarily of the Catholic Charities organization. This ministry was viewed as so important by Pope John Paul II that he cancelled a number of items on his agenda during his visit to Baltimore so he could meet the workers at Our Daily Bread! After having a hot meal, guests are given a bag lunch to take with them. Our Daily Bread also has an active food pantry, which distributes canned goods to the poor and homeless throughout the week.
In addition to serving the food (a hot casserole, vegetable, bread, and coffee) volunteers also prepare the food ahead of time. There’s a rotating menu of ten easy-to-prepare casseroles that are baked and frozen, then reheated at the facility on the day they are to be served.
Volunteering to serve requires driving to downtown Baltimore, putting on an apron and gloves and an attitude of humility.
Volunteering to cook requires getting some groceries (nothing fancy — chicken, rice, frozen vegetables) and coming to church for a few hours. The baking and freezing will be done at home. The casseroles then need to be brought to church for a designated pickup time.
Who Can Participate?
Anyone over the age of fourteen may volunteer at the kitchen (young children are not allowed in the facility, so if you are a parent, you will need to find childcare that day) and anyone may volunteer to help bake casseroles. Especially, though, I want this to be a youth-focused activity. This ministry was so helpful to me when I was in the youth group years ago, and I can’t say enough about the spiritual benefits that come with serving someone else, especially a stranger.
The Order of St. Ignatius
Archdiocesian giving covers a number of areas and is primarily enacted through The Order of St. Ignatius. The Order exists…
- To promote and propagate the teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the welfare of the Orthodox faith.
- To strengthen the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese as a spiritual, administrative and functional entity.
- To financially support the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese through a lifetime commitment.
- To enhance the spiritual commitment of its members.
Throughout the year, you have the chance to support seminarians, Special Olympics activities, missionaries, orphanages, patriarchal needs, various food-for-the-hungry programs as announced at the parish. But you can be even more involved by becoming a contributing member of The Order. To learn more about the The Order, it’s history, FAQ, projects, etc., please visit the Archdiocese website.
Community Recovery Center
The Arundel House of Hope has partnered with the Anne Arundel County Health Department in the Community Recovery Center, located at the Glen Burnie site. Since April 2015, Holy Cross has become involved in the Community Recovery Center, by providing a hot lunch on a Saturday once a quarter.
The Brotherhood of St. Joseph and Sisterhood of St. Nina's have joined in effort to provide lunch, books, prayer ropes (bracelet) and fellowship to those clients at the Recovery Center and the Day Center. We have provided transportation of several clients to our Divine Liturgy on the following Sunday.
Christmas Sharing Program
The Christmas Sharing program is one of the many activities through which Holy Cross parishioners fulfill our mission of serving others. During the month of December, we decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments that have the gender, age, needs and “wishes” of needy children in our community. Parishioners pick an ornament, buy and wrap gifts for the child and, just before Christmas, we deliver the gifts to the families.
Sometimes the children we buy for are the sons and daughters of women incarcerated in the prison system. Other times, we work with Arundel County Social Services to meet the needs of families who live near our parish. It is wonderful to visit the families and see the smiles on the children’s faces! We often get thank you cards from the children, too!
(One year we mistakenly signed up for both the Arundel County and the prison ministry programs and only realized it at the last minute! Our small parish didn’t have the resources to buy gifts for 80 children, but the Sunday we were to deliver the gifts a stranger drove into our parking lot with a truck full of toys! He had no idea that we were delivering gifts but saw the church and decided to stop to see if we could use them! No one knew the man, and as he drive out of sight, Fr. Gregory asked “what was his name?” Someone said “Nick…”)
Winter Shelter Program
The Arundel House of Hope coordinates an extensive program of emergency shelter and spiritual support to homeless men and women from October through March each year. There are four distinct groups of homeless clients, organized by area (southern A.A. County, Annapolis area, etc.) Approximately 75 churches in Anne Arundel County participate; a church provides a site for one week. Holy Cross has become involved in support of a local church, which shelters 30 men and women in the second week of December each year. This church sets up temporary beds in their fellowship area and classrooms, and accepts help during that week from smaller churches.
We take one evening, provide the evening meal, fellowship, transportation (for laundry run to a local laundromat, or a run to a local school for showers), two overnight hosts from 11:00 pm – 5:30 am, and breakfast served 6:00 am – 6:30 am. We also help with the transportation of the guests (homeless clients) at 4 pm from and 7:00am to the Day Center at the Arundel House of Hope location in Glen Burnie.
The guests are housed at each participating church from 5 pm, through the night, until 7am, when they are transported to the Day Center. Christian Winter Shelter programs are designed this way, so that the churches are free during the day for their own activities, and so that any guests who have jobs can attend their work site during the day. Those unemployed clients staying at the Day Center may receive counseling.