St. John Paul II Parish in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland announced the launch of a volunteer phone bank program, reaching out to parishioners in a time of heightened isolation.

There are approximately 4,000 families who are a part of the parish, Ryan Bilodeau, a spokesperson for St. John Paul II Parish, said. Many, especially older parishioners, are unable to attend mass out of caution for their health.

Bilodeau said that volunteers of the phone bank program make about 20 calls at a time, updating records, which has been helpful to the churches.

“I’ve been hearing that we’re getting some good responses in terms of people who are very happy to hear from us,” he said. “While we’re calling all parishioners — and the ones we’re particularly wanting to reach are those we haven’t seen in some time — a simultaneous purpose of this is we can better update our records in case something else happens; 2020 taught us that you just never know what’s around the corner.”

Volunteers work from home, Bilodeau said, and those interested in helping can sign up at jp2me.org.

“A lot of the things we’ve been hearing is, ‘Thank you so much for calling. It’s so good to hear from someone,'” he said.

Bilodeau said the parish is grateful for the volunteers.

“We are so appreciative of those volunteering to help with our St. John Paul II Parish virtual phone bank as we attempt to check in on so many of our parishioners who are relegated to their homes due to COVID,” he said. “This effort will truly help us as a parish in our efforts to unite closer as the Body of Christ.”

Besides serving as an outreach program, the phone bank also allows parishioners to stay involved in the church, Bilodeau said. Many activities have had to be cancelled.

“So much of what the Catholic church does is a ministry of presence and just being there from people,” he said. “I think more than anything people have just enjoyed hearing from our volunteers.”

St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth, St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough, and St. John and Holy Cross Parish in South Portland joined to form the new St. John Paul II Parish in July of 2020.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: