Volunteer Spotlight: St. Dominic Church Talks the Talk and Walks the Walk

The following article appears in the fall 2019 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Read the full newsletter here.

Many parishes that support Joseph’s Home talk the talk and walk the walk of serving the most vulnerable in our community by sharing the love of Christ. Some even go beyond that call to expand their impact to residents and inspire amazing acts of service and generosity from parishioners. St. Dominic Church in Shaker Heights has been doing just that.

Rick Stuhan, a member of the Joseph’s Home Board of Directors and St. Dominic parish member, knew the two groups would be a good fit. He connected St. Dominic Pastoral Associate Jodie Bowers with Joseph’s Home Development Manager Madeline Wallace, which was the start of what has become an ongoing, growing relationship.

“It is shocking that Joseph’s Home stands alone in providing respite care to medically fragile homeless men—men no longer eligible to remain in acute care hospitals, but unable to function on their own,” said Rick. “Joseph’s Home helps its residents to help themselves. It is incredibly rewarding to know that St. Dominic’s efforts are making a real difference.”

Through St. Dominic’s Project Serve program, a group of parishioners earlier this year began preparing and enjoying dinner with residents on the third Saturday of each month. As part of the program, parishioners volunteer at various greater Cleveland agencies and organizations, seeking the face of Christ in those most in need.

What began as a partnership to provide parishioners with “an avenue to put faith into action through service to the local community,” has turned into a friendship that far exceeded the expectations of Joseph’s Home leadership.

St. Dominic chose Joseph’s Home to be the beneficiary of its 2019 “Rise Up” Easter Project collection, which annually collects more than $20,000. As part of the project, Joseph’s Home staff presented information to parishioners about the ministry and its mission, and former resident and current Resident Support Associate John Seawright shared his story of healing and hope. Through their generosity, St. Dominic parishioners raised $24,000 to help provide vital support to the men of Joseph’s Home.

In addition to the ongoing meal ministry, St. Dominic partnered with Joseph’s Home to recently host Project Serve Junior Camp as an educational opportunity for middle school aged parishioners to learn about Joseph’s Home and complete a service project. St. Dominic also invited Joseph’s Home residents and staff to attend its summer block party.

Rick said that contributing to the mission at Joseph’s Home is at least as rewarding to him as a parishioner as it is to the residents served, “perhaps more so.” He added, “The residents are profoundly grateful for the services they have received. That’s what they tell me when I interact with them. But I don’t need to hear it. I can see the gratitude in their eyes. I can only hope that other parishes will take the same path and partner with Joseph’s Home. The need is enormous and we currently have the resources to reach only a small fraction of those who require respite care.”