As Catholic Christians, we are called to be the living Body of Christ in a world in need, and that involvement in ministry is a response to our baptismal call. Our Incarnation community is known throughout Charlottesville for our compassionate and generous response to people in need. The ministries listed below are some of the ways we reach out to our brothers and sisters within and beyond our parish. To learn more or get involved, reach out to Sheila, our Coordinator of Justice and Charity, in the office or by ">email.
Angelic Gifts: Every year, leading up to Christmas, we work with Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia (PCCV), and Region 10 Project LINK, as well as our own parish outreach ministries, to identify individuals or families who could use some extra assistance during the holidays. After collecting information about clients’ needs and wants, we invite parishioners to “adopt” someone and shop for one or more of the gifts they requested. In a season of abundance (and always), we believe it is so important to be aware of and reach out to our brothers and sisters on the margins.
Alternative Giving Fair: Sometimes we get caught up in giving the latest gadget for Christmas. It’s important to remember the true spirit of this holiday, and maybe take advantage of this opportunity to give in a different way. Incarnation hosts an Alternative Giving Fair every Advent. We offer fair trade items for sale, and encourage parishioners to purchase “Alternative Giving” cards, donating in someone’s name to various ministries and nonprofits.
Community Garden: We are delighted to celebrate God’s creation through our community garden! Parishioners can sign up for a plot in early spring, and together we use organic methods and rain water to cultivate bounty using God’s gifts. We want our garden to be a place where our whole community feels welcome and can learn! Bring kids into the garden too so that they can learn more about where their food comes from and how we can take care of God’s gifts of creation. However, please do not walk on the beds, and be sure to shut the gate behind you.
Emergency financial assistance: We are one family in Christ, and that means taking care of our brothers and sisters experiencing hard times. If you or someone you know is having trouble paying their bills, please call the office at 434-465-2671 or email the ">Coordinator of Justice and Charity. You can also check out the United Way Quick Guide for other local resources, or these guides to Covid-19 resources in English or Spanish.
ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages): Both the Incarnation teachers and students have commented on how much they benefit from crossing language and cultural differences and getting to know people from different backgrounds than themselves.Generally, these classes occur on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, although they are currently on hold because of the pandemic
Food Ministry: One of the most important works of mercy is feeding the hungry. Our parish food ministry distributes food every Sunday from 1:30-4:00pm. In order to make this work, we need lots of help! Check out our Food Ministry page for more details, and to get involved, head to our schedule page!
Habitat for Humanity: Incarnation partners with the local Habitat for Humanity to participate in build days every two months on a Saturday. People of all ages are welcome to come and help! Look for dates in the bulletin, and the sign-up sheets in the Narthex. We need people to get involved as builders (no experience is necessary!), lunch organizers, and photographers. Once you sign up, you will receive more details about the build day from your Day Coordinator. The commitment time is usually 8:45am-3:30pm.
Health Ministry: In partnership with the Latino Health Initiative at UVA, we provide blood pressure screenings and talks about maintaining good health. We are currently hosting drive-through Covid-19 tests every Monday in our main parking lot, to follow Jesus’ example in ministering to the sick. If you would like more resources on how the current pandemic is impacting our faith community, the Diocese of Richmond has a page on the coronavirus (also available in Spanish).
Migrant Ministry: During the summer months, we visit migrant camps twice a month to build relationships and celebrate Mass with the men there. This is a great opportunity to participate in fully bilingual ministry and share fellowship with people from many different backgrounds!
Prayer Shawls: Inspired by nurses in our health ministry, we have parishioners who crochet and knit shawls for people experiencing sickness or loss. Check out the page for more details or to get involved, and call the office if you would like a shawl for yourself or a loved one.
PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry): We shelter the homeless for two weeks every winter as part of PACEM, a traveling shelter housed in churches. Check out our ministry page for more details!
Pastoral Care: Visiting the sick and bringing communion to those who can’t come to Mass is incredibly important. Check out the page about that ministry for more information and to get involved, or sign up here to have communion brought to your home.
Prison Ministry: We have an active prison ministry to Spanish-speakers in the community. Each week, a team of parishioners visit the local jail to talk with and minister to inmates there, supporting them on their journey and letting them know of God’s love for them. We also have several parishioners involved with Kairos, a retreat experience in a women’s prison, and centering prayer in prisons.
Salvation Army Dinners: Join fellow parishioners from Incarnation as we provide dinner at The Salvation Army on the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. More and more local families are seeking help from The Salvation Army meals program as a result of the depressed economy and the problem of inadequate affordable housing in our area. You can help by joining a team to prepare meals and to serve our brothers and sisters who are struggling.
St. Vincent de Paul: The St. Vincent de Paul Society is an international confraternity that focuses on helping its members grow in virtue by following Christ’s example of service to the poor. In Charlottesville, the three Catholic parishes have teamed up to form the Holy Trinity conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. We are still in the process of putting together our conference, so feel free to come to a meeting or reach out for more details. We meet on the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 pm, and the third Tuesday of every month at 4:00 pm in the conference room at Incarnation. For more details, feel free to reach out to Sheila at Incarnation’s office, or ">Mark Ross, the new president of our conference. For more details, here is the national web site for the Society and the page for our local Holy Trinity conference,
Community Partnerships: We collaborate with other organizations in our local area to serve people in need, especially the ones listed below. Feel free to reach out to Sheila if you’d like to see Incarnation partnering with another organization!
- Casa Alma, the local Catholic Worker Community with an urban farm and houses of hospitality
- Alliance for Interfaith Ministries, which provides financial assistance and referrals to non-parishioners
- Sin Barreras/Without Barriers, an immigrant outreach and advocacy organization
- Thrive Women’s Healthcare (formerly Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia), to help women with reproductive healthcare needs, including pregnancy medical care and counseling