Human Concerns/Justice & Peace

The Human Concerns Ministry seeks to lead St. Edward's parishioners in the fulfillment of the Gospel call to love of neighbor and the Church's call to action on behalf of justice. The Human Concerns Ministry seeks opportunities to respond to the needs of the deprived, disabled, neglected, incarcerated and oppressed in the parish, in our community and in the world at large. Of equal importance, we promote legislative advocacy for a consistent ethic of life including the rights of the unborn; we also promote advocacy seeking economic and political justice for the oppressed and empowerment of the marginalized in our society.

Green Envelopes for Human Concerns are provided monthly to parishioners to support this ministry. This fund provides direct assistance to people in crisis situations for rent, utilities, food, and gas. 

The Human Concerns Committee meets monthly on the second Tuesday. It is the umbrella for all of the ministries listed below and also has the following responsibilities:

  • Review and recommend funding for local organizations who work with the poor
  • Sponsor educational and justice programs or speakers.
  • Click here for information about Catholic Social Teaching.


Just Faith


Haiti Ministry

St. Edward’s twin parish in Cerca Carvajal, Haiti is Holy Family Parish. We have been in relationship with them for almost 30 years, and parishioners are invited to participate in the yearly trip to visit our friends at Holy Family. They have a parish school with about 900 students, a newly reconstructed church, a medical clinic, etc. Parishioners are able to sponsor a student, participate in a medical advisory team, as well as show other means of support for our twin parish. Click here for more information. 

Prison Ministry

There are currently 33,000 inmates in Virginia state prisons. There are 28,000 more inmates currently in city, county and regional jails. 95% of these 61,000 prisoners will be released at some time back into the general population. St. Edward Prison Ministry would like your help in responding to the gospel mandate from Jesus Christ to care for prisoners (MT. 25:39) and to help them reenter society as productive citizens.
Currently, parishioners visit two prisons on a regular basis. A St. Edward/Epiphany group goes to Deep Meadow weekly. Contact Tom Petersik at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info. A group of women visit the Central Virginia Correctional Unit 13 (women’s prison) on Courthouse Road monthly. Contact Cheryl Sobolewski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.

Food Pantry

Please remember people who aren’t able to purchase enough food to feed their families! It’s as simple as bringing a few canned goods with you to Mass on the weekend. All food donated to our food pantry is distributed three ways: to people seeking food assistance from the small pantry at the parish office; to the food pantry at Sacred Heart Center on Perry Street in Southside Richmond which serves the Latino community and other nearby residents; and to Bainbridge Community Ministry who has a pantry on Hull Street and which provides food for the elderly and the working poor. You can leave filled grocery bags near the Food Pantry storage closet in the Commons.

Interested in volunteering? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.
Click here for a list of suggested items for our food pantry.

The Micah Initiative: Mentoring at Westover Hills Elementary

The Micah Initiative is a partnership program between churches, synagogues, mosques and other communities of faith in metropolitan Richmond and the Richmond Public Schools for the purpose of supporting the education and the nurture of the children of Richmond. Visit their website!
Mentoring: Join us as volunteers at Westover Hills Elementary School! There are 387 students at the Richmond city school ranging from preschool through fifth grade. The school is located at 1211 Jahnke where Forest Hill and Jahnke Rd intersect. There is a need for lunch buddies, tutors in reading and math, and more … School hours are 8:10-2:30. An hour a week makes a difference in a child’s life. Please contact Alicia Meyer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info.

Homeless Shelter Meal Assistance

There are teams of parishioners who prepare and serve meals once a month at various meal sites in the city. Check the bulletin for any current needs.
Friends of the Homeless: A team of parishioners prepares and delivers lunch on the 4th Friday at Swansboro Baptist Church.
Family Shelter: A team of parishioners prepares and delivers the evening meal on the 1st Friday.
Family Liberation Services (formerly Freedom House): Two teams of parishioners prepare, deliver, and serve the evening meals on the 2nd Monday and 4th Friday.
Men's Emergency Shelter: A team of parishioners prepares, delivers, and serves the evening meal on the 2nd Monday.
In addition, we have our meatloaves and brownies program. All parishioners are invited to help feed hungry people who come to St. Peter’s downtown for an evening meal. Parishioners cook meatloaves and brownies throughout the month and drop them off (wrapped in freezer wrap or aluminum foil) in the freezers of the church kitchen on the weekends or at the parish center during the week. Our parish is responsible for providing food for about 50 people on the first Wednesday of every month.

Appalachia Ministry

A team of parishioners visits far southwest Virginia, volunteering at the Remote Area Medical event in Wise County in July.

Here’s a recap of our trip to Appalachia July 22-26, 2021:

WARNING: Long update ahead! You can find the shorter version/Facebook post with photos on our page!

Two parishioners accompanied me to Norton, VA to work with parishioners at St. Anthony on the backpack/school supply project. This year we had a very small group because of the pandemic. Thank you to the many St. Edward parishioners who made donations toward the purchase of 300 backpacks, 100 string bags, and school supplies and toiletries to fill them all! 

Thursday: We left Richmond about 10:00am and about 3:30pm arrived at Jubilee House in Abingdon for a brief retreat. Jubilee House is the last remaining Catholic retreat center in our Diocese. If you are ever in Abingdon and need a place to stay, tell them you are from St. Edward! It’s so peaceful and overlooks a field of cows in the mountains and it’s right down the street from downtown. And the home-cooking can’t be beat. 

Friday: After our retreat, we drove another 1.5 hours to Wise, a small town which was our base for the remainder of the trip. It’s about 10 minutes from St. Anthony in Norton. We met with St. Anthony parishioners to set up tables that night in preparation for packing the backpacks the next day. St. Anthony is biggest parish in the Holy Trinity Cluster of parishes You can learn more about these four tiny parishes at the link. 

Saturday: The long day. Our day began with a hearty breakfast outside at the home of St. Anthony parishioners Jane and Gordon. They have a beautiful garden and they picked the blueberries in the muffins themselves. Then some parishioners met us at the Walmart with their trucks to pick up all the supplies to take back to St. Anthony where we spent the rest of the day sorting and packing…and packing…and packing. Some parishioners from St. Joseph’s in Clintwood came over to help, too, including Sr. Bernie Kenney, who started the Health Wagon 40 years ago! 

Each string bag for high school students included folders, binders, loose-leaf, notebooks, pens, sticky notes, shampoo, deodorant, and body wash. Each backpack for younger students contained folders, notebooks, composition books, a pencil box, pencils, highlighters, crayons, index cards, pencil sharpener, a ruler, and scissors. Also included were two special donations from two St. Edward parishioners. Someone donated pencils that said “Wishing you a great school year! -- St. Anthony’s, Norton; Sacred Heart, Big Stone Gap; St. Joseph’s, Clintwood; and Holy Spirit, Jonesville.”  Someone else donated hundreds of hand-made masks that she lovingly made, so we placed one in each backpack. 

The backpacks were shared with the parishes in the cluster to distribute to families in their local communities. Wise County DSS and the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth also received backpacks. Everyone was so very grateful. 

Sunday: We attended liturgy at St. Anthony; their numbers swelled to about 40 folks that day, the most since before the pandemic. The Mass intention was for the parishioners of St. Edward. Their community prays often for our parish community, in gratitude. Fr. Eric invited me to speak, so I shared that our parish was grateful to work with their parish on this project the past few years, and help them be a strong Catholic presence in their community, so if someone is in need, they know the Catholic Church can help them. 

Then we visited Family Crisis Support Services that afternoon. The roots of this organization date back 30 years when two Catholic religious sisters started a small shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Now it has grown to have a family shelter, advocacy programs, a thrift store, a rapid re-housing program, and a youth outreach center, where youth have access to a food pantry, a clothes closet, a hang space, and a room with computers where they can get help with school work (very popular during the pandemic.) The University of Richmond is donating several of their Covid isolation trailers to this organization:

 Monday: Before leaving town, we visited the Health Wagon You might remember when Paula and Teresa visited St. Edward a few years ago and we had a second collection for the Health Wagon. It was started 40 years ago by Sr. Bernie in her little Volkswagen driving to see the folks in the hollers to provide medical care. In previous trips, we’ve worked with the Health Wagon at the Remote Area Medical clinic

Because we received more donations after we purchased all the bags and supplies (plus extra), we were able to send donations to purchase more school supplies to help families get ready for school to St. Anthony’s, Holy Spirit, and Family Crisis Support Services. Thank you so much for your generous support of this project!

Refugee Resettlement

St. Edward has helped to resettle families who arrive in Richmond with refugee status. We have worked with families from Afghanistan and from Burundi. Currently our volunteers work with a family from Burundi who arrived in 2007. Volunteers help the children with tutoring and by providing recreational opportunities for them. If you would like to help with this family, please contact jThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In addition, Commonwealth Catholic Charities is one of the few organizations which helps resettle newly arrived refugees. They have a need for volunteers as well as household donations. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Habitat for Humanity

Our parish works with Powhatan Habitat for Humanity. Notice will be put in the bulletin when we need volunteers.

Rise Against Hunger


Shalom Farms

Legislative Advocacy

The Virginia Catholic Conference represents the Diocese of Richmond and the Diocese of Arlington. The Conference engages in advocacy with state and federal lawmakers and with grassroots advocates throughout the Commonwealth.
You can get email alerts on current legislation, and easily send an email to your state and federal legislators. Make your voice heard! Register online.

Catholic Social Teaching

The seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching:
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
Rights and Responsibilities
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
Care for God's Creation


Thank you to everyone who donated an Easter basket!

The response was so great! Your generosity allowed us to collect over 100 Easter baskets for families served by Commonwealth Catholic Charities and children served by the programs at Sacred Heart Center.

Staff asked me to make a video about this, so here it is, with a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!



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