What began in 2021 as St. Isidore Corps has evolved into St. Isidore Fund. The evolution is worth explaining!
When we first met Father Paul Dumais at the small church of St. Joseph’s in Farmington, Maine, we were struck by his charism and his presence. We could see that he had made an impact not only in Farmington, but also in Jay where he is also the pastor of St. Rose of Lima, about 25 minutes away. As we got to know Fr. Paul, we were increasingly struck by his resourcefulness and his ingenuity when it came to his duties as a pastor of these two parishes in Maine.
Fr. Paul told us of his desire to reach those in his parish who might not be attending Mass regularly or who simply needed the attention that was often hard to receive in a rural community where people live far from a parish or might lack basic needs. It was in understanding this need that a ministry was born. We began funding summer missionaries to assist Fr. Paul in these pastoral and community needs. Two missionaries made the trek from Charlotte, North Carolina to Central Maine while another came from close by to work before he left for the seminary. Yet another missionary came from Florida to work for just a few weeks in between a few other missions for which he was involved. That summer they all worked closely alongside Fr. Paul and also in the parish life assisting with the faith formation summer program, at the parish food pantry and thrift store, and even baking bread to sell at the local farmer’s market for the parishes.
Named after the patron saint of farmers and rural life, St. Isidore Corps had begun.
And that missionary who came from Florida to work for just a few weeks? Well, he stayed for two years! Christopher Speigal was our full-time missionary for St. Isidore Corps and helped to make the transition to St. Isidore Fund. We will always be grateful to Christopher for the example he set on what it means to truly be open and listen to God’s call.
And God is good. St. Isidore Corps has officially developed into something else – a fund to continue the work the missionaries started.
While the summer mission work was productive and hugely helpful to Fr Paul, we recognized that we could be of assistance in an even greater and more efficient way. By offering financial aid by means of a grant to the parish for ongoing projects, such as the development of a maternity home based in the college town of Farmington, Maine, we could provide value and important ongoing funding.
In the past, we focused on providing a ministry of presence (making home visits to over 150 homes of parishioners of St. Rose of Lima and St. Joseph was just one of the ways we accomplished this), and in the future, our focus will continue to be on parish life and community. It is our belief (especially in today’s world) that to be present to others is a way to connect with those in the community and in the parish family in a unique and personal way. This is one of Father Paul’s gifts and one of the goals of the St. Isidore Fund – to provide necessary financial assistance to projects that connect with those in the communities and parishes in rural Maine.
Service commitment becomes financial assistance for St. Isidore Fund:
What began as in-person service and missionary activity has developed into a consistent financial commitment to assist Fr. Paul Dumais and his important work in the communities of rural Maine. Based on grant applications, SIF will evaluate each year’s financial assistance to emphasize the most urgent needs of the parish and community.
Other projects we are involved in:
Closer to home, The Catholic Company has had a long-term relationship with The Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) who have a monastery in Monroe, North Carolina, only about 45 minutes from our offices in Charlotte. The Saint Isidore Fund is a part of our ongoing contribution of resources and missionary help to the MOP and to other organizations in rural North Carolina that need spiritual and material assistance.
Every purchase of Catholic Coffee also supports the work of The Saint Isidore Fund.
For more information about St. Isidore Fund, or to inquire about an application, please email Whitney Hetzel at [email protected].