Service & Outreach

Christian Service

Bereavement Ministry

Our goal is to assist families at the time of the death of a family member.  There are different levels of involvement in this most rewarding ministry: at the Funeral Liturgy – usher, greeter, reader, Eucharistic Minister.  We also provide: follow-up cards and calls during the year following the death

Contact Sr. Darlene Wessling at ext. 113


Communion to Our Homebound

Our goal is to be sure that our homebound parish members and those that may be temporarily homebound following a hospital stay are brought communion and visited weekly.

Contact Sr. Darlene Wessling at ext. 113


Emergency Meals

During times of particular need we provide assistance to families.  The parish has such services as emergency meals to help families through short-term crises times (a child hospitalized, for example).

Contact:  Parish Office 676.9111


Funeral Luncheons

We seek to comfort families of our parish in their time of need by providing a luncheon for their guests after a funeral.  This is a great way to get involved in church without having to spend too much time away from home.  Volunteers are essential – thank you for assisting us.

There are three different ways you can help:

  1. Make or buy a salad or dessert when called upon
  2. Be a worker—be willing to work the day of the funeral
  3. Be a Team Leader – be willing to work the day of the funeral and lead the workers

In order to contact you, we need your e-mail address.  With over 200 volunteers it’s easier to send a mass e-mail to get responses.  Please feel free to call if you prefer that method of contact.

Contact: Parish Office 616.676.9111



Grief Support Groups

Perhaps you have lost a loved one during the last year or so.   Everyone else has gotten back to “normal” but your life has been changed forever by this loss.  You’d like to share the grief you are still experiencing, but do not wish to burden family or friends.  Sr. Ann Michael facilitates a grief support group in Fall and Lent.  Please watch the bulletin for dates and times.

Contact Sr. Darlene Wessling at ext. 113


Retirement & Nursing Home Ministry

Our goal is to make sure the spiritual needs of the Catholics in the ten facilities that we provide Catholic Chaplaincy for are met. This includes weekly communion, brought by volunteers; Mass on a scheduled basis; and Anointing of the Sick, as needed.  Most volunteers are assigned to bring communion one week each month. You would either conduct a communion service on your scheduled week, or visit the rooms of the patients / residents with communion.

Contact Sr. Darlene Wessling at ext. 113



This outreach program pairs a St. Robert’s family with a needy family from Grand Rapids for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.  Parishioners supply the ingredients for a festive holiday meal and deliver before the holiday.  Those who sign up for Christmas can choose to provide gifts or a meal or both for the family.  A great family, neighborhood or workplace project.

When: Thanksgiving, Christmas

Contact: Mary Koval   or


Blood Drives

Blood Drives are held at the parish to help fill the need for blood at area hospitals. We hold a blood drive every 8 weeks (exception: holiday/ spring break) to make donating blood more convenient. Locations for the drives are held in Newminster Hall depending on availability. You may be eligible to give blood every 56 days if you are a healthy person age 17 or older (or 16 with parent’s/guardian’s consent), weighing 110 pounds or more. ID is required to donate.   Donating Blood FAQ – visit  For online appointments Versiti Blood – 616-774-2300

Contact: Suzanne & Michael Lunn (parishioners & chairpersons)


Boy Scout Troop 290 is open to boys from grade 6 to age 18.  This program teaches leadership skills and promotes duty to God and country.

Contact: Bill Day              616.405.3108




Dégagé Ministries

Did you know that St. Robert’s supports a free meal for around 150 people the first Friday of each month downtown at Degage Ministries?  Volunteers from St. Robert’s cook and serve lunch once a month.  The 3 hour commitment by parishioners is a labor of love and volunteers always comment on how much fun they have serving others!  We are in need of more volunteers.   If you would be interested in volunteering, please contact Chris Bonnema at 616-450-6538

When and where:  The 1st Friday of each month at the downtown Dégagé facility.


Detention Center Ministry

For Incarcerated Teens

This is a ministry to teens detained in the Kent County correctional facility.  A monthly birthday party with cake, ice-cream, gifts and recreational activities is provided by St. Robert’s adult and teenage volunteers.  There is a need for appropriate role-models and fellowship with age-mates.

When and where: 2nd Saturday of each month at the Youth Detention Center.  Contact: Robert & Annie Fields 616.940.0867


Employment and Resource Network (EaRN) – St. Robert Work Search Roundtable

The St. Robert Roundtable is an affiliate of the Employment and Resource Network and provides a support group and career coaching to unemployed and people in career transition.  The group meets here every other week Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 am, and presents a varied program.  More information about EaRN can be found at their website:

Contact: Bill Weitzel, 616.446.1873    Email:
Please also visit  NetWork 2 NewWork is Golden Rule Networking as you are searching for employment.

English as a Second Language (ESL) at Holy Name of Jesus

English as a Second Language (ESL) at Holy Name of Jesus

The Holy Name of Jesus (HNJ) Parish Adult English Language program began in 2004 as an outreach to our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters, assisting in their integration into society and becoming more productive and engaged citizens. While focusing on English language acquisition, students also learn valuable life skills that benefit their families, community and workplace.

Parishioners from St. Roberts have played an integral role as volunteer teachers in this program at our sister parish.  As the HNJ mission statement reads: ordinary people involved in the extraordinary.  We welcome new and substitute teachers! Fall classes are held from September-November and winter classes are held from January-March.  Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday (am and pm classes).  Teachers commit to teaching one class per week (2 hour class plus 1-2 hours preparation time).  Teacher’s manuals and training provided.  Spanish knowledge helpful but not required.

Contact:   Suvey Garcia   Email:



Food Drive (Weekly)

One can of tuna and you’ve helped!  Help make a difference for our hungry in Grand Rapids. We support three local food pantries: The Other Way Ministries, Trinity Reformed NW Food Pantry, and Migrant Workers Outreach. They rotate and pick up donations each Monday morning. Non-perishable food and personal care items can be placed in the baskets at Church entrances at any time. Updated  “needed items” lists are available on the bulletin board in the gathering space and St. Robert’s website.  Your donation will multiply as did the loaves and the fishes!

Contact:   The parish office   676.9111


Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that is committed to building decent, affordable, quality housing for families in need. St. Robert’s built its first Habitat for Humanity home in 1997.  We build one house a year, helping financially and with efforts from our stewards. When we start construction we need volunteers of all skill levels and work areas, including people to help supply meals, clean-up people, and beginning and experienced builders.  Working for Habitat for Humanity is a very rewarding ministry and the opportunity to help is right here in our backyard.  These homes help change people’s lives and it is easy for YOU to get involved.

Contact: Rick Nichols 616.682.0009


Knights of Columbus

Bishop Kevin Britt Council 8117: With over 70,000 members in Michigan and 1.6 million worldwide the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization.  It provides members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to various charities,  the Catholic Church, the community, families, and young people.  When and where: The 3rd Tues of each month in a TBD classroom or the Marian Chapel.

Contact:  Grand Knight  Steve VanderLaan

Cell phone:  616-540-5020.

Email: and


Knitting for Charity

We are a group who knit and crochet for charity.  You only need to have basic knitting and crocheting skills to participate.  You can knit as much or as little as you wish, there is no specific time commitment.  We don’t meet on a regular basis, this is done on your own time.  We knit or crochet rectangles (following specific directions which we will provide to you  – they are also HERE) and then assemble them into and then assemble them into blankets for children in crisis.  These are donated to Catholic Charities of West Michigan.  We also donate cotton dish cloths and baby blankets.  If this sounds like something you would be interested in, we would love to have you join us in this ministry.

Contact:  Roxy Stawicki              616.682.9137


or Rachael Villalobos              616.957.1708



Operation Santa Claus

This is a community program providing food baskets, clothing, and toys to people in the Ada / Cascade area.  Volunteers are needed to call on families in need, shop for clothes and toys, sort food, wrap gifts, and make deliveries.  Most volunteers are needed during daytime hours.  A collection is taken early in December to help finance the project.

When and where: October to January at Cascade Christian Church

Contact:  Marie Russell  616.262.0643



Renucci Hospitality House

The Renucci Hospitality House provides affordable, home-like accommodations for families whose loved ones are hospitalized at Butterworth and Blodgett hospital and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.  St. Robert’s will provide a dinner for these families the first Monday of every month.  We need volunteers at the Renucci house to cook, serve and clean up after the meal.  We also need volunteers to prepare desserts.  We start at 4 PM and finish about 7:30 PM.

Contact:  Anna Crawley 616.949.3833



Respect Life

The Respect Life Committee (RLC) is a parish group that seeks to reinforce St. Robert’s commitment to honor the sanctity of life from the moment of conception to natural death.  Our RLC carries out this goal by various means, especially by educating our parishioners about pro-life issues and by supporting HELP Pregnancy Crisis Aid which is our local Catholic crisis pregnancy center.  Our committee is anti-abortion and we follow the teachings of the Catholic Church in regard to abortion and the USCCB in regard to pro-life activities.

Contacts:  Jean Stojak 616.676.2031  Email:

or Cheryl Heise  260-615-1860


Senior Citizen Picnic

An annual party for needy senior citizens from local nursing homes and senior centers from the Grand Rapids area and from St. Ann’s Parish in Baldwin MI. Guests are invited on the basis of need.  We offer a luncheon, entertainment, games and prizes. Volunteers are needed for decorations, food preparation, serving, set-up, clean-up, pushing wheel chairs, socializing.  Gifts and raffle prizes may be donated throughout the year. If you can help, contact one of us.

When and where:  On a Saturday in the summer here at St. Robert’s.

Contact: Cindy Ritter 616.676.1948


or Catherine Jacobs 616.634.6032



Transportation (to Mass) Ministry  

This group provides rides to Weekend Mass for those elderly who are not able to drive themselves.

Contact: Sue Perry 616.940.1868