Every day the Catholic Church in Michigan provides services to those most in need. Health care, immigration and refugee assistance, food and clothing, foster care and adoption, and addiction and domestic counseling, are just a few of the services Catholic agencies have provided for decades — without regard to race, religion or ability to pay. In fact, after the government, the Catholic Church is the largest provider of education, health care, and social services across the state and the country.

In Michigan, the Church’s impact is strongly felt by people of all backgrounds and faiths through the work of Catholic schools, hospitals and health centers, and charitable agencies. Each of these entities serve as inclusive and diverse components of local communities, motivated by faith and in the spirit of ‘loving thy neighbor.’ Regrettably, mandates from the federal government in recent years have made it difficult for faith-based agencies to serve others in a manner consistent with that agency’s religious beliefs. Federal restrictions, in effect, discourage religious agencies from carrying out their faith in the public square, particularly as it relates to the provision of services.

In an effort to share with citizens of the state the help and assistance that Catholic agencies provide others, especially the most vulnerable, Michigan Catholic Conference and the seven arch/dioceses in Michigan have produced a series of short films and television commercials. Titled Freedom to Serve, this project clarifies that faith is more than an hour of private worship at Mass each week. Faith informs and drives Catholics — and others of goodwill — to love their neighbor, to be concerned for their well-being, and to provide material and spiritual assistance that uplifts and promotes the dignity of each and every person.

While efforts continue in Congress and through the judicial system to alleviate burdensome and unnecessary mandates that have been placed on religious persons and institutions, the Catholic Church’s charitable, education, and health care entities will go forward with their mission to serve others — in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. These entities are administered and staffed by persons who do not leave their religious beliefs at the doorstep - it is who they are from morning until night. The Catholic Church and its institutions will continue to cherish this freedom to serve others, free from unnecessary government mandates or restrictions.

Please send us your thoughts about the short films and television commercials that have been produced for this Freedom to Serve project. We would also be happy to put you in touch with a local Catholic agency if you are interested in volunteering. If you have any questions, or would like to share how the Church’s freedom to serve has impacted you or your community, email FreedomToServe@micatholic.org.

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