Diocesan Programs and Ministries that Help the Poor


About the Diocese of Arlington

Guided by the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Arlington seeks to serve the growing needs of the less fortunate in our Diocese and throughout the world.

Through our various programs, ministries, and missions we strive to not only serve the poor but also provide them with a transforming encounter with Christ.

We invite you to learn more below about the different ways that our Diocese serves the poor and how you can help us tackle the causes of poverty and injustice in the region.

How we serve the poor

Below is a list of the different capacities in which the Catholic Diocese of Arlington serves the poor in our Diocese. To learn more about each program and how you can support the Diocese of Arlington in their efforts, click one of the links below:

<-- Return to the 2018 World Day of the Poor page


2017 Diocese of Arlington WorkCamp Recap video

The Banica and Pedro Santana Mission

The Banica and Pedro Santana Mission is a missionary partnership between the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia and the Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana, that serves over 13,500 poor communities in the rural area of the Dominican Republic on the border of Haiti.

In 1991 the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, entered into agreement with the Bishop of San Juan de la Maguana to adopt two parishes: the Parish of Banica and the Parish of Pedro Santana.

By adopting these two parishes, the Diocese of Arlington has been able to provide the 60 impoverished communities there with priests, volunteers, and generous material support.

How we serve the poor through the Diocese

In addition to providing for the spiritual needs of Bánica and Pedro Santana and the surrounding area, the Mission has also taken several service projects up through the years to meet the daily and educational needs of the parishioners. Some of these projects include:

  • The establishment of a K-8 parochial school
  • Adoration chapel built
  • St. Vincent de Paul society created
  • Chapels, pews and sanctuaries constructed
  • Faith-based reading program
  • Home building and restoration projects
  • Scholarships to help students attend universities and summer school
  • Scholarship for job training
  • Alternative Spring Breaks for students from nearby VA colleges such as Marymount University , Christendom College , and George Mason University

The Diocese of Arlington also gives funds to FUNDASEP (Foundation for the Development of Azua, San Juan, and Elias Piña) which helps bring improved sanitation and water, pharmacies and infrastructure to many parishioners in the area. FUNDASEP runs Radio Corazon, a station used by bishops to broadcast programs to the Dominican Republic.

How to get involved

In the Dominican Republic thirty percent of the population exists under the poverty line, with many communities dealing with a large-scale lack of sanitation systems, rampant disease and parasites, illiteracy, and alcohol abuse.

Due to this extreme poverty, the Arlington Dominican Mission is always in need of funds to help with her daily apostolate. Any donation made is greatly appreciated. The mission at Bánica is also funded by the Bishop's Lenten Appeal.

To make a personal donation, please visit the Diocese of Arlington Missions Donation page by hitting the donate button below and please be sure to select "Bánica Mission" from the dropdown menu for the "Fund" field.


You can also mail a check to:

Diocese of Arlington Mission Office
905 Park Ave
Falls Church, VA 22046

Make sure to include Bánica in the memo lineAll donations are tax-deductible.

For those interested in volunteering at the mission, applicants must meet and complete the following requirements:

  • Be interviewed and screened by the Diocese of Arlington
  • Take a short trip out to Bánica and Pedro Santana to experience the rigors of the lifestyle
  • Be interviewed by the pastor at Bánica and Pedro Santana.

For more information on volunteering, please visit the contact page at the Banica Mission website.

The Missions of Bánica and Pedro Santana also needs a great deal of spiritual support.

If you can make the firm weekly commitment, please register as a Bánica Mission Auxiliary by contacting us. As an auxiliary you will offer either a Rosary or your Holy Communion for the Mission every Monday throughout the year.

If cannot make this commitment, the Diocese asks that you simply remember to keep our Church family in the Dominican Republic in your prayers.


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Catholic Charities Together Uplifting Families video

The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) seeks to strengthen individuals, families, and communities by providing services and resources to those in need while empowering the Catholic community join in their efforts and do the same. Catholic Charities serves the poor in numerous ways, including family counseling, immigration services, jobs ministry, prison ministry, food pantries, and family transitional housing.

How we serve the poor in the Diocese

To learn more about how Catholic Charities serves the poor and you can get involved visit our Catholic Charities Programs for the Poor page.

To read about the impact Catholic Charities is making in the Diocese please visit the Catholic Charities blog.

How to get involved

Interested in volunteering for Catholic Charities? Visit the Volunteer Opportunities page on the Catholic Charities website.

Christmas is around the corner!
Learn how you can donate to the Catholic Charities Christmas Collection.


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Catholic Relief Services logo 640 480px

Catholic Relief Services of the Diocese of Arlington

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas. Since its founding, the organization has expanded to reach more than 100 million people in 101 countries on five continents.

In the spirit of Catholic social teaching, CRS strives to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person in their day-to-day work. Although its mission is rooted in the Catholic faith, it serves people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity, helping them to reach their full potential and to realize their dignity as children of God. Within the United States, CRS helps Catholics to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and suffering people of the world.

How we serve the poor in the Diocese

CRS also provides grants to programs and ministries that help relieve hunger and poverty in our own diocese.

How to get involved

There are numerous ways you can participate in the work CRS is doing right here in the Diocese including jumpstarting or leading CRS programs and events in your parish, schools, youth groups, and college campuses. To learn more about the opportunities available please visit our Catholic Relief Services page.

To help parishes learn about and observe the World Day of the Poor, Catholic Relief Services has created a parish packet you can download with prayers, homily helps, general intercessions, and a bulletin insert for your parish.


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Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Founded and operated by our U.S. Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Church, working to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities.

How we serve the poor in the Diocese

As a monetary grant program, CCHD helps people in need acquire the skills and resources to move out of poverty and live independently and with dignity. CCHD accomplishes this task by funding projects that help people start businesses, gain job skills, and learn how to work together with others to improve their communities.

CCHD also educates those who are not poor about poverty and its causes. Through their program, Catholic faithful are provided with opportunities to share monetary resources with CCHD and give time to work with CCHD projects in the Diocese.

How to get involved

The work of CCHD is funded through the CCHD Second Collection taken up annually in our Diocese every November. Seventy-five percent of the amount collected is distributed through CCHD’s national grant program, and twenty-five percent of the funds collected stay in the Diocese to fund local anti-poverty efforts. We also have two nationally-funded projects located here in the Arlington Diocese. See how your contributions help lift up the poor in the Arlington Diocese.

This year's collection for the CCHD program will take place on Sunday, November 19.

Donations can also be mailed to:
Office of National Collections
Catholic Campaign for Human
P.O. Box 96278
Washington DC 20090-6278


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Project Rachel (Help After Abortion)

Project Rachel is a nationwide ministry that was founded in 1985 to help those who have been involved in or affected by abortion. In numerous dioceses through the world, specially-training priests, religious, counselors, and laypersons provide care for those suffering in the aftermath of abortion. The ministry offers pastoral counseling, support groups, retreats and referrals to licensed mental health professionals as well as Sacramental Reconciliation referrals.

How we serve the poor in the Diocese

While surveys show that low-income women are more against abortion than other women, economic realities have sadly pressured many to act against their convictions.

In a 2005 study, 73% of women undergoing an abortion said not being able to afford a baby now was a reason for the abortion. That number rose to 81% for women below the federal poverty line. And while the abortion rate for American women declined by 8% between 2000 and 2008, among poor American women it increased by 18%.

Project Rachel aims to minister to these men and women affected by abortion by providing them with the proper services and tools (listed above) to recover.

How to get involved

There are essentially two ways to contribute to the important work Project Rachel is doing in our Diocese.

The first is to promote healing after abortion by becoming a Project Rachel Parish Promoter in your own local parish community.

The second way you can help is by making a monetary contribution to Project Rachel.

To make a donation to Project Rachel, you can give online by credit card or make a check payable to "Project Rachel" and mail to:

Project Rachel
c/o Catholic Diocese of Arlington
P.O. Box 1960
Merrifield, VA 22116-1960


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The Gabriel Project (Pregnancy Assistance)

In 1973 the pastor of a small parish in Texas put a sign outside his church conveying the parish’s commitment to providing help to mothers with crisis pregnancies who came to them for aid. Within a couple decades, this simple outreach of charity grew and, with the aid of the Corpus Christi and Galveston-Houston dioceses, became "The Gabriel Project."

Since then, The Gabriel Project has spread to parishes across the United States and has received enthusiastic endorsement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As a pregnancy outreach program, The Gabriel Project helps all women facing crisis pregnancies (including single mothers, teenagers and minors) by offering care and support to them and their family in need, regardless of education, race, religion, financial, or marital status, free of charge.

The Gabriel Project also seeks to help women understand their true dignity by offering emotional support through Gabriel “Angel” volunteers who will walk with a woman step by step along her journey of motherhood by offering friendship and letting her know that she is not alone.

How we serve the poor in the Diocese

A sad reality for many pregnant mothers is that they not only carry the blessing of new life, but also the burden of poverty. Many of the pregnant mothers who seek assistance from The Gabriel Project are below poverty level, sometimes separated from families, uninsured and usually single.

Gabriel Project offers support to these women by providing a variety of resources and services including:

  • Car seats
  • Child birth education
  • Counseling
  • Employment assistance
  • Financial assistance
  • Food assistance
  • Housing
  • Legal assistance
  • Material assistance
  • Natural family planning
  • Adoption
  • Public assistance
  • Pregnancy resource centers

In the past year alone, the Diocese of Arlington's Gabriel Project program has helped more than 290 pregnant women in crisis, including providing $227,443 dollars in medical and financial assistance.

How to get involved

There are a few ways to support or contribute to the efforts of The Gabriel Project in our Diocese.

For those wishing to volunteer at the parish level, there is a whole host of opportunities you can learn about in the Gabriel Project - Parish Volunteer Opportunities flyer. For more information about the listed opportunities, you can call The Gabriel Project for the Diocese of Arlington at 1-866-444-3553.

During the Advent Season, you can also start a Gift for Life campaign in your parish. For this campaign you'll setup a "giving tree" in the vestibule of your parish and decorate it with tags requesting donations to help expectant mothers, children and families in need. To learn more, please visit the Gift for Life campaign page.

Another way you can really help is by making a monetary contribution to The Gabriel Project.

Donating to The Gabriel Project in the Diocese of Arlington is as simple as giving through our online portal or writing a check payable to "The Gabriel Project" and mailing it to the following address:

Gabriel Project
c/o Catholic Diocese of Arlington
P.O. Box 1960
Merrifield, VA 22116-1960


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2017 Diocese of Arlington WorkCamp Recap video

Diocese of Arlington - Youth WorkCamp

WorkCamp is an annual, week-long summer service program where teens from across the Diocese gather in a spirit of prayer and humble servitude to help the less fortunate in our Diocese by making their homes warmer, safer, and drier.

During the week of June 23-29, more than 800 teens from 40 parishes break out into over 160 work crews. These crews venture out to approximately 130 sites where they repair and improve the safety and accessibility of homes for those in need.

Every evening of that week, the teens assemble to encounter Christ through inspiring talks, song, games, and opportunities for confession and adoration.

How we serve the poor in the Diocese

Workcamp provides teens with the opportunity to serve residents in our Diocese who are disabled mentally, physically, or financially by working on home repair and renovation projects including the following:

  • Replacing broken, unsafe, and old windows and doors in houses and mobile homes
  • Building or repairing wheelchair ramps, decks, and egress stairs to provide a safe exit from home for disabled people
  • Increasing safety, functionality and access to bathrooms for disabled people through redevelopment and renovation
  • Replacing shingle roofs for protection from the elements
  • Coating mobile home roofs to protect from deterioration and seal minor leaks
  • Performing major trash removal to ensure a safe living environment for residents

How to get involved

Parish stakeholders are already looking for volunteers to serve as adult crew leaders, contractors, security volunteers, and more.

If you are an adult interested in volunteering, or a teen interested in attending, contact your parish stakeholder for information on how to sign up. If you are unsure of who your stakeholder is, please contact your parish Director of Youth Ministry or contact The Office of Youth Ministry (703-841-2559) and we will help you get connected to your parish leaders!

Registration for WorkCamp 2018 will begin in December 2017. Adult leader training will be held in March.

For updates and access to resources, meetings, training and more please visit the WorkCamp 2018 program page.


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Diocese of Arlington - Scholarship Foundation

The Diocese of Arlington Scholarship Foundation is a tax-credit approved initiative that provides scholarships to new students in our Catholic schools who come from low-income households.

Through the contributions of donors like you, the Scholarship Foundation is able to provide less fortunate children with the gift of a life-changing Catholic education.

To learn how you can contribute to the Scholarship Foundation and receive a 65% tax credit please visit our Scholarship Foundation page.

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