Diocese of Ogdensburg
Octave of Service
May 19 – May 26     

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of our Diocese, parishes and Catholic organizations are invited and encouraged to participate in the Octave of Service from May 19th through May 26th.  The Octave of Service is an opportunity to carry our various forms of outreach in their communities while living out the Gospel values of encounter and accompaniment, journeying together as disciples in mission.  


Octave of Service projects should focus on supporting and improving your community as well as cultivating relationships with others, including through prayer. These opportunities could be new initiatives as well as initiatives with which your parish has already been involved.   Please keep in mind that COVID-19 has drastically changed the landscape of volunteering. Many parishioners may not yet feel able to join in in-person projects, but may be able to join as prayer support, or provide service behind the scenes from home.  


While the Octave of Service is an eight-day event, parishes are not expected to carry out service every day of the week. At least one day of service, though, should be planned.   The following are possible schedules a parish can use throughout the week:        

  • One day of service with everyone participating in the same project.
  • One day of service with different groups at various sites throughout the community.
  • Multiple days of service with different groups participating in different projects

Each day can be dedicated to a particular group or issue, whether it is through service or prayer, such as:    

  • May 19 : Hunger and Homelessness
  • May 20: Racial justice
  • May 21: Addiction
  • May 22 : Youth
  • May 23 : Care for Creation
  • May 24 : Incarceration
  • May 25 : The Sick and Dying
  • Ascension Thursday : Displaced Persons (immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers)


The Octave of Service is a great opportunity for collaborative efforts among different groups, or even with those closest to you. Consider if the following groups offer feasible opportunities for partnership.

  • Other Catholic parishes or churches in your area 
  • Community organizations such as food pantries and community resource centers 
  • Campus ministries or schools 
  • Within families  


The Octave of Service allows us to put our Catholic faith into action, but any project or activity should be rooted in prayer and spiritual reflection. Consider including the following opportunities throughout your week of service:

  •  Starting and ending each service project in prayer or the daily readings.
  •  Including those that you are serving in your Mass intentions. 
  •  Scheduling a rosary or prayer service during the week for vulnerable populations. 
  • Asking the homebound and those who may no t be able to participate in person, to pray for the project(s).  


What follows from the Octave of Service is just as important as the week itself. The Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg commitment to walking with those in our communities who are most in need should, and must, continue long after the projects have concluded. Consider this week not as a one-time event, but as an opportunity for your parish to kickstart a growing effort of outreach and justice.


Before the Octave of Service
 Save The Dates

  • Ensure your parish is informed about the Octave of Service dates via the website, bulletins, Flocknote, etc. and that the dates are blocked off on the parish calendar. 
  • Include save the date reminders in your parish’s electronic and print communications. Volunteer Recruitment 
  • Create a process for individuals to sign up for specific projects, volunteer time slots, or prayer time slots.

During the Octave of Service

  • Encourage participants to post on social media throughout the day. 
  • Send photographs with the corresponding site and service information to the Diocese via news@northcountrycatholic.org. 
  • Ensure that permission is granted before taking anyone’s photograph. 
  • Keep track of numbers that can be used for post-event communication. Examples include miles of highway cleaned, cards written, meals delivered, and hours prayed. 
  • Ensure all applicable Safe Environment protocols are followed if youth are participating in service events.

After the Octave of Service

  • Publish the results of your impact through your parish and send the information to the Diocese by emailing stories and photos to the North Country Catholic at news@northcountrycatholic.org
  • Send a hand-written thank you card to any main point of contact your group worked with at the site locations. Include a group photo if available. 
  •  Ask volunteers, including any youth who participated, to write a short reflection from the Octave of Service for your parish’s bulletin and website and the North Country Catholic.

Some Ideas

  • School Improvement – Carry out improvement and beautification projects for a school such as painting walls, fixing up a playground, or general cleaning. 
  • Fundraise or partner with Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities provides many services for populations that need assistance. 
  • Adopt a Highway, Road, or Beach – Adopt a local piece of land and clean up trash and debris in that area. Consider planting some flowers and trees as a culminating event. 
  • Beautify a Cemetery – Clean the grounds of a cemetery by raking, pulling weeds, or restoring headstones. ·
  • Assist a Neighbor – Identify neighbors in need of food delivery, home repairs, or yard clean up. Include hand-written cards to give to the residents. Cards could also be made for nursing home residents. 
  • Visit the Homebound – Many of our neighbors are alone and lonely. Organize a visit. 
  • Food PantriesAssist at a local food pantry bystocking shelves, helping with inventory, and distributing food. Consider hosting a food drive for the facility prior to visiting the site. 
  • Jails and Prisons– Write cards of encouragement to those who are incarcerated at your local jail, prison, or detention center (*special rules may apply). 
  • Hospitals – Write cards of encouragement to those who are hospitalized as well as the janitors, nurses, and doctors at the facility. 
  • Advocacy – Use the USCCB’s resource Civilize It to prepare your parish for the elections


Bury the Dead 
Tobit 1:16 – 22; 2:1-8  

  • Pick up trash at a local cemetery 
  • Send cards and flowers to a grieving family
  • Make food for a family who has suffered a loss 
  • Visit a gravesite to pray and put out flowers or flags 
  • Donate to a cause that is special to a family who has lost a loved one
  • Help pay bills related to funeral expenses (cantor stipends, church donations, reception, etc.)

Clothe the Naked
  Ezekiel 18: 16-18  

  • Crochet or knit hats for cancer patients 
  • Make masks and put them in a “free” basket at your parish 
  • Donate suitcases and duffle bags to foster care organizations 
  • Donate clothes to those recently released from jail or prison 
  • Clean out your closet and donate to an organization or a family in need 
  • Collect baby items for mothers in need and donate to a local pregnancy resource center

Feed the Hungry 
Isaiah 58:10  

  • Donate food to a local food pantry 
  • Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through
  • Send a surprise pizza to a teacher, nurse, or service worker
  • Bring meals to someone who is sick, recently had a baby, or an elderly neighbor
  • Make “Blessing Bags” for your car to hand out to those in need (healthy snacks & toiletries)

Give Drink to the Thirsty
Isaiah 55:1  

  • Purchase reusable water bottles and donate to a local school 
  • Donate water to shelters, police/fire stations, or organizations collecting for an emergency situation 
  • Leave a bottled drink and packaged snack on your porch for those that make deliveries to your home. Include a Bible verse or letter of encouragement

Shelter the Homeless 
Deuteronomy 15:10-11  

  • Donate or build items for Habitat for Humanity homes 
  • Donate to an organization that helps find homes for returning citizens 
  • Donate furniture to refugee families or migrant farm worker residences 
  •  Use plastic bags to crochet plastic sleeping mats for the homeless. Click for instructions

Visit the Imprisoned 
Hebrews 13:1-3  

  • Donate to a local bail fund 
  • Write letters to those who are incarcerated 
  • Donate Bibles to your local jail, prison, or detention center 
  • Write or call your representatives about issues related to incarceration, including state and federal executions, bails, and juvenile sentencing ·
  • Offer rides to family members of prisoners on visiting days
  • Pray for prison chaplains

*Note: There can be many restrictions with sending items to jails, prisons, and detention centers. Check with your parish’s prison ministry group or the facility itself to learn what the rules are.  

Visit the Sick 
James 2:1-26  

  • Plan a family or parish rosary for the sick and dying 
  • Write get-well cards for patients at a local hospital 
  • Plan a Zoom call with someone who is ill at home or in a hospital 
  • Gift items for someone who is sick, such as books, board games, and snacks Plan a visit to a nursing home, bring flowers

Admonish the Sinner
Luke 17:3  

  • Lead others towards the best choice in a situation 
  • Kindly and privately talk to a person you have difficulties with to resolve the issue
  • Receive the sacrament of reconciliation and encourage a family or friend to join you 
  • Remind others that little things add up. Gossiping or fighting with siblings are actions that pull us away from Christ. 
  • Host a family or parish discussion on the sin of racism using Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter Against Racism

Bear Wrongs Patiently 
Philippians 2:3-4  

  • Be slow to anger and less judgmental of others around you 
  • Go out of your way to show love for or get to know someone you may have judged in the past 
  • Learn about the practice of Restorative Justice and how this can be used in your family, school, or workplace to resolve conflicts

Counsel the Doubtful
  John 14:27  

  • Donate time or money to local mental health organizations 
  • Paint rocks with uplifting messages and leave them in parks near your home 
  • Encourage someone to speak with a priest, counselor, or spiritual director 
  • Say a rosary for those contemplating suicide or struggling with depression Learn what legislation you can support that helps those with mental illnesses

Comfort the Sorrowful 
Peter 5:5 – 11

  • Pray for families who have lost loved ones 
  • Create an uplifting social media post every day for a week 
  • Offer comfort by baking cookies, making a meal, or sending a card 
  • Create encouraging yard signs and place in the yards of your neighborhood
  • Have a family Zoom session with someone who is struggling with loneliness or loss

Forgive Offenses Willingly 
Matthew 18:15-35  

  • Give someone a second chance 
  • Accept apologies with grace and kindness
  • Pray a rosary that victims of crimes and their families will forgive their offenders 
  • Research Saint Maria Goretti and ask her to intercede for you if you are struggling to forgive someone

Instruct the Ignorant 
Timothy 3:16-17; 4:1-5  

  • Start a family Bible study 
  • Commit to learning about a new Saint every day 
  • Write about a social justice issue in your parish’s bulletin or local newspaper 
  • Teach others about Catholic Social Teaching by posting one principle of CST daily on social media

Pray for the Living and the Dead 
John 17:24  

  • Pray through journaling once a day by yourself or as a family ·
  • Make homemade rosaries and deliver to others with a prayer card ·
  • Attend Adoration or pray a Rosary, Chaplet, Holy Hour, or Novena for a marginalized community ·
  • Start a prayer group chat with friends and family members, lifting the prayers up at the end of each day

Visit the Diocese of Ogdensburg’s Public Policy.    

Life and Dignity of the Human Person 
Every human person is created in the image of God and so the dignity and life of each person must be respected.    

Call to Family, Community and Participation 
The human person is not only sacred, but social. Marriage and Family are the building blocks of society. All work for the common good.   

We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers and must stand together in the pursuit of justice and peace.      

Dignity of Work 
Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a participation in God's creation. The rights of workers must be respected.    

Rights and Responsibilities
The right to life is the right that makes all other rights possible. We have a right to a decent life but also the responsibility to make a decent life possible for others.    

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
God has a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, and we too are called to have a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. The measure of our society is how we care for the least among us.    

Care for God's Creation 
We are stewards of God's creation and must care for creation and be guided by a concern for generations to come. SEE https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/  (Laudato Si' Action Platform)  

Prayers of the Faithful

Christ the Lord bore our infirmities and endured our sufferings. He went about doing good, leaving us an example to follow. Having Christ's charity as the foundation of all we do, let us pray to him, saying: 
R. Lord, teach us to serve our sisters and brothers.  

  1. For the sick and disabled, including those suffering with mental illness, that Christ, who understands pain and suffering, will grant them faith and perseverance in their trials so they will know His healing comfort and grace. We pray to the Lord.
  2. For people who are elderly, that we might cherish their presence in our midst and drink deeply of their wisdom; and especially all the people in nursing homes, that we would be inspired to reach out to them, giving them the love and attention, they need. We pray to the Lord.
  3. For those on the margins of our society, especially the refugees and immigrants who have fled their countries to escape war and persecution or to look for better livelihoods, that they do not grow weary and lose heart, but instead know God’s gracious and abundant mercy and love. We pray to the Lord.
  4. For those who do not have equal access to quality education, that they may be granted opportunities for intellectual growth and achievement regardless of their race or economic status, and that we may be advocates of pursuing justice for the youth and schools of our communities. We pray to the Lord.
  5. For those who experience persistent hunger or food insecurity, they may have greater access to nourishing food and be given the physical strength necessary for carrying out their daily lives. We pray to the Lord.
  6. For women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, that they may find the spiritual, emotional, and material support they need to care for both themselves and their child, and that they might find strength in the Lord on their journey of motherhood. We pray to the Lord.