About the POWIR Ministry Program

The St. John-St. Paul Collaborative Service Commission, in partnership with dedicated parishioners and staff, has established a POWIR program to assist Catholic Charities Boston with immigrant and refugee resettlement.  

POWIR (“Parishes Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees”) is a program of the UCCSB that engages local churches to recruit and utilize volunteers to mentor and provide other needed support to newly-arrived refugees. The program places a special focus on building parish partnerships in which a parish sponsors a refugee family for a designated period of time.  

POWIR programs have helped thousands of refugee clients find places to live, make friends, learn English, find work, receive pro bono legal counsel and medical services, and achieve social integration.


Updates from the SJSP POWIR Program

They’re Here!

Our POWIR committee is overjoyed to share with you the arrival of the Afghani family we will be supporting in the coming year. They arrived at Logan Airport on Friday afternoon at 4PM. Mom, Dad, 2 year old boy and 1 year old baby girl are happily settled into their new home in Boston. Our housing volunteers worked tirelessly on Thursday and Friday preparing a warm and welcoming home for the family thanks to all of your generous donations. We are still gratefully accepting financial contributions to their resettlement efforts, and any volunteer support you feel prompted to give. From ...
Read More

Donations Needed for Afghani Family

Our St. John-St. Paul Collaborative POWIR committee is overjoyed to announce that in the coming weeks we will be welcoming a refugee family from Afghanistan. Our housing committee has secured an apartment in the Newton/Brookline area for the family. Targeted donations for their apartment needs are being solicited in both churches this weekend - look for the envelopes on the clotheslines at the main entrances. Drop off for these specific items will be in Powers Hall at St. John's from Tuesday, October 26 through Thursday, October 28. We are in great need of financial contributions as well! We ask you ...
Read More

Helping a Family from Afghanistan   

We are pleased to announce that our Collaborative Service Commission and POWIR committee have decided to sponsor a refugee family from Afghanistan. Once again, we will be partnering with Catholic Charities in this effort. This year Catholic Charities is collaborating with the Jewish Community Relations Council. Our brothers and sisters at Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley will also be sponsoring a family and we are looking for creative ways to work together! Our POWIR co-chairs Barbara Viechnicki and Barbara Weidlich will be looking for as much engagement as possible from parishioners. We implore you to lend a hand. We need ...
Read More

2021 Collaborative Lenten Gift Collection: This Weekend, March 20-21

Our Lenten Gift collection for the St. John-St. Paul POWIR Ministry will be taken up at all Masses in both parishes this weekend, March 20-21. Please place your donations in the 2021 Lenten Gift receptacles in the entryways of the churches. Donations may also be made online anytime on our website, and checks may be mailed to or dropped at either parish office. (When giving by check, please note “2021 Lenten Gift” in the memo.) In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us not only that we must love our neighbors – without boundaries – but that our ...
Read More

Our Lenten Gift Story Week 3: The Road Ahead

During the first three weeks of Lent, we have presented information about refugee resettlement and the work of the SJSP Collaborative to support refugee resettlement in partnership with Catholic Charities of the Boston Archdiocese. Our work is ongoing. Despite the challenges of coping during a world-wide pandemic, POWIR volunteers have responded at every possible opportunity to meet the needs of our most recent family, the Rwamuhindas, as well as that of the Congolese and Honduran families who came before. We remain committed to ensuring a full and independent integration for the Rwamuhindas. For your role in making this complete commitment ...
Read More

Our Lenten Gift Story Week 2: The Rwamuhinda Family

Last week, we introduced the St. John-St. Paul POWIR Ministry Fund as the recipient of our 2021 Lenten Gift. The POWIR (Parishes Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees) program is an initiative we began in the fall of 2019, with the help of Catholic Charities, to support refugee families. This week, we want to share the story of the Rwamuhinda family, the first family that we have supported from their initial arrival in this country. Almost exactly one year ago, we were overjoyed to learn that we would soon be welcoming the Rwamuhinda family from a refugee camp in Rwanda, ...
Read More

Our Lenten Gift Story Week 1: The POWIR Ministry Fund

Last year, in 2020, our plan was to use our Lenten Gift to establish a St. John-St. Paul POWIR Ministry Fund to support our ongoing immigrant and refugee resettlement work in partnership with Catholic Charities Boston. POWIR (Parishes Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees) programs have helped thousands of refugee clients find places to live, make friends, learn English, find work, receive pro bono legal counsel and medical services, and achieve social integration. Unfortunately, the campaign had to be put on hold due to the cessation of Masses and all of the uncertainty surrounding the Covid19 pandemic, but a number ...
Read More

POWIR Update: The Rwamuhinda Family

Firstly a thank you! The Rwamuhindas would like to thank the generous parishioners who provided and helped to decorate  a Christmas tree and to all those who helped to provide beautiful Christmas gifts for them. The family were delighted to be able to celebrate their first Christmas together in the US and they feel very connected to the Collaborative, praying with us via the online Masses each week. They especially enjoyed watching our Lessons and Carols on Christmas Day! They are continually grateful for all the love and support that parishioners have extended towards them and are eagerly anticipating meeting ...
Read More

Reunited! The Rwamuhinda Family

Members of our SJSP POWIR group were at Boston Logan Airport last Friday evening when the Rwamuhinda family was finally reunited! As many of you are aware, we were praying with expectant hearts for their daughter Peace to be allowed to make the journey to her new home in Boston. It is truly a miracle that this has happened, and a tangible result of the outstanding efforts of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement. Peace is 21 years old and has lived alone in the refugee camp in Rwanda since early March when her family was finally able (after a 13 year wait) to resettle ...
Read More

Wonderful News from Our POWIR Group!

Our SJSP POWIR group who, as many of you know, have been supporting a recently arrived family from a refugee camp in Rwanda, have wonderful news to share! The Rwamuhinda family arrived in mid-March, amidst the chaos of the outbreak of the pandemic. It was a miracle of God's grace that Emile, Rosine and five of their six children were settled in Revere. Catholic Charities and our SJSP POWIR group received the news that the Rwamuhinda's eldest daughter, Peace, will be arriving on Friday, August 21st into Boston! A small group of our volunteers, and Catholic Charities will be escorting the ...
Read More