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

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

May 9 POWIR Update

During a time when we are all feeling so isolated and unable to help our struggling brothers and sisters in tangible ways, our POWIR group continues to support our newly arrived Rwandan Refugee family on a weekly basis. Emile, Rosine, Thierry, Gentil, Gentille, Jeanine, and Gideon are happily settled in their beautiful new apartment in Revere. Our POWIR volunteers continue to delivery groceries, maintaining appropriate social distance, on a twice weekly basis. Last week Catholic Charities interviewed some of our cherished POWIR members about their experience resettling this family during the COVID19 pandemic. That footage will be an integral part ...
Read More

POWIR Update: Welcome Home Rwamuhinda Family!

We are so happy to be able to share some wonderful news - our POWIR family, Emile and Rosine Rwamuhinda and their children, are now settled in their new apartment in Revere!  As you will recall, the family arrived in Boston on March 18, and have been staying in temporary housing in Quincy while we worked with Catholic Charities Boston to secure permanent housing.  Late last week, we received word that an apartment would become available on Monday, March 30 – and that the family would need to move in on Tuesday, March 31.  This seemed like an impossible task, ...
Read More

They’re Here! Some Good News in a Difficult Time…

It is with hearts brimming over with joy we announce the truly miraculous arrival of our new POWIR family, Emile and Rosine Rwamuhinda and their children, in Boston! The family landed at Logan Airport today at 2:20pm. During these unimaginably difficult days and circumstances, Catholic Charities and our POWIR Team remained uncertain whether they would actually be able to come until the very last moment. As we explained in last week's bulletin, Emile and Rosine and their children fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007, and they’ve been living in a refugee camp ever since. We were notified during ...
Read More