Choir rehearsal at Catholic Charities St. Martin de Porres Senior Center.

April is National Volunteer Month...

...and Catholic Charities has 2,150 reasons to be grateful. That's how many volunteers from throughout the diocese bring their time, expertise, talent, and love to our ministries and make a significant impact for our vulnerable neighbors. We are grateful for the gifts they offer!

Treating the Sick with Dignity

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Pat Wheatly, Volunteer for the Retreat for Persons Facing Serious Illness

Last October Catholic Charities revived its in-person Retreat for Persons Facing Serious Illness, which was virtual during the pandemic. The priest-led retreat includes a dedicated team of volunteer doctors, nurses, and aides and offers spiritual rejuvenation and solace to those navigating the challenges of serious illness.

Mary Pat Wheatly has volunteered at the retreat for more than two decades. “It touches my soul,” says Mary Pat, a St. John Neumann parishioner and health policy professional. “I feel called to help and pray that my service helps.”

The retreat focuses on upholding the dignity of individuals experiencing serious illness and their caregivers. “I think that only people who face serious illness, and their caregivers, really understand the different challenges they have,” she says. “I love that for a weekend they can come just to be a child of God.”

Retreat volunteers spend several months preparing, through prayer and formation with other team members, and dedicate the entire weekend to serving others. Once onsite at San Damiano Spiritual Life Center, volunteers help ensure retreatants are comfortable throughout the weekend. They supply snacks, assisting with songs or meditations, or assist however needed.

Mary Pat recalls one encounter when she simply brushed an attendee’s hair. The woman remarked how long it had been since she experienced such dignity in such a basic task. “It was a profoundly humbling experience.”

To serve at or attend the next retreat on September 27-29, 2024, contact the Office of Volunteers at

Helping Newcomers Feel at Home

Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Johnson, Volunteer at Migration and Refugee Services

Ann Johnson’s call to serve her brothers and sisters in need runs deep. “My desire to volunteer also comes from the charism of my parish, Our Lady Queen of Peace, which focuses on service to others.”

Like many volunteers, she applies her professional background and skills to help others. A history teacher, Ann helps newcomers who are studying for the U.S. citizenship exam. Her latest client just passed her exam and plans to participate in one-on-one English conversation classes this summer.

Refugees need housing and jobs that match their skills. To help them achieve these goals and to better welcome them, she says, “we need more volunteers to mentor, tutor, and assist with English conversation.” With volunteers like Ann, Catholic Charites not only welcomes the newcomer, but helps them thrive!

Register for a volunteer information session or email

Accompanying Our Elderly Neighbors

Ministry Spotlight: St. Martin de Porres Senior Center in Alexandria

Do you enjoy spending time with your grandparents or older neighbors? If so, Catholic Charities St. Martin de Porres Senior Center in Alexandria provides volunteers the opportunity to accompany seniors by offering fun, intellectual, physical and spiritual stimulation, all while preventing loneliness.

Monday through Friday this ministry offers seniors a chance to socialize with others, play games, exercise, do arts and crafts, and engage in meaningful conversations – and have fun! Seniors also enjoy a complimentary lunch and fellowship. Always eager to learn more, they benefit from technology lessons, including how to use their smartphones to stay connected with their children and grandchildren.

Our Senior Center has ample volunteer opportunities with flexible time commitments. Volunteer groups are also welcome. Legion of Mary members from Queen of Apostles parish and Knights of Columbus come weekly to pray the Rosary and sing. Please consider volunteering with our seniors! See opportunities here or contact Maria Mellor, Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteer Opportunities

The vital services we offer at Catholic Charities would not be possible without the support of volunteers — people just like you. If you sense you are being called to serve through Catholic Charities, please explore these volunteer opportunities to learn more about how you can help. Our most urgent needs are highlighted below; a complete listing can be found here.


Food Pantry Volunteer

Assist with sorting, packing, stocking, and organizing food items at our new Alexandria pantry.

Location: Alexandria, VA

Contact: Maria Rodriguez, Volunteer Coordinator


Senior Center General Support Volunteer

Assist with games and activities, serve lunch, build senior health kits, basic computer and smart phone tips, and more.

Location: Alexandria, VA

Contact: Maria Mellor, Volunteer Coordinator


ESOL Teacher (In-person or Virtual)

Help with teaching ESOL-virtual or in-person, and many other subjects. No foreign language ability necessary, all materials and training provided.

Location: Manassas, Falls Church, West Springfield, or virtual

Contact: Sedeka Haque, Volunteer Coordinator


Apartment Decorator

Assist with preparing the apartments for maternity and transitional housing ministry for single mother and their children, i.e., setting up furniture, making beds, decorating the rooms with artwork and other small décor items, etc.

Location: Woodbridge, VA

Contact: Kristin Coleman, Volunteer Coordinator

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