A parishioner faced an overwhelming financial burden when she received the bill for her car repairs. Car troubles started to keep her from attending daily Mass and adoration, and there was no social agency or mechanism to help her.
During this difficult time, another parishioner discreetly suggested she reach out to Damon Sexton, Director of Social Outreach.
“If you have an immediate financial need, there are resources at the Cathedral for you,” Damon says. “In a private and respectful way, we addressed that financial barrier that was keeping this parishioner from entering the presence of God. The Church truly cares for you and is here for you.”
Approximately 20 years ago, Fr. Gino Donatelli started the One Fund, and it was initially funded by one monthly collection during which parishioners gave whatever they could. Fr. Donatelli used his discretion to decide how the funds would be used for community members in need.
When Damon came on staff at Christ the King on May 15, 2022, he learned more about this unique ministry. While some agencies have strict rules and policies regarding how to apply for funding and what kinds of situations can receive funding, the One Fund can be more flexible.
“If I receive a request that might be outside the bounds of what and how we would normally give, I can go to Fr. John Moriarty, explain the situation, and ask for his guidance,” Damon says. “With the approval of our pastor, we have flexibility to utilize the One Fund to ensure that our parishioners from Christ the King have basic needs met.”
In addition to using the One Fund to support parishioners in terms of basic needs, Damon also works with parishioners to find other external sources of funding if applicable. Recently, a parishioner asked for help with his air conditioning, and Damon was able to find a grant through the city to support getting it fixed.
“I have seen God’s love and mercy pour out through the ministry,” Damon says. “The people receiving this support are the most vulnerable. It is such a quiet ministry, but you make an immediate impact at a time when people have usually exhausted all other options.”
On average, the Cathedral receives 100 calls a month asking for support. Usually, an individual can receive funding from the One Fund once within a 12-month period, but if they reach out again during that period, Damon works with them to find other possible funding opportunities.
“I would be happy to work with someone to find more resources, and at the same time, I will share the Good News with that person,” Damon says. “I will probably ask about your relationship with Christ and your faith journey.”
The Cathedral follows up with every single person who receives support through the One Fund, especially if someone has recently experienced a loss. One way to become involved with the One Fund is through offering to follow up and help people become connected not only with resources, but also with each other in our faith community.
“My goal is to connect people to the parish so that they’ll have someone to sit with at Mass and have other community opportunities as well,” Damon says. “Contact me if you want to help with calls.”
Today the One Fund is supported by the weekly offertory. Each week, five percent of the offertory is set aside for outreach, and the One Fund is one of those outreach ministries.
“We don’t have a set budget for the One Fund,” Damon says. “The more people give, the more they are giving indirectly to outreach. If a parishioner wants to donate directly to the One Fund, they certainly can do that.”
Anyone who is experiencing a need can reach out to Damon by calling or emailing him. If you’re in need but are hesitant to reach out, another parishioner can contact Damon to begin the conversation.
“This is a unique ministry that impacts people who are in financial, emotional, and spiritual need at a vulnerable time,” Damon says. “It is an opportunity to do good works but also to be a witness.”
For more information about the One Fund at the Cathedral of Christ the King, reach out to Damon Sexton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-269-3771.