Hopewell parishoners reach out to the sick and elderly

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - The doors of St. James Catholic Church date back to 1950. It’s a place for believers to embrace and grow their faith, but the church can also be found outside of this building.

For homebound seniors who can’t make it to church, the “sisters of the heart ministry” has been their saving grace.

Julie Carter is a member of the church.

“It makes them feel valued. It shows them that they’re still a part of our church community and they’re not alone. They’re still in our hearts and we want to make sure they know that,” says Carter.

She’s a huge supporter of the woman leading the charge, Barbara Zello.

“I want people to know, there are angels here on earth and Barbara is one of them. Barbara is forever going, she’s got more energy than anyone. I could never do all the things that she does,” says Carter.

On holidays like Easter or Christmas, Barbara and her team head to a nearby assisted living facility to minister to members who are sick or shut-in.

Mass is now live-streamed and a bluegrass gospel band performs at the facility a few times a month.

“For a lot of these people, they are not able to get up and do a lot of things and I think it’s very entertaining for them,” says Bill Newman, a member of the band.

Barbara’s passion to help the elderly is rooted in her love for her parents and how the church took care of them once upon a time.

“I lost both my dad and my mom but I’ve seen what they’ve done with 1500 members in their parish. There were people going to see my parents and it made me really think we need to do this in a small community. It’s a very important part of me and you see people who don’t have anybody especially when we go with the bluegrass jam session,” says Zello.

That commitment is why Julie wanted to acknowledge Barbara with the NBC12 Acts of Kindness. It comes with $300 dollars and a $50 dollar gift card to Mexico Restaurant. It was a special moment, for a special woman, on a special mission.

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