Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Meridian, Idaho, is the type of parish most pastors dream of shepherding. Nestled deep in the heart of Idaho, where the vast majority of the population is Mormon, Holy Apostles, with 3,000 families, stands as a beacon of Pope Francis’ call for the new evangelization in the Church.
Led by its pastor, Father Len MacMillan, the parish averages 100 people per year in its RCIA program. Additionally, its religious education program complements its grade school, St. Ignatius, which was built three years ago. St. Ignatius has 400 students and has had a waitlist since its opening. The school participates in Cross Catholic’s Box of Joy program, which brings Christ’s love and joy during the Christmas season.
The parish also has partnered with Cross Catholic by hosting an Outreach Priest each Lenten season for the past 13 years. Parishioners translate the sacrifice and almsgiving of Lent into a practical expression of mercy, compassion and love as they respond each year with immense generosity to Cross Catholic projects.
Besides its commitment to the good works that Cross Catholic promotes, the parish also sponsors a mission trip with a group of parishioners each year to visit Cross Catholic missions in Belize. This experience gives the parish a hands-on opportunity to not only see the good works of mercy that Cross Catholic engages in, but also take part in the projects. The groups then bring that witness back to the parish and share how the poorest of the poor have impacted their own faith.
Fr. Len has not only visited the missions in Belize himself, but he also served as an Outreach Priest with Cross Catholic before becoming the pastor of Holy Apostles. He was so impressed by the good work of Cross Catholic that he wanted to share its mission with his parish. Holy Apostles is truly committed to helping the poorest in the world through its ongoing commitment to the work of Cross Catholic Outreach.
Fr. Len said, “My parishioners have grown in their faith through this relationship with Cross Catholic, and this partnership has helped them look beyond the parish boundaries to see the work of the global Catholic Church as it ministers to all the faithful — especially those most in need. Our relationship with Cross Catholic has been a blessing for the parish.”
Holy Apostles continues to grow and be blessed through its commitment to the social teachings of the Church. Its parishioners continually reach out with selfless works of mercy through their own food pantry, their work with the Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the countless acts of kindness they engage in every day.
This improbable location for such witness serves as a challenge to all parishes here in the United States. It offers an important reminder that, through faith and good works, the mission of mercy and love brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ is achievable.