SOUTH BERWICK — Prayer shawls have been made for centuries and offer comfort, warmth, and embrace to people in need of them. The gift of a prayer shawl enables the recipient to be surrounded by prayer and is a tangible reminder of God’s care and love, encouragement, and inspiration.

Prayer shawls can be used to console those who are grieving, comfort those who are ill, bring hope to those in despair, or celebrate life. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on the way. Those who make the shawls and those who receive them are equally blessed by the experience as they make a world of difference.

That’s a sentiment felt strongly by Pam Landrigan, an administrator at Our Lady of the Angels Church in South Berwick.

“About 10 years ago, I had a significant medical issue and was gifted a prayer shawl from a friend,” she said. “It was amazing to me the physical, spiritual, and mental comfort that it provided me by simply wearing the shawl whenever I felt the need. Since that time, I’ve always wanted to facilitate a prayer shawl ministry to bless others as I have been blessed.”

The moment has arrived for Pam, who began working at Our Lady of the Angels since September.

“I’m a ‘retired’ Catholic School teacher and I enjoy working as an administrator, but I also have a passion for ministry.”

After getting settled into her new position, she knew what she wanted to do to utilize that passion for good.

“St. Raphael Church in Kittery has a prayer shawl ministry, so I had conversations with a few parishioners over the past few months to gauge interest in South Berwick and this past week, I spoke with a parishioner at Mass and decided to send the request along to Fr. Scott Mower, who embraced it wholeheartedly!” she said. “My returning to the workforce and landing at Our Lady of the Angels, which I believe was a ‘God wink’ moment, has provided me with this path.”

To start, the new Our Lady of the Angels Prayer Shawl Ministry group will meet monthly in the parish hall of Our Lady of the Angels, located on 162 Agamenticus Road in South Berwick, on the last Tuesday of each month from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The first two meetings are July 26 and August 30. Anyone is welcome to participate, and finished shawls will be available to gift to anybody free of charge.

“If it’s been a while since you have picked up your knitting needles or crochet hooks, it’s okay. Please consider joining us to bless others with your talents,” said Pam.

Donations of yarn can be dropped off at the church during the week, before and after weekend Masses, or by calling 207-384-7006.

The official start of the group is the fulfillment of a dream for Pam, but it’s only the beginning.

“I’m so happy and excited to build and grow this ministry,” said Pam. “I pray that building this ministry will lead to other ones here at Our Lady of the Angels, further building community among parishioners and serving members of our community.”