Archive for April, 2013

Calling all budding track stars

Friday, April 19th, 2013

 

By Alice Kenny

From the Pee Wee Dash to the Boys Long Jump, children representing eight parish teams competed in the first Developmental Track Meet of season on Sunday, April 14.  Two dozen “CYO unattached” runners (CYO children in parishes currently not fielding a track team) joined 225 CYO members on – finally — this perfect, sunny spring day.

They raced and received medals at the top-tier facility Mount St Michael Academy in the Bronx.

CYO has been working hard to provide a great experience for the children of the CYO Track & Field Community. With the addition of clinics with Olympic Athletes and new meets and events in some of the metropolitan region’s top facilities, CYO hopes to build upon the momentum gained over the past year.

Registration is now open for the April 21 CYO Developmental Clinic and Track Meet.  It will be held at Mt. Saint Michael Academy, 4300 Murdock Ave., Bronx, NY  10466.

The Iona College track team will be offering a pre-meet clinic for CYO athletes starting at 12:30 pm.

(Use this registration if your parish does not have a track program but you are a member of a parish or school, grades K-8 of the Archdiocese of NY)

(Use this registration link if you are the team coach or parish coordinator.

Registration is done on ny.milesplit.com . This is open for ALL CYO Programs.)

Immigration Reform: The Good of Our Country Demands Our Commitment

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, representing Timothy Cardinal Dolan, shook hands with Senator Chuck Schumer at the formal presentation of the bi-partisan Senate bill on comprehensive immigration reform at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Thursday April 18, 2013.

“The presence of so many diverse groups at the introduction of this bi-partisan bill shows that immigration reform is not about narrow self-interest, but the common good of the nation,”  Msgr. Sullivan said.

“The Catholic Church, and in a particular way Catholic Charities, partners with many to promote just policies and provide compassionate services that enable our neighbors to live in dignity as made in God’s image.  We understand there are different opinions on this important issue.  We will listen, and talk together to move forward to reform our broken immigration system. The good of our country and of individual neighbors and their families demand our commitment. ”

 

Looking for information about Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

Catholic Charities is here to help.

Contact us now.

Call Catholic Charities at New York State New Americans Hotline: 1-800-566-7636

Msgr. Sullivan Leaves for Washington D.C. for the Bipartisan Senate Bill Announcement

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Msgr. Sullivan meets with immigrants before leaving for D.C. for the presentation of the bi-partisan Senate immigration reform bill.

“We are hopeful that the filing of a bipartisan Senate bill on immigration seems, after many years, to make comprehensive immigration reform a real possibility. We appreciate the hard work of the group of Senators and others that has made this possible. We note with special pride and recognition the work of so many Catholic organizations and the leadership of the Bishops on this issue. While we are hopeful and supportive, the bill is complex and requires careful analysis.  There will be opposition.  We look forward to making suggestions for improving the bill to even better reflect our longstanding concerns for family unification, a fair, legal immigration system, protections for temporary workers, effective, yet humane border security and due process in enforcement.  We look forward to working in partnership with many to ensure that this reform happens for a straightforward reason—concern for the common good of the nation and the well-being of individual immigrants and their families.”

- Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

 

 

 

Hurricane Destroyed Home; Finally Someone “Has Her Back”

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Erin Smith spends her nights at a relative’s house and her days repairing her hurricane–torn home in South Beach.

She said that dealing with different government agencies after the storm was a daunting task.

“It was so overwhelming it made you want to throw in the towel,” Smith says as she walks from gutted to freshly painted rooms in her bungalow during a recent interview aired on NY1.

Catholic Charities announced last week that $38.5 million in federal funding has been allocated to its disaster recovery program with the help of Governor Cuomo. The program is modeled after a similar one run by Catholic Charities in 34 counties across New York State following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

The Sandy recovery program will provide more caseworkers who can help local residents on Staten Island and throughout the city tackle a variety of tasks to cope with the hurricane’s consequences.

Eligibility is open to anyone with an unmet need that arose from or was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy, even those who have not applied to FEMA for assistance.

Two months ago, Smith was referred to Catholic Charities caseworker MaryEllen Ferrera.  The agency has about a dozen caseworkers on Staten Island who provide free assistance to homeowners hurt by Hurricane Sandy. Funds are allocated to the agency through a federal disaster assistance program.

Ferrera helped Smith get supplies and gift cards to rebuild her home. She has also reached out to government agencies on her behalf

“We get to know directors in positions to help and push through applications for our clients,” Ferrera says.

Smith says FEMA denied her applications several times. Ferrera intervened to successfully file an appeal. Finally, Smith received a FEMA grant.

Smith says her caseworker has not only helped her get help, she’s become a mentor and a friend.

It feels that I have somebody that’s going to have my back,” Smith says.

Check out the video on NY1.

 

Looking for help? 

Call 1-855-258-0483

Or visit www.catholiccharitiesny.org.

Marathon Rapathon Against Gun Violence

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Rappers, fans of rap and all who oppose gun violence packed the Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center for a 12-hour nonstop Rapathon on April 6.

“Put your guns down: go to peace side up,” marchers chanted as they joined the End Gun Violence Rapathon.

The Rapathon was open to anyone with a love for Hip Hop, a determination to end gun violence and – the tricky part – the ability to rhyme for 90 seconds straight without cursing.

The community event showcased talented Emcees focused on helping change the current culture of gun violence.  Sponsored by the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, it supported Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., an organization of mothers and fathers who lost children to gun violence.

“We can’t bring our kids back but we can certainly try to help another mother and another mother’s child by doing prevention and education,” says organization cofounder Jackie Rowe Adams.

Rapper Homeboy Sandman offered a sample. “Five weeks you were alive,” he rapped.  “Had full curly hair; big beautiful eyes.”

Ms. Adams, unfortunately, knows firsthand what this type of loss feels like.

“I’ve lost two kids to gun violence,” she said.  “The pain never goes away.”

For more information:

  • Contact Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center at 212-862-6401.
  • Check out Harlem Mothers Save.

For Boston Marathon Victims: Our Prayers and Our Solidarity.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of yesterday’s attack at the Boston Marathon.  The loss of innocent life – in but a quick moment – is most devastating to those victims’ immediate families.  The severe and life-threatening injuries to many others is so heartrending.  In addition, the witnessing of this by thousands more causes a somber tone over an entire city and far beyond.  For New Yorkers, these assaults evoke traumatic memories, and so our solidarity is even greater as we offer our prayerful support to those in Boston in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

– Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director Catholic Charities New York.

Calling all budding artists and writers in Dutchess County…

Monday, April 15th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Dutchess County CYO Art will hold an art contest at the St. Mary School – Wappingers Gymnasium on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at 6 p.m. for students in grades 1 – 12.  Contest winners will be eligible to compete in the Archdiocesan-wide – from Staten Island to the Catskill mountains- contest that will be held on May 17.

Got your artistic juices flowing?

  • Drop off your artwork at St. Mary School, 11 Clinton Ave., Wappingers Falls, NY 12590 on April 23 between 2 – 5 p.m. for judging.
  • Bring with you a $2 art-competition fee.  Checks should be made payable to CYO.

What about writers?  Have we got a contest for you!

The Dutchess County CYO Essay Contest is open to youth in grades 6 – 8.  First, second and third-place winners will be judged at the Archdiocesan level on May 17.

 

Ready to write?

  • Submit your essay to Catholic Charities Community Services, Catholic Youth Organization, 1011 First Ave., New York, NY  10022, att:  Monge Codio Jr., Director of Operations – CYO by May 7, 2013 at 5 p.m.

For more information on how to participate in either event, contact

Massive Mobilization on Immigration Reform; The Time for Change Is Now

Friday, April 12th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

Waving signs and chanting slogans, thousands of New Yorkers added their voices Wednesday to a massive national mobilization for immigration reform.  They included Oberos Unidos de Yonkers, day laborers assisted by Catholic Charities, who rallied in White Plains.  Residents also took part in candlelight vigils in Rockland and Putnam Counties, marched in Newburgh and joined busloads that wound their way from New York City and the Hudson Valley to Washington, D.C.  Together they united with tens of thousands of people who met on the Capital lawn to insist that the time for change is now.

“Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to work with newcomers who contribute to the growth and well-being of this country, the one they call home,” Catholic Charities Executive Monsignor Sullivan said yesterday.  “We join immigrants and advocates who will make this case in Washington D.C. and in other parts of the country at a massive mobilization and faith community vigil for citizenship, and fair and humane legal immigration opportunities.”

Wednesday’s outdoor rallies took place as a bipartisan group of senators worked inside the Capital. Known as the “Gang of Eight,” they are negotiating a bill aimed at securing the border, tapping foreign workers for critically needed jobs and creating a path to citizenship.

Catholic Charities helps immigrants reunite legally with their families, obtain proper work authorization, learn English and civics, and prepare to pass citizenship exams. Catholic Charities also assists immigrants in avoiding exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners by providing correct information and realistic counsel about immigration status.

For example, Catholic Charities works with Obreros Unidos de Yonkers, a group of more than 300 day laborers in Yonkers.  Together, we educate workers regarding employment rights and responsibilities to prevent exploitation and workplace abuse.  We also assist in integrating workers into society and provide local resources to assist them in this process.

We do this by:

  • Hosting workshops and trainings on worker rights, safety in the workplace, basics of immigration and other topics as needed
  •   Issuing membership cards with identifying information
  •  Providing office and meeting space and administrative support for workers
  •  Assisting in the collection of unpaid wages, access to healthcare services, emergency food, English as a Second Language programs and computer classes.
  • Facilitating conversations with local business owners, police elected officials and the community.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Call (914) 375-6729/48 for more information on or visit the office at St. Peter’s Church basement, 91 Ludlow Street, Yonkers, NY  10705.

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line  — (888) 744-7900 — for more help finding the services you need.

Youth Competition Garners 7,000 Meals for Hungry New Yorkers

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Thanks to a contest that pitted youth against youth and parish against parish, Catholic Charities in partnership with the Office of Youth Ministry pulled together an additional 7,000 meals for hungry New Yorkers at Catholic Youth Day on April 6 at the College of Mt. St. Vincent in Riverdale.

Holy Rosary Parish of Portchester won first place by bringing in cartons packed with 460 pounds of food.  All told, the contest yielded close to 1300 pounds of food donations.

Holy Rosary’s win entitles them to a day with Fr. Joseph Espaillat, director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of New York.  He will personally visit their parish or youth group and preach, lead a retreat, celebrate Mass, play kickball, and, if they like, throw a pizza party for parish youth.

Catholic Charities provided staff and support for the Office of Youth Ministry contest to help feed our hungry neighbors. The Youth Day event featured music and performances by different ministries in the Archdiocese of New York including Full Armor Band, Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR and many more.

The contest was part of the Feeding Our Neighbors campaign to help pantries feed those who would otherwise go hungry.  Feeding Our Neighbors is an interfaith effort to fight hunger by replenishing dwindling supplies in emergency food programs that continue to be stretched thin.

During this time of great need, one in five New York State children grow up in poverty and more than one million New Yorkers do not have enough to eat. This campaign grows out of an awareness and concern that embraces New Yorkers of all religions who must turn to food pantries, soup kitchens and senior center meal programs, to sustain them and their families.

The food donations were delivered to St. Peter’s Parish food pantry in Yonkers, NY. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the donations represent an additional 1,040 meals for hungry children and families served by this pantry plus collections at masses that raised $1500 to support 6,000 more meals in the Archdiocese of New York.

Join us in feeding our neighbors.

Do your part to make sure no hungry neighbor is turned away.

Rockland Youth Would Make Mother Teresa Proud

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

After witnessing tens of thousands of starving children and families, Mother Teresa, a Catholic activist and saint, decided to keep her advice simple to fight these overwhelming odds.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people,” she told followers, “then just feed one.”

Inspired by this advice, St. Catherine’s Parish in Rockland County decided to make feeding the hungry their Lenten Challenge.  Mobilized by the New York Archdiocesan Feeding Our Neighbors campaign to shore up food pantries’ dwindling supplies, the parish asked children that attend the church to donate shopping bags filled with food from February 13 through March 30 during Lent.

Students broke into teams that competed to bring in the most food donations.  All told, the students brought in nearly two tons– 3,799 pounds – of food.

They donated this bounty to the food pantry run by Rockland Catholic Community Services.

“I was thrilled when I saw the amount of food the youth were able to collect,” said Catholic Community Services of Rockland Executive Director Martha Robles.  “I told them – and I’m sure – that ‘Mother Teresa is so proud of you.’”