Archive for the ‘Parishes’ Category

More than Just BBall

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

image1By Alice Kenny

Children from “small fries” (short for first and second graders) to “elites” (high school juniors and seniors) just learned last week whether they won CYO’s annual Art and Essay Contest.

Prize winners haled from throughout the New York archdiocese, from Staten Island, through the Bronx, over to Rockland County and all the way up to Dutchess.  Their art depended on their inspiration, from scribbled smiling suns to detailed landscapes and profiles.

And their essays focused on the hot topic of social media – does it bring us together or make us more alone and how can it be used to improve our communities?

Answers were surprisingly insightful.  One contestant, for example, said social networking reconfigures our need for our relationship with God.

Deja George from St. Francis of Assisi School in the Bronx grabbed first place in the essay contest.  Kaitlyn Piotrowski from St. Mary’s School in Dutchess came in second and Kyle Mangan of St. Claire of Assisi School in the Bronx took third. Way to go, CYO!

Three Ways to End Hunger Now

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

St. Cecilia’s parishioner, Guadalupe Merino, writes a letter to Congress as daughter, Joyce Merino, naps in her arms.

About a hundred people from nonprofit organizations and churches in New York put pen to paper last month and wrote letters to their member of Congress, urging them to reauthorize the child nutrition bill, writes Margaret Tran, a regional organizer at Bread for the World.

Catholic Charities and Bread for the World organized an Offering of Letters at St. Peter’s Church and New York Catholic Youth Day, both in Yonkers, and at St. Cecilia’s Church in East Harlem. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland County in Haverstraw plans to host one in the future.

It is vital that Congress hears from their constituents, especially since over 16 million children in the U.S. don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.

This fall, the legislation that funds child nutrition programs will expire. The bill funds five major programs: National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Food Service Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the WIC Program. These programs serve roughly 40 million adults and children nationwide.

1. New York high school students were busy during New York Catholic Youth Day. They were simultaneously involved in a Feeding Our Neighbors food drive (cosponsored by Catholic Charities) and an Offering of Letters. The students and their youth group leaders donated hundreds of pounds of food to local pantries and wrote letters to members of Congress, urging them to support the child nutrition programs.

Youth groups were eager to write letters since they personally know students who struggle with hunger and depend on school meals every day as their only source of nutrition…

2. The senior leaders of the various ministry groups at  St. Cecilia’s also participated in an Offering of Letters… Flor Abad, case manager for Catholic Charities Community Services at St. Cecilia’s, said he was pleased that all the leaders were enthusiastic about advocacy since so many in the community are struggling.

“At St. Cecilia’s food pantry, I see families in need. I hear people who have 5, 6, 7 children in the house and don’t have food,” Abad said.

3. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland County(CCCSR) will host a future Offering of Letters that will engage youth from county parishes to write letters to Congress. The goal will be ambitious – 1,000 letters ahead of CCCSR’s annual September hunger awareness action event.

“Policies and community efforts to increase access and provide education and resources is needed. Our goal is to build a greater sense of community awareness and build an advocacy group to end hunger,” said Martha Robles, executive director of CCCSR.

Read the full Bread for the World blog post.

Teens Team Up to Feed the Hungry

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Teens teamed with Catholic Charities and a local club in Dutchess County to shore up food pantries that serve the hungry, reports Hudson Valley TV Network News Anchor Donna Reyer.

“After the holidays  pantries get depleted so in the spring when there aren’t as many food drives that’s when we kick in here,” says Les McCarthy, a member of the Notre Dame Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley that helped coordinate the drive.

For two weeks children and teens from eleven local elementary and high schools collected food, dropping it off for distribution at Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County.  And last Saturday, March 28, 2015, they marked the campaign’s conclusion with a big celebration at St. Mary’s Church in Poughkeepsie.  Former running back with the NFL Randy Kinder – also a former Notre Dame football player – attended the celebration held right after a Lenten mass.

Children who participated said they learned a lot from the experience.

“One box a day or one can a day,” says Anna Darling,  an eighth grader from St. Martin de Porres High,  “can really change someone’s life.”

Watch this on HVNN Network News.

NYC Gas Explosion: Catholic Charities Mobilizes Help

Monday, March 30th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities mobilized to provide crucial help for victims of last week’s gas explosion that leveled three buildings, immediately injuring nearly two dozen people and killing two more.

Staff from Catholic Charities Community Services along with staff from our affiliate, Nazareth Housing, teamed with fellow members of the “LES Ready” group to marshal help for those suffering from this March 26, 2015 disaster.

The blast and ensuing blaze leveled 121 Second Avenue and two neighboring buildings, officials said. Along with the demolished apartment buildings, occupants of four other structures nearby are now reported to be under vacate orders.

LES Ready, also known as the Lower Eastside Long Term Recovery Group, initially formed to help residents of the Lower East Side of Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy pounded their neighborhood and destroyed their homes.  After last Thursday’s gas explosion, this coalition of community groups helped those hurt immediately after the disaster.  They will continue to provide help and services for the long haul as needs emerge.

View eye-witness photos and learn more.

A Manhattan Pilgrimage in What Some Call the City of Sin?

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

By Alice Kenny

A Manhattan pilgrimage in what some call the City of Sin?  You got it.

Carrying wooden crosses, young Catholics sloshed down snow-covered sidewalks and stood in sun-filled pews on Saturday, March 21, 2015 as they participated in the Pilgrimage of New York cosponsored by Catholic Charities Junior Board.

Sure, for centuries pilgrims have toured and prayed in places known as the home of saints – the Holy Land, Rome, and Fatima, for instance.  But this weekend marked the sixth annual pilgrimage in New York City.

This year’s pilgrimage honored Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus.  So the dozens of participating “pilgrims” hiked from northern to southern Manhattan from morning to night hearing sermons and visiting churches named after Jesus’ foster father – Saint Joseph Church on Monroe Street, the Church of Saint Joseph of the Holy Family and more.

Check out our Junior Board Facebook page for photos and comments.

Cardinal Egan

Friday, March 6th, 2015


Today we say adieux to Cardinal Egan.   While we will miss him greatly, we wish him well in his new heavenly home.

Much has already been said and much more will be written on the occasion of his death yesterday at age 82.  Let me share a few items from the perspective of Catholic Charities that may not have been captured elsewhere.

My words are understandably biased.  Cardinal Egan appointed me as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York shortly after the tragedy of 9/11.  I was privileged to work together with him.   Here are some of the reasons I think he deserves  appreciation for the time he served as Archbishop of New York

He visited our Catholic Charities agencies and programs, meeting regularly and consistently with the people we help and those doing the helping.  Because he was warm and caring with them, all left feeling uplifted and supported, both with the difficult lives they lived and the difficult work they did.   Thank you, Cardinal Egan.

He built the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities,  a dedicated and generous group of New York leaders who undergird  and oversee the support we provide New Yorkers in need.  To attract these talented individuals he passed on his role as Chair of the Board to John Phelan, the former chair of the New York Stock Exchange.

In multiple ways Cardinal Egan encouraged generous philanthropic support for Catholic Charities.  One of his key initiatives involved his own Cardinal’s Committee of the Laity that he intentionally renamed the Cardinal’s Committee for Charity.  He directed the focus of this group of New York business and civic leaders to provide Catholic Charities with financial resources and counsel to amplify the services we provide and the number of people we serve.

To support partnership between the government and the charitable work of the Church he interfaced with officials in a quiet sophisticated way apart from the limelight.  When issues arose that could have damaged this partnership his efforts were effective in preventing actions that could have hurt poor and vulnerable New Yorkers of all religions.

It is also worth noting on this 50th anniversary of the equal rights march from Selma to Montgomery Cardinal Egan’s  presence during the tumultuous sixties in sharing our Church’s vision for the common good.   He was a regular participant with clergy in Chicago, one of  America’s major urban centers, as they worked to overcome racial and social injustice.

In short, Cardinal Egan effectively supported, blessed and encouraged growth of the fair and charitable work of the Church. During his tenure, the 90 affiliated agencies of the Catholic Charities federation grew from providing $500 million to $750 million of services, support that provides help and creates hope for all New Yorkers in need.

And so, again, adieux, fair well, and thank you.  Cardinal Egan, please keep in mind in heaven the needs of those of us still here below – especially, those for whom Catholic Charities provides help and creates hope.

– Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Catholic Charities Joins Protest Against Judge’s Last-Minute Kibosh on Immigration Reform

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

Immigrants and their supporters are rallying across New York to protest a judge’s Monday night order that stymies President Obama’s executive action to reform immigration policies.

“The ruling by a lower Federal Court in Texas, while disappointing, was neither surprising nor definitive,” said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan before a conference held in Manhattan at noon today.   “Catholic Charities will continue to outreach to the individuals and families who need to prepare for the important opportunities afforded by the President’s executive action and hopefully also for comprehensive immigration reform which remains a pressing need.”

He added his voice to that of elected officials, service providers and the newly arrived and personally affected who are speaking out against U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling.

This ruling was particularly painful because it temporarily blocks the President’s  planned expansion of the Defered Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program  just a day before the program was set to go into effect.

It also blocks the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) set to begin in May 2015.

In New York more than 300,000 people qualify for these new programs.

“Catholic Charities focus ,” Msgr. Sullivan added, “is our legal and social services for new Americans, made in God’s image, who merit dignity and respect and the opportunity to provide basic human necessities for themselves and their families.”

Safety Tips for Today’s Blizzard

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

By Alice Kenny

As Winter Storm Juno cripples commerce and paralyzes traffic, Catholic Charities urges you to:

  • Stay home
  • Stay in
  • Stay safe
  • And watch out for your neighbors

Catholic Charities echoes the warnings of NY State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio who declared a state of emergency throughout the New York Archdiocese including New York City, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties.

They closed commuter rail lines and forbid driving on roads.

Meanwhile, outreach workers are fanning out to bring into shelter anyone exposed to the storm.

  • Help by calling 311 if you spot someone in need
  • Call 911 if you are in immediate danger
  • Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors
  • Help those who need special assistance, including seniors and persons with disabilities

Click for the latest on subways, trains, buses, roads and rail lines.

Click for severe weather updates.

Pope Francis May Visit NYC Soup Kitchens

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Breaking news.  Pope Francis, during his trip to New York City confirmed this week and scheduled for September 2015, may spend time in soup kitchens, food pantries and centers that help immigrants.

The notoriously unpretentious pope, appointed in 2013, has quickly risen as a crusader for the world’s poor and disadvantaged, reports Metro New York

“When a pope comes to visit in New York, there’s excitement. But with Pope Francis, it will be excitement on steroids,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities. “I think this pope has created such excitement because of what he’s done to enable the world to understand the basic goodness of the message of Jesus … the world is taken by his ability to communicate this.” 

Sullivan said soup kitchens, as well as centers that help immigrants and refugees acclimate to life in New York would be the best place for the pope to visit to “get a good understanding of some of the hurting.”  

“Some of the most vulnerable people do have to go to food pantries for a basic nutritious meal, and it’s one of the better places to see how the church is reaching out to the poorest,” Sullivan said. 

Read Metro New York’s full interview with Msgr. Sullivan to learn more about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to NYC.