With so much coverage of children fleeing their homelands to escape rape, gangs and abuse and arriving here in New York for help, sometimes we wonder with such overwhelming circumstances, how can we possibly make a difference.
Thanks to parishioners across the nation at St. Mary’s Visitation Parish in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, we have a simple answer.
It all comes down, they remind us, to comforting a child. And what better way than to wrap them snugly in a blanket made just for them?
The Wisconsin parishioners say they were inspired by a recent Catholic Charities NY blog post about a mass said by Cardinal Dolan and Msgr. Sullivan at Lincoln Hall, a Catholic Charities affiliated agency in Northern Westchester that shelters and provides social and legal services to some of the distraught unaccompanied minors who reach New York. So children, teens and adults from the parish got together to design and make over 100 soft fleece blankets covered with children’s favorites — cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse and volleyballs — to comfort lonely unaccompanied children arriving New York. The parish is sending these handmade blankets to Catholic Charities for distribution.
The words that inspired these folks in America’s Dairyland to help came from Cardinal Dolan as he paraphrased our pope.
“Pope Francis said it so well,” Cardinal Dolan wrote on his blog, “when he reminded us that ‘this humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.’
“And that is just what Catholic Charities, parishes, professionals and volunteers throughout the country are doing.”