Parish roundup: mental health, Lumen Christi, flood recovery

Young people from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Everett, Massachusetts, pose with a Facebook frame promoting the parish Facebook page. (CNS/Courtesy of St. Anthony of Padua Parish Facebook page)
This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

Editor's note: The Field Hospital blog shares parish and other grassroots efforts across the U.S. and Canada to accompany those on the margins and in need. Pope Francis said he sees the church as a "field hospital" that labors "from the ground up" to "heal wounds."

Aislin Percival, 26, recently shared her roller-coaster experiences with bipolar disorder at St. Luke Parish in Shoreline, Washington, during an event coordinated by the parish's mental health ministry. A member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in West Seattle, Percival said her road to diagnosis and treatment was spurred by encouragement from her Seattle University roommate when she was 19.

Challenges facing the roughly 400 Brazilian families within the St. Anthony of Padua Parish community in Everett, Massachusetts, include underemployment, depression, substance abuse and cultural discord, according to Scalabrinian Fr. Carlos Barbosa, who serves there. Two surges of Brazilian immigrants are reflected within the parish — long-established and recent, he says. Parish Masses are offered in Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and English.

Two North American groups — Canadian Food for Children in Toronto and the New York City-based Franciscan Friars Province of the Immaculate Conception — have been stalwart supporters of the Agape Association of El Salvador. Now a large and influential ministry reaching the poor and marginalized in El Salvador with some 50 programs and a $13 million annual budget, Agape's roots are traced to a 1977 Christmas dinner for the homeless in rural El Salvador hosted by a young Franciscan priest, Fr. Flavian Mucci.

Incredible work on behalf of those in need — whether inner-city and rural poor people or struggling migrants or wounded military — is embodied in the nominations for the 40th annual Lumen Christi Award bestowed by Catholic Extension. The honor recognizes Catholics who demonstrate "how the power of faith can transform lives and communities."

Holy Family Parish in Richwood, West Virginia, has made the top floor of its food pantry available as lodging for groups of volunteers from around the country who cycle through the area, helping residents recover from last year's devastating flooding. Divine Word Fr. Quy Ngoc Dang, parish administrator, recently described the past year's challenges and achievements.

Sojourners website and magazine are tracking eight significant U.S. immigration court cases. Sojourners founder and president Jim Wallis will deliver an address sponsored by the Treacy Levine Center in Seattle Sept. 16. To be held at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center, the 7 p.m. talk is titled "Race, Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America."

[Dan Morris-Young is NCR's West Coast correspondent. His email is]

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