Parish roundup: Audio-visual tech connects incarcerated mothers with their children

This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

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People mourn during a candlelight vigil Oct. 27 for victims of the shooting that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Some 200 parishioners of nearby St. Bede Parish walked to the shul Oct. 28 in a show of solidarity and support. (CNS/Reuters/John Altdorfer)

More than 200 parishioners of St. Bede Parish in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, made a spontaneous half-mile walk to Tree of Life Synagogue Oct. 28 following the Catholic congregation's 11 a.m. mass to show support and solidarity with their Jewish neighbors in the wake of the Oct. 27 mass shooting at the shul that left 11 dead and several wounded.

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As the caravan of Central American children, women and men seeking asylum in the U.S. makes its way toward the U.S. border, it is worth re-reading the impact St. Mark Parish in El Paso is having, and how its pastor, Msgr. Arturo Bañuel, views the moral challenge it presents. El Paso, writes NCR's Maria Benevento, is often inaccurately characterized.

Blind since childhood, Lygia Bohan of All Saints Parish in Sunrise, Florida, has experienced the benefits of new technologies developed for the visually challenged, much of it available through the Xavier Society for the Blind.

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Lygia Bohan, left, who attends All Saints Parish in Sunrise, Florida, reads Catholic materials in Braille, including the Sunday Mass readings. With her is longtime disabilities advocate Dolores Hanley McDiarmid, who attends St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale. (CNS /Tom Tracy)

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A smock worn by volunteers and books used in the Reading Connection were displayed during a recent presentation of the program at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. (The Catholic Commentator/Bonny Van)

The Reading Connection ministry in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, allows incarcerated women to read stories and books to their children via audio-video recordings, reports Bonny Van in the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Commentator. The DVD and book are sent to the children, in some cases in other countries. Feedback indicates the youngsters often listen and view the recordings over and over. The Reading Connection was born of a casual conversation between exercise buddies Sandra Kuykendall, Judith Howell and Laura Adams. They eventually approached the local Catholic Charities agency which, in turn, led to support and involvement from the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and diocesan Prison Ministry.

Based at St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk, Connecticut, Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council 14360 recently staged its fourth annual "Chili Cook-Off" for Al's Angels, a non-profit that supports children battling cancer and other hardships. Council 14360 sustains several year-round outreach efforts.

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Members of Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council 14360 in Norwalk, Connecticut, provide samples of the four kinds of chili in the annual "Chili Cook-Off" that supports children fighting cancer. (Courtesy of Knights of Columbus Council 14360)

collection of 75 meticulously created nun dolls has been drawing much interest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta's Office of Archives and Records where they are on display. The assembly was donated by Margaret Alsup of Cumming, Georgia.

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

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