Parish roundup: Food and water for low-income families, grandparents nurture faith

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

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Eric DeBode, executive director of Abundant Grace Coastside Worker, a Catholic Worker house in Half Moon Bay, California, reports that the community's Full Circle Food Justice program harvests about 20,000 pounds of produce a year, most of which reaches the tables of families working in the agricultural and service industries. (Nicholas Wolfram Smith/Catholic San Francisco)

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San Francisco St. Dominic parishioner Elizabeth Skelton, Dig Deep founder George McGraw and St. Dominic pastor Dominican Fr. Michael Hurley are pictured after a March 29 presentation on a parish initiative to bring fresh water to residents in the Southwest. (Christina Gray/Catholic San Francisco)

In Half Moon Bay, California, Abundant Grace Coastside Worker, a Catholic Worker community, oversees the Full-Circle Food Justice program which employs the homeless and others down on their luck to grow food — about 20,000 pounds annually — which is distributed to low-income families.

Meanwhile, about 30 miles away, members of San Francisco's St. Dominic Parish for the past two years have been encouraged to abstain from all beverages except water during Lent and donate the savings toward providing clean, running water for impoverished Americans through Dig Deep. The non-profit demands access to fresh water as a basic human right.

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"People with disabilities make up about 20 percent of the population. Yet, 90 percent of individuals with long-term limitations don't go to church," points out the Disability Inclusion Ministry of Tacoma, Washington's St. Patrick Parish. The group adds, "Those who do, often feel invisible. Individuals with disabilities don't want pity. They need to be respected just as they are."

An organization founded in Ireland in 2009 to encourage grandparents to nurture their grandchildren's faith lives now has chapters in the U.S., United Kingdom and Philippines. On May 4, a group of parishioners of the Diocsese of Charleston, South Carolina, met at St. Philip Neri Parish in Fort Mill to learn more about the Catholic Grandparents Association. If you are in the nation's capital at 10:30 a.m., July 13, you can attend the USA Catholic Grandparents Association Ministry Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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Carol Ann Wilkinson has volunteered in prison ministry for 27 years in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. (Jim Luning/FAITH Catholic Lansing)

Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, parishioner Carol Ann Wilkinson shares insights from her 27 years of prison ministry in a FAITH Lansing magazine feature. Prisoners often "think of me as a favorite mom, aunt or grandma," Wilkinson said. "That alone is healing for them. It is a great pleasure to share God and Jesus very personally with them through my ministry."

Speaking of inspirational giving of self for those in need: Carol Hartman of Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Jefferson City, Missouri, has been honored for her gifts of time and self to many ministries — such as food pantry work, vocations promotion, funeral service meal preparation and support of a Guatemala mission. The widow is also a member of Knights of Columbus Bishop McAuliffe Council 12992 Ladies Auxiliary.

[Dan Morris-Young is NCR West Coast correspondent.]

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