Parish roundup: Hurricane Michael; hosting a refugee; 'water women'

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A young girl helps guide a shopping cart Nov. 15 through the food pantry operated by the Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Catholic-run pantry serves about 3,000 local families each week. (CNS/Katie Rutter)
A young girl helps guide a shopping cart Nov. 15 through the food pantry operated by the Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Catholic-run pantry serves about 3,000 local families each week. (CNS/Katie Rutter)

A caravan of about 30 parishioners from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in South Miami drove three trucks and eight other vehicles nine hours to spend the Nov. 10-11 weekend helping victims of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida.

Although heavily damaged by the almost Category 5 storm, St. Dominic Church in Panama City has served as a major distribution center for supplies, food and assistance for the surrounding area.

John Anderson, a Wall Street Journal media critic and New York Times contributor, shares a lightheartedly dead-serious look at U.S. immigration policies in an America magazine essay about how he and his wife (an immigration attorney) hosted Honduran refugee Gerardo for a few days.

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Donovan Serrano (Catholic Herald/Cathy Joyce)
Donovan Serrano (Catholic Herald/Cathy Joyce)

According to 22-year-old Donovan Serrano, "Just listening to young adults will help bridge the gap and help them to feel they have a home in the church." The member of Divine Mercy Parish in Sacramento, California, is a volunteer youth ministry leader, catechist and Knights of Columbus member. His essay is featured in a Catholic Herald magazine edition focusing on young adult Catholics.

Based in Middletown, Kentucky, Water With Blessings wants to eradicate cholera in Haiti. Founded and directed by Sr. Larraine Lauter of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph, the nonprofit has worked to help impoverished communities worldwide secure clean, safe water through distribution of a simple filtering system consisting mainly of a 5-gallon bucket, a long-lasting filter, and a hose or spigot. Water With Blessings began concentrating on Haiti in April 2017, and its "secret weapon" there, says Lauter, is young mothers.

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"A great untapped resource in human development is young mothers, if you can seek them out," Lauter recently told Catholic News Service. "They're literally out of sight, often the least educated and thought to be the least likely to succeed in their community." Each "water woman" who joins the effort, Lauter said, must agree to maintaining the water system, which serves four households.

A potent mix of organization, resourcefulness, generosity, faith and impressive volunteer power goes into making the largest food pantry in the Midwest — if not the country — succeed. The Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul operates the facility, providing groceries to nearly 3,000 families every week.

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Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone distributes Communion at the Nov. 8 Mass of the Dead for Our Homeless Brethren at San Francisco's St. Patrick Church. (Archdiocese of San Francisco Office of Human Life and Dignity/Debra Greenblat)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone distributes Communion at the Nov. 8 Mass of the Dead for Our Homeless Brethren at San Francisco's St. Patrick Church. (Archdiocese of San Francisco Office of Human Life and Dignity/Debra Greenblat)

About 200 worshipers attended a Nov. 8 Requiem Mass of the Dead for Our Homeless Brethren at St. Patrick Church in San Francisco. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was main celebrant, joined by seven priests and two deacons around the altar. A joint choir of the Missionaries of Charity and the Benedict XVI Institute led music for the liturgy. Founded by St. Teresa of Kolkata (Mother Teresa), the Missionaries of Charity contingent in San Francisco and volunteers serve meals to the homeless and poor under or near the freeway overpass at Potrero Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street six days per week.

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

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