By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Archdiocese has raised more than $1.1 million through parish collections to aid earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.
In addition, Catholic schools across the Archdiocese have raised more than $131,000.
All funds donated by parishioners and Catholic schools are to be forwarded to Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian, relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in the United States.
CRS is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations working in more than 200 countries around the world, headquartered in Vatican City.
A collection to help CRS help Haiti was taken up in churches across the Philadelphia Archdiocese at weekend Masses Jan. 23-24. Of the Archdiocese’s 267 parishes, 166, or 62 percent, had contributed $1,118,145 as of Feb. 9.
“Phenomenal,” is how Maureen McCullough, director of CRS’ Northeast Regional Office in Radnor, described the effort. “The amount contributed to date reflects the incredible generosity of the people of the Archdiocese,” said McCullough, who belongs to Annunciation B.V.M. Parish in Havertown.
She also commended “the contributions from the students (which)demonstrate their commitment to their brothers and sisters in Haiti.”
The Jan. 12 earthquake has claimed countless lives and left 3 million injured or displaced in the Caribbean nation’s capital and largest city, Port-au-Prince.
To date, CRS has received approximately $40 million for Haiti relief. “I believe that number reflects some contributions from the dioceses, but certainly not all of them – probably not most of them,” McCullough said.
Returns from parish collections across the country continue to be remitted to CRS.
In addition to providing medical assistance and other relief efforts, CRS and Caritas Haiti have distributed emergency shelter kits for the displaced. By the end of this week, more than 6,500 families will have received the tent-like shelter kits, serving a total of 39,000 people, McCullough said.
In addition, CRS and Caritas Haiti have provided food to more than 200,000 people in Haiti.
“As Haiti and the response to the earthquake and the tragedy has moved off the front pages of papers, it can’t move off of our response,” McCullough said.
“People are hurting. This is certainly a tragedy that has affected Haiti, but it’s a tragedy that’s affected our whole human family and our global community. People are responding. We just need to continue to know that the people of Haiti need our help and support.”
On behalf of the staffs of spanine Providence Village, St. Edmond’s Home for Children and Don Guanella Village and School, all in Delaware County, Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior recently presented a $2,056 check to CRS’ regional office in Radnor for Haiti aid.
The check represents donations from administrators and staff members of the Developmental Programs spanision of the Archdiocese’s Catholic Social Services (CSS). An additional contribution was made by Jamie Manella, a resident of the Cardinal Krol Center at Don Guanella Village in Springfield, which provides residential and rehabilitative services for developmentally disabled men. Manella, 53, insisted that staff members accept his savings of $4.
Among those present at the check ceremony were two CSS staff members, formerly of Haiti, who have family members in the devastated area.
They are Daniela Lans, an incident manager coordinator at the Cardinal Krol Center and Lumine Gresseau, a direct care professional at St. Edmond’s Home for Children in Rosemont.
The Feb. 5 check ceremony was held at the chapel of spanine Providence Village in Springfield, where Bishop Senior served as chaplain for 14 years.
spanine Providence Village is a residence for women with mild to severe developmental disabilities. There, they receive 24-hour nursing supervision, personal care assistance and inspanidualized programs of physical, occupational, speech and behavioral therapy.
St. Edmond’s Home for Children provides physical, speech, recreational and music therapy, among other services, to children with developmental and physical disabilities.
St. Athanasius-Immaculate Conception School in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia raised $760 through its Hoops for Haiti basketball game held Feb. 5 at the school. The boys’ junior varsity beat the girls’ junior varsity team. All ticket sales will be sent to CRS.
A Mass for all affected by the Haiti earthquake will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Incarnation of Our Lord Church in North Philadelphia. Refreshments will follow in the school gymnasium.
Lansdale Catholic High School has canceled its annual St. Valentine’s Day dance and instead will host a skit and talent show to benefit CRS relief efforts in Haiti.
“Taking a Bow for Haiti” has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in the Lansdale High gymnasium. In addition to a nominal admission fee, cash donations for CRS will be accepted at the door.
For more information about the Catholic Relief Services’ collection, including how to donate to CRS online, visit http://crs.org/ or call 1-877-HELP CRS (1-877-435-7277).