2018 Lenten Almsgiving has been identified: Working with Catholic Extension to provide assistance with St. Anne Parish near Penitas Texas the Proyecto Desarrollo Humano is their outreach to immigrants. This will be the focus for this Lent’s Almsgiving Program. Sr Fatima Santiago, ICM will visit St. Anne and speak at all Masses March 10 and 11.
A meaningful partnership:
St. Anne Barrington and Catholic Extension
St. Anne Catholic Community has been a dedicated and generous partner in the important work of American missions. Since Lent of 2016, you have worked with Catholic Extension to provide over $60,000 in funds for poor mission dioceses across America. On behalf of the thousands of impoverished people whom you serve through your generosity – thank you for helping us build faith, inspire hope, and ignite change!
Catholic Extension is incredibly grateful to partner with St. Anne once again during Lent of 2018, this time in support of a vibrant and growing project in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, the Proyecto Desarrollo Humano, or the “Human Development Project” (PDH).
In August of 2017, your pastor, Fr. Bernie Pietrzak, joined Cardinal Blase Cupich, the Catholic Extension Board of Governors, and me on a meaningful immersion trip to the Diocese of Brownsville. Brownsville is the poorest Catholic diocese in the United States. The average household income hovers around $30,000 per year. (The national average is nearly twice that much.) But the PDH community is rich in faith, and the story of their beginning is inspirational.
In 2003, a tornado struck a poor area populated by Mexican immigrants in Penitas, Texas. Three Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sister Carolyn Kosub, Sister Emily Jocson, and Sister Fatima Santiago, visited the devastated community. They were shocked not only by the destruction, but also by the poverty. They also were moved by the richness of faith there. The sisters saw this as a sign, so they moved into the community and established PDH, an outreach center created to address four main areas of concern: health, social services, education and evangelization in this isolated, rural area. The center, which is abuzz with activity day and night, includes classrooms, a kitchen, space for large assemblies, a computer lab, a medical and dental clinic, and an organic garden. In the fourteen years since its founding, PDH has become a leader in its community, partnering with universities, hospitals, and local constituencies to serve the spiritual and material needs of the people in their region. Their range of services is remarkable:
• medical clinic
• Media lab
• pre- and post-natal care
• Thrift Store
• self-esteem workshops
• drugs and alcohol classes
• community garden
• job training
• summer program
• community cleanup
• sewing classes
• computer classes
• after-school tutoring
• full service dental clinic
• EKG and X-Ray machine
• Financial literacy courses
• Arts and crafts
• Early learning facility
• Community garden
• Training in leadership
• Parenting classes
• ESL classes for adults
In 2013, upon hearing that the residents needed a place of spiritual fulfillment, the sisters pushed to found St. Anne Catholic Community. After many conversations and lots of prayers, Bishop Daniel Flores established St. Anne on September 8, 2013. It serves four area cities: Penitas, Sullivan City, El Flaco, and Los Ebanos. Many of St. Anne’s parishioners come from Mexico or other southern countries. The presence of the church allows the people to feel the presence of God, to receive the Eucharist, and to be encouraged by their faith.
In 2014, Sister Carolyn, Sister Emily, and Sister Fatima were honored for their service by being named recipients of Catholic Extension’s annual Lumen Christi Award, given to hidden heroes of the faith in the poorest parts of our country. The women have also been honored by the Texas state legislature.
St. Anne and the Proyecto Desarrollo Humano are great examples of what can happen when people of faith love God by serving others. The sisters went to Brownsville fifteen years ago, to find God amidst the rubble. They went to learn and listen. What they found was a new family, financially poor but spiritually rich. According to Sister Carolyn, “Although the people are materially poor, they are rich in qualities that matter much more: family, helpfulness, sharing, joy and—energizing it all—the solid conviction that God is with them.”
Catholic Extension thanks St. Anne Barrington for helping empower the beautiful family of St. Anne Penitas. Your partnership in 2018 continues a beautiful legacy of hope that has touched people across the country. We are thrilled to share this legacy with you once again!
Rev. John J. Wall
President, Catholic Extension
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTNERSHIP IN MINISTRY!!
The mission of Faithjustice is to promote awareness, advocacy and action within the parish around justice issues that are impacting people locally, nationally and internationally. Moreover, we are called to be public witnesses within the larger community to the Church’s commitment to human life and dignity with a special preference to those who are voiceless and poor.
The Committee is comprised of Saint Anne parishioners. We collaborate with the Parish Staff and various ministries participation on the Human Concerns Commission. We participate with the justice committees of other parishes in our deanery, with the Archdiocesan efforts through the Peace & Justice Office, and with Catholic Relief Services.
Parishioners are welcome to participate in one or more issue oriented sub-committees without the need to attend the monthly general meetings.
Contact: Paul & Adrienne Kalmes, 847-344-1869 (evenings), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poverty and Vulnerability
Faithjustice advocates via letters and lobbying for the poorest and most vulnerable locally, nationally and internationally. Educates and raises awareness on issues.
Develops a Lenten Almsgiving project for the parish each year focused on an area of the developing world. Coordinates with other parish ministries on the selected project.
Efforts are directed at beginning an on-going discussion with members of other religious communities in the NW suburban area. Participate in local activities which promote understanding of the religious issues and concerns in a pluralistic society.
Support policy directions which address the root causes of migration, such as economic development, so that migrants can remain in their home countries to support themselves and their families. Advocate for reform of the U.S. legal immigration system and restoration of due process protections for immigrants to allow them to have “their day in court,” consistent with American values and directives of the US Council of Catholic Bishops.
Raise awareness about the justice issues regarding the environment and our world’s resources. Develop conservation and protection activities within the parish.
Quarterly, bring fair trade products and projects to the parish, creating awareness of the justice issues surrounding labor and trade between people living in this country and those living in the developing world. When possible, sponsor collections of used goods that can be put to use in areas where poverty and resource vulnerability make these goods difficult; e.g. cell phones for domestic violence victims, shoes for Haiti.