During Lent we’ve been taking up a special collection each week before Mass as our communal “almsgiving.” As announced each week a portion of this collection will go to our diocesan mission parish in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Our Catholic school and religious education children are also collecting money in their “mite boxes” for this same purpose. The parish at Santa Cruz serves literally tens of thousands of Catholics, most of whom live in great poverty. The parish and all its various ministries could never exist without this generous support of our Diocese.
The remainder of what is collected goes to each parish’s “Works of Charity” fund. Through these funds we are able to support programs like the Agnes Table here in Chippewa Falls, and Sojourner House in Eau Claire. It also allows us to provide emergency assistance to parishioners and to those who show up at our door needing help: gas vouchers, rent money, utilities, temporary shelter, etc. The “Works of Charity” account is also funded by the stipends received for funerals and weddings, and occasional contributions for parishioners.
The other specific charity our Mission Team has identified for this year’s Lenten collection is the Veterans Assistance Program on the campus of the Northern Center in Chippewa Falls. The Veterans Assistance Program (VAP) helps homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless receive the job training, education, counseling, and rehabilitative services (such as alcohol and drug abuse treatment) they need to obtain steady employment, affordable housing and the skills need to sustain a productive lifestyle.
The Veterans Assistance Center partners with federal, state, and local governments, along with private charities, community organizations, and local businesses. This extensive coalition produces outreach and a referral network that gets homeless veterans off the streets and into a center for appropriate assistance. I think most of our Mission Team was unaware that such a center was here in the local community – our thanks to Al Goettl for bringing it to our attention!
Many thanks for your generosity to our Lenten collection for charity! If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution by check, you can do so by making out your check to either “St. Peter or St. Charles’ Works of Charity”
PS. I will be joining our ALPHA participants on their weekend retreat March 21-22 in Black River Falls. Please keep all our ALPHA participants in your prayers, that they may be led to a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit. Thanks!