Promoting personalized help to the hungry and the homeless.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Opus Bono Sacerdotti
Only a few years ago, I never dreamt that I would posting a blog note like this one: among the homeless and hungry are priests. With the growing bandwagon of individuals bringing accusations of misconduct against priests, many fine priests are now being flasely accused by those who see the opportunity for some very fine ill-gotten gains. In fact, an investigation into the situation in California indicates that approximately half of all allegations are false. When allegations are made, most priests find themselves immediately without a job, without an income, often without a vehicle, and, sadly, often without the support of their diocese. Sometimes the trials drag on for months, if not years, before the priest is cleared, and the priest can end up both during the process and even afterward on the street, hungry and homeless.
We had two priests in our parish, both proved innocent (seems to be against the law of the land that one has to prove innocence rather than an accuser having to prove guilt) who went through this difficult period. One ended up with no food at all at one point. Our parish helped, but not all parishes are wiling or able to do so.
One organization, Opus Bono Sacerdotti, helps priests in these circumstances. Currently, though, more than 1000 priests have turned to Opus Bono for assistance, and there is not enough money to go around. I learned this weekend that a new supplicant, Fr. Francis, has just been released from the hospital and has no food or medication. This is just one example of many.
If you can help Fr. Francis or any other priest or contribute even a few dollars on a monthly basis to this good cause, please visit the Opus Bono website. You will find more information there about what Opus Bono does and a mechanism for donating.
Similarly, if you know of a priest in desperate straits, please refer him to Opus Bono. They turn no one away and provide help with food, shelter, and, in extreme cases, safety.
There are many ways to help Syrians as the war shows little evidence of subsiding. Here are some of the organizations helping. Check their websites for information about how you can help them help others.
Save the Children is on the ground, helping to keep children safe, providing the basics they need, like food and blankets and offering programs to help them cope with tragedy. However, the numbers of children escaping the violence are rising every day, and the refugee crisis is set to get worse. They can use help in helping. Read children's first-hand stories at their website.
For more ways to help, an ongoing update, and new opportunities to assist as they arise, check the Syrian American website on a regular basis.
16 million Pakistanis are desperate for help, and one young college student, Wajeeha, and her classmates have taken a journey to help them. Read about their plans (now fulfilled) here: Come Along on a Journey to Help Pakistan One Family at a Time. Thank you to the readers of 100th Lamb who contributed to this effort. More help is needed in Pakistan. In addition to Wajeeha's project, two helping organizations through whom you can contribute are Catholic Relief (for people needs) and World Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (for creature needs).
The "H2H Challenge" asks those who care to go beyond throwing money at the hungry and homeless and instead of giving a handout only, get to know them, give them dignity, and provide them with respect, to follow the example set by St. Francis in eating together with the outcasts of society (in his case, mostly lepers) and through getting to know them in this manner, treating them as the same children of God that we all are, no less worthy of love and kindness than ourselves. Specifically:
Invite someone who is homeless and hungry to dinner once a month. (More often, if you can afford it, is, of course, wonderfully fine!) Get to know that person one-on-one.
You can report on your experiences, if you would like to do so here, by leaving a comment on any related post.Or, if you would like to write a post about it, contact me (Elizabeth.Mahlou@gmail.com).
You might want to donate money, goods, or time to one of the organizations that help the homeless and hungry. There are some in every community. Your location church or chamber of commerce can tell you where they are. I am listing below those that come to my attention as being unusual in what they offer and those that are really in need of financial support (many have fallen into this category during this Great Recession).
I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism,
I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).
100th Lamb This is my main blog. It originated from my book by the same title but has morphed into a blog that explores the spiritual questions I encounter as I careen through a life with many children and in many states and countries, meeting many very interesting and wonderfully diverse people.
The Clan of Mahlou. This blog provides background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family; it is a work in progress since the lives of Mahlou clan members continue to march forward. This blog also contains my conversion story.
Mahlou Musings. This site contains excerpts from my various publications. The tiger is a representation of my spirit and life.
Modern Mysticism This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is addressed to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.