- New Redemptorist parochial vicar joins Concord, Kannapolis parishes
- Renewing roots in charity
- Photos: Honoring Mary, the Mother of God
- Mecklenburg County Bar honors diocesan attorney
- Monroe pastor leads pilgrimage to National Shrine of St. Dymphna
- PHOTO GALLERY: Crowning Mary during Family Rosary Procession
- Charlotte food pantry gets refrigerators
Murphy church fits weekend meals into bags for needy students
MURPHY — During Lent, Catholic Social Services invites parishes to take part in Operation Rice Bowl, a program that collects donations to help fund development programs that promote human dignity and encourage self-reliance. Twenty-five percent of the donations support efforts to alleviate poverty within the Diocese of Charlotte.
St. William Church in Murphy runs one of the programs supported by these local Operation Rice Bowl donations.
The Backpacks Ministry began when it was discovered that 3- and 4-year-olds at a local pre-kindergarten school were not eating their snacks during snack-time. Instead, they were saving them so they would have food to eat over the weekend when they were at home. The publicly-funded school is for children who are not prepared for kindergarten. Being from low-income households, many of them risk going without food when they are not in school.
St. William's parishioners partnered with an area Baptist church to provide weekend meals for the children. When the other church ran out of money, St. William members kept it going with the support of other parishioners and the diocese.
Each week parishioners from the confirmation preparation class gather to pack meals into bags for the students to take home with them. Last year, they filled bags for 30 children, but this year there has been a huge increase. They now fill 51 bags with six meals every week. Because it is likely that the young children will be left to fend for themselves at meal-time, the bagged meals consist of food that is easy to prepare, such as Pop-Tarts, applesauce and peanut butter crackers.
Michelle Calascione, the parish's catechetical leader, reflects on the fact that these children rely on food that can fit into a small bag: "How many people can fit all the food they eat for a whole weekend into a single brown bag?"
Calascione says the ministry also serves an educational purpose for the young parishioners who pack the brown bags.
"They all know why they're doing it, they know what the purpose is," she says.
One of the confirmation class leaders, Sylvia Servin, says the students volunteer their time to do this because "we are called to make a difference in the world. These young children are preparing to receive a sacrament that confirms the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives; this ministry offers them the opportunity to share the fruits of the spirit with those less fortunate."
With the ongoing support of the diocese and parishioners, the ministry has had no problem providing more than 300 meals each week. "It's amazing," Calascione says. "The generosity has been unreal."
— Christopher Lux, correspondent
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rights
As a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...Read More...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical Christianity
Recently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...Read More...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrifice
St. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...Read More...
Arts & Entertainment
For the love of painting: Lifesize portrait painted of Monsignor Marcaccio
GREENSBORO — Last month Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio, pastor of St. Pius X Church in Greensboro, was hung. On a wall. In the church. Last year, St. Pius X parishioners hired up-and-coming British artist Nancy Fletcher to paint a life-size...Read More...
Shroud of Turin broadcast set for Holy Saturday
DENVER — Pope Benedict XVI's decision to allow a TV broadcast of the Shroud of Turin on March 30, Holy Saturday, has been lauded by experts for highlighting the link between the shroud and the death and resurrection of Christ. "Pope Benedict...Read More...
A Catholic iPhone contract for teens
HUNTERSVILLE — For many parents, giving their teenaged son or daughter a smartphone can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, cell phones are a reassuring tool in the event of an emergency. On the other hand, there are the dangers of texting...Read More...