San Francisco, Calif., Jul 7, 2012 (CNA) -
La Madre de los Pobres is the little charity you never heard of.
The organization founded by Franciscan Father Alfred Boeddeker and some pals in 1982 operates on a shoestring – providing direct aid to projects in more than 20 countries, from the Czech Republic and Albania and Guatemala to the Congo, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
“Father Alfred was a man of great faith,” said Frank Clark, president and one of the founders of La Madre de los Pobres (Mother of the Poor) who worked with the former pastor of St. Boniface Parish. Father Boeddeker, who died in 1994, is best known for founding St. Anthony’s Dining Room.
“He would say 'Don’t worry about the money. Feed the hungry and the money will come.'”
La Madre is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a dinner May 10 at Caesar’s Restaurant in San Francisco, one of two fundraising dinners each year.
La Madre gives away about 95 percent of its donations in small grants that average $2,000 to $3,000 a year.
“It’s a very small-scale operation and we try to work with people who help people on a small scale effectively,” said board member Gregory Gollnick, a retired airline pilot.
“We’ve got a project in Eritrea where we gave them a cow and she had a calf and they named the cow Madre,” said Gollnick.
A Dec. 16, 2010, letter from Capuchin Franciscan Father Zerayakob O. Michael enclosed photos of the cow with the little school community in Dekemhare, Eritrea.
“Thanks to your esteemed organization we are getting enough milk (for) all members of our community,” wrote Father Michael.
“All of us are very, very happy. … May the child Jesus bless you all.”
La Madre helps those who provide direct aid, usually but not always professed Catholic religious, said board member Paul Crudo, a retired dentist.
Mary Clark, a nurse, is involved on the ground in developing countries with La Madre-supported groups.
She returned in December from Gimbie, Ethiopia, where the midwife and nurse practitioner conducted a 10-week midwife training program and then traveled to Nairobi to review a nurse training project.
“She was helping with very basic health problems, they don’t have a health system like we would think of,” said Gollnick, adding at one point Clark, one of the widowed Frank Clark’s nine children, was working in 117-degree heat.
“They had a nurse from Uganda … who later had to take some months off because she was shot. It’s rough territory.”
One of those Mary Clark works with is Ugandan Sister Angela Limiyo who last year moved her medical clinic and nurse training school from Kuron, South Sudan, to Uganda because of the violence in Sudan.
In a note accompanying a photo of her work with Sister Angela, a Missionary Sister of Mary Mother of the Church, Mary Clark wrote:
“… we had our share of treating warriors’ battle wounds in the Kuron Medical Clinic.” After patching up the young warrior, Mary Clark said they sent him on to the hospital. “He lived. The Toposa warriors of South Sudan are very tough,” she said.
The idea is a little money can go a long way if it is spent directly by those who need it.
La Madre provided satellite phones for a remote mission school in Sierra Leone and equipped a radio station for Dominicans in the Czech Republic.
It supports orphans from the Kosovo-Albanian war in Albania and sends money to help HIV/AIDS orphans in Tanzania. It sends money to a health clinic run by Presentation Sisters in Guatemala and to a home in Jamaica for children living with HIV/AIDS.
La Madre is paying tuition for a young woman attending teachers college in Guatemala and last year paid for another to receive nurse’s training.
La Madre sends money to a Salesian running a technical school in Lahore, Pakistan, in an area beset with religious strife, Frank Clark said.
“They’re blowing each other up. They’re killing the Catholics. We send money for the technical school,” Clark said.
“One priest sent a note apologizing because the school snack price ran from four cents to five cents,” said Gollnick of a grant recipient.
“How can you lose giving money to someone like that?”
Posted with permission by Catholic San Fransisco. Official newspaper for the diocese of San Francisco, California.
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 7, 2012 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced the resolution of six cases involving priests who were placed on leave following a grand jury report on sex abuse allegations, removing two of them from ministry permanently.
“In making these decisions I relied on the counsel of numerous experts,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said in a July 6 statement.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that four priests have been found “suitable for ministry” after an investigative process by 20 specialists in child abuse, while two priests were deemed “unsuitable for ministry.”
In the cases of the two priests who were found “unsuitable,” neither of them involved allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, but were the result of them violating the archdiocese's “Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.”
The archdiocese's behavioral standards establish a strict code of conduct by which all adults who interact with minors must abide. The standards include rules such as, “Church personnel are not to step beyond their competence” in counseling situations, adults should avoid “physical contact of any kind,” and leaders should “socialize with other adult chaperones” while on trips with youth groups.
It was not indicated which of the standards the priests who were removed from ministry violated.
Archbishop Chaput praised the work of those involved in the investigations, calling them “crucial” in dealing with “the broad societal problem of sexual abuse.”
“I'm grateful for their tireless efforts,” the archbishop said.
A total of 26 priests were suspended from ministry by Archbishop Chaput's predecessor, Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, in response to allegations of sex abuse or inappropriate behavior contained in a 2011 grand jury report.
In May 2012, Archbishop Chaput announced the resolution of eight cases, permanently barring five priests from ministry.
Each case was first reviewed by the local district attorney before being reviewed by the Archdiocesean Multi-Disciplinary Action Team, which was reformed last year in response to the initial grand jury report.
Some of the remaining cases have not yet been cleared for archdiocesan investigation by the local district attorney, while others have only recently been released by the authorities.
According to a July 6 press release, the archdiocese was unable to reveal the resolution of other cases, but “hopes to announce them as soon as possible.”
The archdiocese said it will continue to pursue the parish level initiative, “Honesty, Healing, and Hope in Christ,” which seeks to support victims and others affected by abuse while building safe environments for the future.
Baltimore, Md., Jul 7, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore expressed appreciation after a federal court said Maryland pregnancy centers should not have to post signs they claimed were unnecessary and discriminatory.
“At a time when religious freedom is being challenged on many fronts, this ruling represents a major victory for the First Amendment and for those people who seek to live their lives and their faith according to it,” Archbishop Lori said in his response to the decision.
The archbishop, who also heads the U.S. bishops' religious freedom committee, said the centers had been “targeted for their pro-life views.” He praised the judges for striking down the “onerous, discriminatory laws” which “have no place in a nation founded on freedom.”
In two June 27 rulings, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld lower court decisions against laws regulating pregnancy centers in Baltimore and Montgomery County.
Centro Tepeyac said its free speech rights were violated by the requirement to post signs stating: “The Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff” and the “Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”
On similar grounds, the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns challenged the rule under which any “limited-service pregnancy center” would have to inform all clients “that the center does not provide or make referral for abortion or birth-control services.”
In the Montgomery County case, two of the three judges found that the government was forcing the pregnancy center to suggest to clients “that the center is not to be trusted and that a pregnancy center’s services … will usually be inferior to those offered by medical professionals.”
“Montgomery County is entitled to believe that pregnancy is first and foremost a medical condition,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Steven Agee, “but it may not compel unwilling speakers to express that view.”
In the Baltimore case, Judge Niemeyer was joined by Judge Agee in finding the compulsion of speech to be unconstitutional, “in violation of the First Amendment presumption that 'speakers, not the government, know best both what they want to say and how to say it.'”
Local officials say the case could be appealed to the Supreme Court. Critics of the pregnancy centers have traditionally taken issue with their frequent religious associations, as well as their attempts to warn women about the physical, emotional and personal consequences of abortion.