Recycle the Warmth Blanket Drive
MADISON -- The 14th annual Recycle the Warmth Blanket Drive, sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, will be held Friday through Sunday, Jan. 27 to 29. The drive is seeking donations of blankets and other bedding to help provide comfort to low-income families and individuals in Dane County throughout the year. From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers will staff Recycle the Warmth collection points at all four Madison-area ShopKo stores. The five St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores in Madison, Stoughton, and Waunakee will also be accepting donated bedding on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, more than four dozen area churches will serve as collection points for the drive on Saturday and Sunday. Call the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at 608-278-2920 for more information.
Parishes offer programs on grief
MONONA -- Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Monona, will be offering "Moving through Grief." This is a non-denominational Christian program that offers caring support, understanding, and reassurance for those grieving the loss of a loved one. It is a four-session series presented by the IHM Bereavement Ministry Team. The series will be held on Saturday mornings, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Feb. 4, 11, 18, and 25. A group reunion will be held in March or April. There is no charge, but registration is necessary. For more information or to register, call Kathy Bier at the parish office, 608-221-1521.
STOUGHTON -- The Grief Support Ministry of St. Ann Parish in Stoughton will be facilitating a video series entitled "No One Cries the Wrong Way." These sessions will include a group discussion after each video and a prayer service. This series is narrated by Fr. Joe Kempf. The video series is scheduled to be held at St. Ann in the lower level on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. The reunion or fifth session will be held on March 21. There is no fee to attend the program, but registration is requested. To register call Rita Ihm at 608-873-3253.
Elizabeth House: House warming scheduled
MADISON -- A "Grand House Warming" celebration for the Elizabeth House maternity home, 1350 MacArthur Rd. on Madison's east side, is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 29, from 2 to 5 p.m.
The public is invited to tour the new 10-bedroom home as well as Care Net Pregnancy Center's new offices and medical clinic on the lower level.
A special "House Blessing" will take place at 3 p.m. with speakers Msgr. Paul J. Swain of Madison's Catholic Diocese and Dave Gerry, owner of Madison's Princeton Clubs.
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Catholic schools: 'Character. Compassion. Values.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Catholic Schools: Character. Compassion. Values." is the theme of Catholic Schools Week 2006.
The week runs from January 29 to February 4 in Catholic schools throughout the nation. The observance begins on the last Sunday in January every year.
National Appreciation Day For Catholic Schools will be observed Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Two other highlights of the week are Vocation Appreciation Day on February 2 and National Appreciation Day for Catholic School Teachers, a tribute to the 163,000 Catholic educators, observed February 3.
A longtime tradition in Catholic education, now in its 32nd year, Catholic Schools Week became part of the National Marketing Campaign for Catholic Schools in 1991. This year-round program is a collaborative undertaking by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Dr. Karen M. Ristau, who became NCEA's president in July, said, "Catholic Schools Week is an especially good time to celebrate character, compassion, and values. Many of our schools in the Gulf suffered serious damage in the hurricanes. True to their character, most of them have reopened. Other students across the nation contributed more than $1 million in a Child to Child relief effort, demonstrating that their compassion and values are enduring."
Dominican Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, secretary for education at USCCB, said, "The theme of 'Character. Compassion. Values' reinforces concepts that are part and parcel of every Catholic school. Schools live by and pass on values; they develop character and show compassion for every student."
The purpose of Catholic Schools Week is to build support and recognition for the almost 8,000 Catholic schools nationwide. During this week, many dioceses encourage parents to enroll their children in Catholic schools. CSW also is an opportunity to interest citizens in volunteering their time and talents to local Catholic schools.
National Appreciation Day was established to encourage supporters nationwide to showcase the great accomplishments and contributions of Catholic schools to our country.
In Washington, a delegation of more than 150 Catholic school students, teachers, and parents will visit Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders to promote Catholic schools.
As part of their marathon day, they will hand-deliver letters from chief administrators of Catholic education to their representatives and provide a background package on Catholic schools to every congressional office.
National Appreciation Day for Catholic Schools is an important day in communities around the country as well. Governors, big-city mayors, and small-town councils have joined in to issue proclamations in support of Catholic schools. Many civic leaders also meet with students, parents, and principals to celebrate Catholic education on this day.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House: Opens new doors
MADISON -- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Madison (SVDP) has just opened its fourth St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, renovating an old, worn-down house in the Marquette Neighborhood here into what will soon become a warm place for women and children.
The new St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House (Seton IV), a newly remodeled two-unit building directly next door to the first Seton House, will serve as temporary housing for women and children coming out of homelessness.
The program, named in honor of the first American-born Catholic saint, has served hundreds of women and children since it was first started in 1990. In 2005 alone, it provided a welcome roof to 70 individuals in 51 households, including three newborns.
Making things new
According to Ernie Stetenfeld, communications director for SVDP here, the previous owner, when selling her house, wanted very much to sell to SVDP because they had "been good neighbors," often helping to mow her lawn and shovel her sidewalk.
And when taking a tour of the new Seton IV, he said, she was very much surprised by - and pleased with - how different the house looked after all the remodeling was done.
The house is now divided into an upstairs and a downstairs unit with a shared basement. Each unit has a kitchen, several bedrooms, and plenty of closet space. Many of the pieces of furniture and appliances that now decorate the house were used pieces donated to St. Vincent de Paul.
In addition to the professional crews that worked on the house, long-time Vincentian Bill Schneider provided help with the remodeling. The retired construction worker and carpenter volunteered many hours to make the house ready for habitation, even carving beautiful wooden
frames for the doorways.
The purchase and remodeling of the new Seton IV was made possible especially with the help of a $121,000 loan provided by the city of Madison through the Community Development Block Grant program.
Clients, mostly single-parent families that have exhausted available shelter time and need more time to find permanent housing, pay the program fees, but SVDP pays all utility bills and furnishes all of the four Seton House units.
For more information on the project, or to donate, go to www.svdpmadison.org/seton.html