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Community support offers ray of hope for closed center Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Wednesday, Jul. 01, 2009 -- 4:14 AM

MADISON -- The Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) of Madison, recently closed due to budget cuts in the Diocese of Madison, has been given a ray of hope, according to officials with Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison.

Msgr. Ken Fiedler, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace, which has been in the lead of the effort to keep the center open, says a grassroots effort to raise funds to re-open the most critical service of the CMC has gone very well.

"We've received significant support from a number of people and organizations," said Michelle Horton, social action and community enrichment director at the parish. "The Madison diocese has offered support, and donations received from concerned people in Dane county, and from across the Midwest, makes it possible for us to make this announcement."

Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish had offered to assume responsibility for the center June 5 after the Diocese of Madison had announced May 27 that it was cutting 19 full-time and four part-time diocesan employees and closing the center due to a severe budget shortfall. In the following weeks the parish, with support of neighboring pastors and parishes, has raised funds for the center, which had previously offered meals, religious services, adult education, and employment assistance for those in need.

With the funds collected so far, the doors of the CMC will be able to re-open on Monday, Aug. 3, beginning with the meal program and food pantry. St. Mary's Hospital in Madison has agreed to continue the Parish Nurse Program formerly offered at the center, Horton said. Andrew Russell the former director of the Center will return as the director along with three other former employees. In addition, Catholic Charities will provide a part-time bilingual counselor.

"It is a great start but not enough to sustain the important work of the center. We are right now crafting a two-year budget which will allow us time to work on a more permanent solution on how to better utilize the facility and funding sources," Horton said.

An open house at the CMC has been scheduled for Sunday, July 12, from 2 to 5 p.m. All are invited to attend. The Catholic Multicultural Center is located at 1862 Beld St., off Park St. on Madison's south side.

 
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