Two notes on reaching out:
Thanks to a reader for sending along this Washington Times story on a new home for single pregnant women and young mothers:
The home is named for Paul Stefan James, the son of Randy and Evie James, who lived one hour after being born without lungs. Mrs. James was told by her doctor that she should go to Kansas to obtain a late-term abortion. She and her husband refused, then turned to God for strength and guidance throughout the rest of the pregnancy.On the same day that the couple received the news that the child would be born without lungs, Mrs. James’ “Chicken Soup for the Soul” daily calendar had a piece of encouragement for the expectant mother’s soul, which referenced a baby with “an amazing set of lungs.”
Father Starzynski suggested that Mrs. James read the encouraging words every day, although he suggested that the “amazing set of lungs” may not come in the form of the miracle she expected.
Meanwhile, the priest felt inspired to begin an unwed mothers home. The Jameses soon felt called to become active in the pro-life movement, though they weren’t sure what to expect. Paul Stefan was born Dec. 15, 2005, and was baptized before he died. He was named in honor of Father Starzynski and the Rev. Paul Scalia, son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Jameses accepted God’s call by partnering with Father Starzynski to begin a home for unwed mothers, something they all hope will be the beginning of a national movement. Mrs. James understood why Paul Stefan’s “set of lungs” was so amazing.
Outside groups are helping to support the home. Piedmont United Way is providing assistance to the home, and Williams Cos., a natural-gas business based in Tulsa, Okla., leased a large parcel to the Paul Stefan Foundation for only $1 per year.
The property has one large, comfortable, furnished home that is serving five women and five babies. Another site that will open eventually will allow the home to care for about 10 women.
The home’s website is here, with information about how you can donate and help in other ways if you live in the area (Northern Virginia)
Then, via the excellent blog from Deacon Greg Kendra, this Catholic Online story (originally from the Denver Catholic Register) about a college student with a mission:
Timothy Reidy is an average all-American college student who never thought he would be using something like YouTube to promote a cause he is passionate about.
Born and raised in Denver, he went to St. Thomas More School, followed by four years of Regis Jesuit High School. This month, Reidy will start his junior year at the University of Notre Dame, where he is majoring in architecture. He knows undoubtedly what his two passions in life are: “Designing, and working with the poor.”
This summer he had the opportunity to exercise both when he spent nine weeks in Africa, on the western plain of Uganda. The village where Reidy stayed was called Kyarusozi. He taught mathematics and speech in a Catholic school, St. Joseph Kyembogo (pronounced Chim-bogo). It was there he worked with underprivileged families, finding himself in love with the genuine Catholic identity embodied in the tribal people.
“In Uganda,” said Reidy, “you see the Church so deeply engrained in the culture that it comes out so easily. There are no distractions from God. Faith is so easy there.”
“There’s an awesome greeting they have in Rutoro,” he added, describing one of 30 tribal languages spoken in Uganda. “‘Jesu nakugonza’! It means ‘Jesus loves you!’”
When Reidy returned to America, occupied with the thought of his students and their families, he had the idea of making a slide show in order to raise money for the school. He began designing a video on Windows Movie Maker using the pictures and short video he took with his digital camera.
“I pulled two all-nighters to make the film,” said Reidy. “You know because I am an ‘arky’.”
Once the video was finished, the impassioned architect student decided to place it on YouTube.
“It was only after that, I realized its potential,” he said, explaining that he had 50 views before telling anyone about it.
Keeping his YouTube link as the main reference, Reidy has started to develop other ways of raising money for his students at St. Joseph’s School. One of his ideas include organizing a Walkathon for American school children, to not only be in solidarity with the Ugandan students who might walk a minimum of four hours a day just to attend school, but also to have the kids ask parents, grandparents, or relatives for a money donation toward every mile they walk. If the donors require an explanation of where the funds are going, Reidy has given his would-be cooperators the perfect explanation.
“Just go to the link,” he says confidently. “It’s all right there.”
Reidy’s YouTube video is compelling, capturing the infectious spirit of the Ugandans, their dismal plight and Reidy’s obvious love for them. He hopes it will help St. Joseph Kyembogo School raise the $30,000 necessary to build dormitories so the students won’t have to make their arduous commutes, thereby enhancing their education by enabling them to spend more time on their studies.
Reidy is excited about the opportunity YouTube presents to effectively communicate global social concerns using creativity and ingenuity.
The address for donations is at the end of the video, but in case you miss it, it’s:
Holy Cross Mission Center
PO Box 543
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0543
And include a note indicating that your donation is for “Boy’s Dormitory, St. Joseph’s Senior School, Kyembogo, Uganda”