On the first day of school last fall, children in Carthage, Mississippi, came home to find their parents gone—taken away in the largest statewide ICE raid in U.S. history. Traumatized by such sudden loss and desperate for support, families turned to their faith community, St. Anne.
That help was available through Catholic Extension’s Holy Family Fund which provides financial and emotional support for those suffering as a result of detention or deportation.
Father Odel Medina, the pastor at St. Anne, says the already-traumatized community now carries an additional burden – higher levels of anxiety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The parish is working hard to keep the community connected and to continue offering its vital programs. Fr. Odel and parish staff stay in contact with parishioners through texting and social media. They offer encouragement and share messages from the Pope to bolster their faith.
At the nearby Sacred Heart Parish, also impacted by the raids, Father Mike O’Brien encourages his parishioners to continue praying at home:
“The basic cell and heart of the Church is not a building… It is you and your family. You are the domestic Church.”
Both communities continue to celebrate Mass together online. Fr. Odel streams the Mass on Facebook Live from his phone. Father O’Brien uploads video to the parish website.
The counselors in the Catholic Extension-sponsored trauma recovery program have gotten creative; providing services through “tele-counseling.”
And St. Anne continues to provide for basic needs to the families who are part of Holy Family Fund program. They take extra care while distributing supplies to homes due to coronavirus concerns.
Faith communities like this one in Carthage, Mississippi, need your help to continue their life-saving outreach. They cannot do it alone. Express solidarity with impoverished faith communities affected by COVID-19 by giving to our coronavirus response virtual collection basket, praying with and for us and inspiring others by sharing this story.
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