Providence, R.I., Oct 5, 2013 / 11:44 am (CNA).- The poverty rate is deepening in Rhode Island and in response the Diocese of Providence is opening its arms even wider by way of its ministries.
While Pope Francis recently referred to poverty as a “scandal,” and called for a greater sharing among the world’s people of the planet’s vast resources, the Diocese of Providence has for many years led a successful, multi-faceted outreach effort to help meet the needs of the less fortunate in its midst.
Diocesan ministries continue to meet the growing need of the homeless, the poor, the disadvantaged who cannot afford to heat their homes, the elderly poor and young mothers and families.
That poverty is growing in Rhode Island was confirmed last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty rate was 13.6 percent — up slightly from the 2010 census — the highest in New England. The national average is 15 percent, the bureau reported.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said last week that being a Catholic does not mean having to choose between doctrine and charity, between truth and love. It includes both, he said, noting the array of diocesan ministries offered to care for those in need at all stages of life.
As the starting point for families in need, the diocesan Office of Family and Life sponsors The Gabriel Project as an outreach for women during and beyond pregnancy, said Director Carol Owens.
The program assists by providing material, physical and spiritual help and by offering resources through diocesan social ministry programs as well as government programs.
The needs of the mothers run from diapers to strollers, baby clothing to high chairs, Loiselle said. “We rely on donations from the diocese to help them.”
Hanoi Hernandez, 34, the single mother of three, works as a certified nursing assistant and hopes to earn enough money to attend a class to become an income tax preparer.
“It meant a lot (going to The Gabriel Project) because you know the first time you go that you are welcome,” she said. “Anything that I needed they provided. It is a lot of work. I am hoping to find a way.”
For those facing homelessness, so many men are finding their way to the diocesan supported Emmanuel House shelter in South Providence that it has been consistently strained to operate at its capacity of 35 each night for the past two years. The men start lining (Read More)