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Fr. Scott’s Update from Mexico

Sta  Teresa De AvilaWe are always happy to receive news from Fr. Scott McDermott about his ministry:

      Parroquia de Sta Teresa De Avila  En Monterrey    9 de Abril, 2014

Greetings in the Lord!

I have been reflecting on how our parish families grow and transform. Here at Sta. Teresa we are in our adolescences now turning 13 this year. Our children are entering into the high school stage. The youth I married 24 years ago as a deacon in the neighboring parish, are becoming grandparents and those who I baptized, parents. Like a scene out of Steel Magnolias (from the late 80s) life flowers and fades as is seeds new experiences in God´s unending love. Thus it is this continuing birth or Nativity experience that brings us back to our origin as it prepares us for that Great Easter!

Here at the parish my life has become so intertwined with those whom we try to serve that I am not always called “father”, some call me “Grandpa”. I found a kid in a youth group who was not in school, 14 years old. His mother was abandoned by his father when he was born (they were even married by the church) and his mother got to the point she could hardly feed him much less send him to school. I enrolled him and got him the two thousand pesos for his shoes, uniform and school supplies. He calls me papa and in “face” calls himself “Negro McDermott” or in English “The Black McDermott”.. When I took him home I found his smaller half-brother was not in elementary school (his father among the victims of organized crime) . I talked to the principal and sent his mother to enroll him. I have started a scholarship program trying to get as many into high school and keep them there as possible. Here the high schools are affiliated with the University of Nuevo Leon. The cost is surprising given our reality, 600 dollars a semester. We get the discounts we can from the university itself, but it is still a challenge. The other problem it to make sure they go. I take a group of 5 to school every morning at 6:15 a.m. and attend parent teacher conferences for those who have no father or parent figure. We started a drug testing program too in order to correct such problems as we go along. All I can think is the poor people who innocently think they will eliminate organized crime by legalizing drugs for recreational use. Those who are enslaved by drugs are just as dead as those who are shot by the drug lords. All said and done, we have made tremendous progress that more and more are now in school. Twenty years ago the dropout rate of elementary school was horrendous.

We continue with our youth retreats. It is my hope that with our building project we will soon be able to have them here in the parish. We took two months off from retreats and our first one had 85 in attendance. There are about another 20 programed for this year. With over 1500 baptisms last year we will have children and youth for some years to come.

In our building project we have finished the basement of the first part and hope to finish the next floor in about 6 weeks. We begin using the spaces as soon as they are useable… sometimes a little before. The basement I use for Sunday Bible classes… I know that sounds a little protestant to you, but it seemed to be the best day for many. So I have two sessions and about 100 in each attending. We have 700 adults enrolled in our bible school which is affiliated with the Archdiocesan School. Sundays are a little crazier, but then here they are rarely normal.

The Archdiocese created three new parishes near us last year. Given that I still have 25000 out of 40,000 catholic parishioners that do not come to mass; we have a lot of work to do before we peak. They are building another 500 homes where there used to be soccer ball fields. My parish physically is a little more than a mile square.

Our security situation in the parish district has been quiet. Not so in other parts of the city, nor the country for that matter. The border region has had intense gun battles in urban areas in the last few days. We have started to see armed groups too near the church. I talked to our military police last night and they are trying to set up more check points but asked for more citizen participation. The private sector has helped finance a large professional police force which has made a tremendous difference for us, since we were one of the hot spots of the metro area for organized crime; we have more police than other sectors.

I thank Fr. Kevin Boucher and Social Justice and all of the Parish of Nativity for your prayers and financial support for this ongoing mission that in many ways began on the altar steps of our old Gym Church.

Just a quick note to the KCs who I often remember in my prayers and do not ever forget that they helped pay for my seminary!

Fr. Scott McDermott

(Fr. Scott and Fr. Jack Davis a few years ago.)

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Holy Thursday Collection for Fraser and CRS

Our Holy Thursday collection will assist homeless young people in Fargo and displaced children in Syria. 

Fraser, Ltd, is in the process of opening 21 dormitory-style rooms to shelter homeless people ages 18-26 years, a growing segment of our population needing housing, through their P.S.H. Program – Permanent Supportive Housing.

We’ll learn more about their specific needs and how we can help, much like we did for Cooper House, at our Social Justice Meeting on May 6th. 

The current 3 year civil war in Syria has resulted in over 100,000 deaths and 2.5 million refugees. Catholic Relief Services and its partners have assisted 250,000 war-affected Syrians with shelter assistance, winterized materials, food support, medical care, education for children and trauma counseling. Their health clinics are serving thousands, treating everything from life-threatening wounds to chronic illnesses. In Jordan, their education programs for Syrian children are so successful that they are piloting the first conflict-sensitive education training in the country.

 If you would like to contribute to this collection, please make your check payable to Nativity.

April 2014 Social Justice Calendar

Tues. Aprl 1st               Social Justice Meeting: Does Human Trafficking Happen in Fargo?        Colin Gnoisky, FPD    Bethlehem Room  meeting begins at 6:30pm, speaker at 7pm

Fri. Apr. 5th                  First Friday Fast in Solidarity with Those Living in Poverty

 

Tues. Apr. 8th               Building Bridges Conference begins Fargo Holiday Inn   Contact Darci Asche, Lutheran Social Services  271-1604 or dasche@lssnd.org

                                      Black Like Me  classic film on racism  PPTV/Ch 13  7pm

Wed. Apr. 9th               Building Bridges Conference continues

Thurs. Apr. 10th           Pope Francis’s World Peace Day Message   discussion lead by Fr. Duane Pribula  7pm Riverview Place  sponsored by Pax Christi Fargo-Moorhead

 

Mon. Apr. 14th              Dorothy Day House  Nativity serves supper

Tues. Apr. 22nd            Earth Day

                                    American Masters: A Fierce Green Fire 50 yrs of global activism for the environment  PPTV/Ch.13 8pm

Fri. Aprl 26th                Take a Stand Against Racism Day  sponsored by the YWCA

Sat. Apr. 26th              Salvation Army   Nativity serves lunch   Call Cathy at Nativity if you would like to help.

 

Next Social Justice Meeting:  May 6th

Does Human Trafficking Happen in Fargo?

Colin Gnoinsky, a member of the Fargo Police Department’s investigations team  will respond to that question and others on Tuesday, April 1st, at 7pm in the Nazareth Room. The  Social Justice Commission will meet at 6:30pm.  All are invited to either or both parts of the meeting.

A recent press conference held at the Vatican presented the “Global Freedom Network”, an agreement between the representatives of the great world religions to eradicate modern forms of slavery and human trafficking  across the world by 2020; it is a revolutionary and unprecedented agreement among representatives of major faiths.

According to the Joint Statement, “Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes against humanity. The physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children condemns 30 million people to dehumanization and degradation… We call to action all people of faith and their leaders, all governments and people of goodwill, to join the movement against modern slavery and human trafficking and support the Global Freedom Network”.

March 2014 Social Justice Calendar

 

Women’s History Month      Minnesota Food Share Month

 

Fri. Mar. 7th                 First Friday Fast in Solidarity with Those Living in Poverty

Sat. Mar. 8th                International Women’s Day

                                    National Catholic Sisters’ Week begins

 

Tues. Mar.  11th           Community Garden 2014 potluck and meeting  Nazareth Room  5:30pm

Wed. Mar. 12th            Project Community Connect, 2nd Chance Job Fair and Veterans’                 Stand-Down

                                    FargoDome 9am – 5pm

Fri. Mar. 14th               Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence  weekend begins

                                      Growing Together through Community Gardening   public forum 7-9pm

Dakota Medical Foundation  4141 28th Ave. S.  Fargo    free

Sat. Mar. 15th              Growing Together workshop  https://communitygardenworkshop.eventbrite.com.

to register.

 

Sun. Mar. 16th             Fair Trade Coffee   available for purchase after morning liturgies

Wed. Mar. 19th            Feast of St. Joseph – National Agriculture Day

Sat. Mar. 22nd             Salvation Army   Nativity serves lunch   Call Cathy at Nativity if you can help.

                                     World Water Day

                                    Get Your Panties in a Bunch  benefit for African Soul, American Heart School for Orphaned Girls  2-4pm  Radisson Hotel

Next Social Justice Meeting:  Tuesday, April 1st

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