May your heart be filled with peace & joy this holiday season!

christmas 2014“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” John 1:4

As we celebrate this Holy Season, I pray that your heart is filled with peace, joy and the warmth of the light of Christ!

Thank you for your partnership in our mission of offering life-giving programs, advocating for the voiceless, and empowering the poor and vulnerable to foster a more just society. Your prayers and support are truly a blessing to all of us in ministry and the many families and individuals served by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.

O Come, Emmanuel! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

-Sr. Marjorie Hebert, M.S.C., President and CEO

By Region: Information available for immigrants who may qualify for legal relief under Executive Action

En Espanol: Información disponible para inmigrantes que podrían cumplir con los requisitos para acceder al alivio establecido por la acción ejecutiva

On Thursday, November 20, President Obama gave a speech announcing executive action on immigration. These new policies announced by President Obama will defer deportation and allow certain noncitizens to temporarily remain in the U.S., as well as obtain work and travel authorization.  Katherine, a native of Marksville, Louisiana, had a hard time grasping how much that one-hour speech changed her life.  Her husband, Marco, is from Honduras.  He arrived without documents about twelve years ago.  Katherine and Marco have been married for ten years and have three small children who are all United States citizens.  When Katherine realized that Marco may qualify for one of the new “deferred action” programs, she burst into tears.  Katherine said that the first thing she wants to do is go to the Alexandria zoo and take a picture with the Christmas lights, then “send a copy of our family photo to President Obama and say thank you.  We could never go anywhere as a family before; we were afraid to go out.”  Merry Christmas indeed!

There is a network of accredited organizations working to provide free or low-cost immigration legal services across Louisiana.  These agencies include: the Central Louisiana Interfaith Immigration Center in Alexandria; the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy in Slidell; the LSU Law School Immigration Clinic, the Loyola New Orleans College of Law Immigration Clinic, and Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport.  These organizations are ready to help eligible immigrants respond to this new opportunity, and are working hard to provide free and accurate information to immigrants who may be eligible for these new legal protections.

These organizations have observed that during periods of immigration reform, there are unfortunately unscrupulous attorneys and non-attorneys who take advantage of people seeking fast low-cost legal assistance.  Although many people offer to help with immigration services, not all are authorized to do so.  It important to avoid notario fraud by those who may offer to “sign you up now” for a fee.  The reality is that the application process is NOT open yet.  The government will not be accepting applications for another few months, no-one can sign you up now, and there is no priority “waitlist” for applications.  http://www.uscis.gov is the government website with reliable information on who is eligible and when applications can be filed.  Accurate information on President Obama’s new immigration policy is also available at: http://www.adminrelief.org.

You are encouraged to attend one of the many legal group information sessions being held across Louisiana to get complete and accurate information on whether you might qualify for deferral from deportation under these new “deferred action” policies and if so, what you can do to prepare:

New Orleans area:

–         Immigration Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is holding free group orientation sessions at its Catholic Charities office, San Martin’s Hall at 2505 Maine Avenue in Metairie, LA 70003.  The first of these sessions will be held on January 8th at 7:00 pm.  Space is limited, so advance registration is required and will be granted on a first-come first-serve basis.  To register or to sign up to receive more details on this and future group orientation sessions, contact Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Immigration and Refugee Services at: (504) 457-3462.

–         The Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, a regional non-profit law and justice center, has a free information session scheduled at 10:00AM December 20th at Iglesia de Dios Getsemani, 2701 Transcontinental Dr., Metairie, LA. 70006.  Space is limited and registration is required and will be granted on a first-come first serve basis. Please register by calling 504.739.9939 (se habla espanol) or e-mail info@gcclp.org

 

Alexandria area:

–         The Central Louisiana Interfaith Immigration Center (CLIIC) has scheduled free workshops on the new programs throughout December.  The workshops will be held in:

  • Alexandria on Mondays, December 8, 15, 22, and 29 at the Newman Outreach Center, 4210 South MacArthur Drive, from 2-7 PM;
  • Forest Hill on Tuesdays, December 9, 16, 23, and 30 at Our Lady of Guadelupe, 10 Butter Cemetery Road, from 2-7 PM;
  • Leesville on Wednesdays, December 10 and 17 and January 7 at St. Michael’s, 604 South 5th Street, from 2-7 PM; and
  • Natchitoches on Thursdays, December 11 and 18 and January 8 at First United Methodist Church, 220 Amulet Street, from 7 AM to Noon.

 

Lafayette area:

-            Migration/Refugee Services, Diocese of Lafayette.  Beginning December 2nd – No appointment necessary.  Walk-in consultations will be available every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 – 4:00 at the Diocese of Lafayette located at 1408 Carmel Drive in Lafayette, Louisiana in the offices of Migration & Refugee Services (excluding holidays).  Evening & Saturday appointments available upon request.  Staff is available for group discussions at other locations.  Contact:  Tina Quesada or Ana Gamboa. 

 

Baton Rouge area:

–         Catholic Charities Diocese of Baton Rouge has a free information session scheduled on December 11th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806.

 

Here are some of the basics on President Obama’s new relief from deportation policy:

  • The Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) has been to defer deportation and permit more noncitizens to temporarily remain in the U.S.:
  1. If you arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday and have been in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010, you may now be eligible to apply for DACA no matter how old you are now (i.e. even if you were over age 31 on June 15, 2012);
  2. DACA for new first-time and renewal applicants will now be granted for relief from deportation for three years, not just two.

The government will begin accepting applications for the new DACA relief on or around February 20, 2015.

  • A new program has been created called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).  Like DACA, this is a temporary protection from deportation, with a grant of employment authorization.   People who may qualify are those who:
  1. Have a son or daughter of any age who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and was born on or before November 20, 2014;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  3. Were physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of making a DAPA request;
  4. Had no lawful status on November 20, 2014;
  5. Are not an “enforcement priority.”  This is defined as people with certain criminal records and/or recent deportation orders.  It will be important for people who may be in this category to get legal counseling from a licensed immigration attorney, accredited immigration representative, or accredited social service agency to find out if your criminal or immigration record affects your eligibility before applying.
  6. DAPA applicants who are approved will be granted for relief from deportation for three years.

The government will begin accepting applications for the new DAPA relief on or around May 20, 2015.

For more information:

Central La Interfaith Immigration Center in Alexandria http://www.diocesealex.org/immigration-legal-services

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans http://www.ccano.org/programs/hacs/

Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy in Slidell http://gcclp.org/legal-services/immigration

Migration and Refugee Services, Diocese of Lafayette http://www.diolaf.org/index.cfm?load=page&page=174

Catholic Charities Diocese of Baton Rouge http://ccdiobr.org/programs/migration-and-refugee-services.html

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana in Shreveport http://ccshpt.org/immigration.html

Loyola New Orleans College of Law, Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice http://www.loyno.edu/lawclinic/

Spring 2015 ESL Classes Begin in January!

English as A Second Langauge

(504) 722-5692
English as a Second Language (ESL) classes serve hundreds of adult learners annually and operate in 6 sites throughout Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Tammany parishes. Both morning and evening classes are offered in order to accommodate all work schedules, and 100% of instructors are volunteers. Our ESL and Citizenship classes provide a key component for integrating into the American society for both immigrants who have recently arrived and those who have been in this country for several years.

Spring 2015 ESL  classes begin in January 2015! Please call 504-722-5692 or email Tessa Wheelock at TWheelock@ccano.org for registration info! You can also download a flier with registration dates and more info here:

Primavera 2015 clases de ESL comienzan en enero 2015 ! Por favor llame a 504-722-5692 o por correo electrónico Tessa Wheelock en TWheelock@ccano.org de información de registro ! También puede descargar un folleto con las fechas de inscripción y más información aquí:

Mùa xuân năm 2015 lớp học ESL bắt đầu vào tháng 1 năm 2015 ! Xin vui lòng gọi 504-722-5692 hoặc email Tessa Wheelock ở TWheelock@ccano.org cho thông tin đăng ký ! Bạn cũng có thể tải về một tờ rơi với ngày đăng ký và biết thêm ở đây:

English | En Espanol | Trong Ngôn Ngữ Tiếng Việt

Faith Leaders Unite for the Homeless

Interfaith prayer service will remember homeless who have died on the streets of New Orleans in 2014

Archbishop Gregory Aymond and leaders of many different faith communities of the Greater New Orleans area will join together in prayer to remember the homeless who have died on the streets of New Orleans in 2014. This service will also honor the ongoing collaborative efforts of the many community organizations serving the homeless including UNITY of Greater New Orleans and Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the commitment of our spiritual leaders to the continued work that must be done to ensure that no one is without shelter in our city. All are welcome to join in prayer and solidarity at this interfaith prayer service on Sunday, December 14, 4pm – 5pm at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1802 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112.

Faith leaders include:

  • Most Reverend Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans
  • Fr. Buddy Noel, Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
  • Deacon Ronald Guidry, St. Louis Cathedral
  • Rabbi Robert Loewy, Congregation Gates of Prayer, Metairie
  • Imam Refeeq Nu’man, Masjidur Rahim, New Orleans
  • Rev. Dr. Walter Baer, Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, New Orleans
  • Deacon Maggie Dawson, St. Martin Episcopal Church, Metairie
  • Rev. Jerry Bass, Parkview  Baptist Church, Metairie
  • Rev. Ronald Unger, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Kenner
  • Mr. Parviz Mojgani, Baha’i  Community of New Orleans
  • Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Community Unitarian Universalist Church

UNITY of Greater New Orleans reports that roughly, 1,981 individuals live on the streets of New Orleans on any given night. In 2014, an estimated 12 individuals died on the streets of New Orleans due to lack of shelter in 2014. In memorial for these homeless men and women who have died and for the many that still find themselves without shelter, the faith community is joining together in solidarity to pray for an end to homelessness in New Orleans.

Began as an initiative of the Ignatian Spirituality Project in New Orleans, a ministry offering retreats and support for those who have experienced homelessness and who are recovering from substance abuse issues, this event brings together leaders of many faiths as one voice for the homeless of our city.

Thanksgiving Office Hours

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday beginning at noon, Wednesday, November 26 through Friday, November 28th. We will resume normal business hours Monday, December 1st.  If you are in need of assistance or information, please leave a message on our main phone line at 1-866 -891-2210 to be returned after Monday December 1st.   Thank you!

Thankful for the work of our hands!

Dear friends of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, 

The project has become a Thanksgiving standby in the classrooms. You’ve probably done it, too, or helped your child do this. Carefully, you outline your hand on colored construction paper and with a few artistic touches, a beak, some feet… you’ve made a Thanksgiving turkey! Many of our Head Start students enjoyed this project this month. Seeing their Thanksgiving artworks – literally art-works of their hands – I was reminded of our mission at Catholic Charities.

 

Through the work of our hands and the openness of our hearts, we are truly Jesus’ masterpiece – when we feed and shelter the hungry and the homeless, when we advocate for a victim of domestic abuse, when we counsel those struggling through difficult moments in their lives – we leave handprints on the hearts of those whose lives we touch. That is something to be thankful for!

 

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for the handprints we leave on the hearts of those we serve. I am thankful for you and your support and prayers for our work. When we join hands together in service and collaboration, we are a blessing to all of those in need. We leave a lasting impression not only on the hearts of those being served, but our own hearts are forever imprinted through our actions and our witness.

 

As you gather with your family and recall your many blessings, pause and speak a word of THANKS to God, the giver of all gifts!  I pray that you may continue to be a blessing to those you daily encounter!  Happy Thanksgiving and in all things, give thanks to God!

 

-Sr. Marjorie Hebert, M.S.C., President and CEO

Catholic Charities offering guidance to those navigating new immigration measures

[November 21, 2014 – New Orleans, La.] En Espanol In light of President Obama’s executive action implementing expanded access for undocumented immigrants to legally remain and work in the U.S., Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans will continue to be a resource for the immigrant community in need of guidance through these new measures. They urge those seeking to access these new pathways to consult only licensed and accredited social service agencies and legal professionals or official channels of government in navigating these new policies. Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans Immigration Services is available as a consult for the community and will be offering information, referrals and resources for these new measures as they become available.

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans joins with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in continuing to support measures for comprehensive immigration reform that focuses on respecting the dignity of the individual and the preservation of the family.

“This Administrative Relief will assist the nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants looking for a legal path to building a life for themselves in the U.S, but much work still needs to be towards comprehensive immigration reform,” Said Martin Gutierrez, Division Director over Immigration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. “Catholic Charities will continue to advocate and be a resource for these individuals and families in receiving the support and assistance they need.”

Catholic Charities will be holding free group orientation sessions as more specific details of how these new measured will be implemented, including details on who will qualify for Administrative Relief, when the government will start accepting applications, and what the application process will require.

During periods of expected immigration reform, it is unfortunately easier to take advantage of people seeking fast low-cost legal assistance. Immigrants who may qualify for this Administrative Relief should seek legal advice and assistance only from a licensed immigration attorney, accredited immigration representative, or accredited social service agency.

For more information or for those seeking assistance, contact Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans Immigration and Refugee Services at: (504) 457-3462.

 

Contact: Anna Toujas

Archdiocese of New Orleans/Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

(504) 453-3774

atoujas@arch-no.org

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Caridades Católicas de la Arquidiócesis de Nueva Orleans ofrece orientación a quienes navegan nuevas medidas de inmigración.

[Noviembre 21, 2014 – New Orleans, La.]  En seguimiento a la acción ejecutiva presentada por el Presidente Obama que implementa la expansión de acceso para que inmigrantes indocumentados permanezcan y trabajen legalmente en los Estados Unidos, Caridades Católicas de la Archidiócesis de New Orleans continuará sirviendo como un recurso comunitario para los inmigrantes que necesitan de una guía para entender  las nuevas medidas. Caridades Católicas sujiere a las personas que buscan acceder a estas medidas, que consulten unicamente a agencias de servicios social con licencia y legalmente acreditadas, a profesionales de leyes, o a medios oficiales del gobierno para navegar estas nuevas políticas. Los Servicios de Inmigración de Caridades Católicas de la Archidiócesis de Nueva Orleans están disponibles para ofrecer consultoría a la comunidad, y estará ofreciendo información, referencias y recursos en cuanto estos estén disponibles para estas nuevas medidas. Caridades Católicas de Nueva Orleans se une a la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos para continuar apoyando medidas integrales de reforma migratoria que se enfoquen en respetar la dignidad del individuo y la preservación de la familia.

“Este auxilio administrativo asistirá a casi 5 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados que buscan un camino hacia la legalización. Aún queda mucho trabajo por hacer para obtener un reforma migratoria integral” fueron las palabras de Martin Gutierrez, Director de la División de Servicios para Refugiados e Inmigrantes de Caridades Católicas de la Archidiócesis de Nueva Orleans. “Caridades Católicas continuará siendo un recurso para estos individuos y sus familias, para que puedan recibir el apoyo y la asistencia que necesitan. Caridades Católicas estará ofreciendo sesiones gratis de orientación para dar detalles específicos de cómo estas medidas serán implementadas, incluyendo información de quienes califican al auxilio administrativo, una vez que se tengan los requisitos que incluirá este proceso.”

Desafortunadamente, durante periodos como este donde hay esperanzas de obtener la tan esperada reforma migratoria, se hace más fácil tomar ventaja de las personas que buscan ayuda legal rápida y de bajo costo. Los inmigrantes que podrían calificar para este Auxilio Administrativo deben buscar consejo legal y asistencia unicamente de abogados certificados, representantes de inmigración acreditados, o agencias de servicios sociales acreditadas. En este momento, ningún abogado, represéntate o agencia, debe estar cobrando a las personas por llenar formularios para el auxilio administrativo, ni por ser registrados en una lista de espera para obtener los servicios.

Para más información, o para quienes buscan asistencia, contactar la oficina de Servicios de Inmigración y Refugiados de Caridades Católicas de la Arquidiócesis de Nueva Orleans al 504.457.3452.

 

Catholic Charities Strives to Remove Barriers to Health Care

Health Guardians Program to Partner with 10 Community Health Clinics to Provide New Model of Full-Circle Care for uninsured and homeless

 [New Orleans, La.] Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans Health Guardians is setting a goal to remove obstacles to health care for the uninsured in the Greater New Orleans Area  – roughly 25% of the Greater New Orleans population. Through Health Guardians patient navigation program, Catholic Charities is partnering with 10 community health clinics in the Greater New Orleans area to provide individualized, targeted care plans for the uninsured and chronically ill, that will not only reduce burden on the healthcare system, but also work to reduce poverty and homelessness in our community.

“People not getting healthcare have complex problems. People with complex social problems often have barriers to effectively access and utilize health care,” said Elmore Rigamer, Health Guardians Program Director. “Couple chronic medical issues with struggling to meet basic needs and it certainly becomes a vicious cycle that results in unemployment and homelessness.  Our model of service has shown that with the proper guidance, we can help people turn their health and their lives around, while also reducing the burden on the limited resources in our healthcare system.”

Since the program launched in 2012 in partnership with University Hospital, over 72% of the clients were able to decrease their visits to emergency room and inpatient care by half. With continued cuts to inpatient health and substance abuse services in New Orleans and the recent visible homeless population, there has been a drastic need to rethink the way people are able to access care. Partnering with these 10 community clinics will allow Health Guardians to serve a broader base of the community and intercept people before they reach the emergency room. Through the network of services provided by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans and community partners, Health Guardians can efficiently and effectively coordinate care that produces lasting positive results.

“We want to remove any barrier to health care in our community, whether that be housing or employment issues, or managing physical and mental illness,” said Rigamer. “Health Guardians care model will ultimately have lasting effects on the health of the individual and the overall health of the socio-economic landscape of New Orleans.”

Recent census data ranks Louisiana as 6th in the nation for most uninsured residents, with the majority being low-income individuals or those who fall below the poverty line. Although the Affordable Care Act will increase the number of those insured in our state, coverage does not always equate to access. Lack of proper health care is an open door for other social factors to deteriorate. Health Guardians works to create pathways for the underserved in the community to access available services through intensive care management, improved communication and collaboration among providers, and also meets the basic social service needs such as housing, food and employment assistance.

 

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Sr. Marjorie Hebert named 2014 Woman of the Year

CityBusiness names Sr. Marjorie Hebert ‘2014 Woman of the Year’

By: Greg LaRose, Editor November 14, 2014

In any given fiscal year, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans has more than 500 employees and serves almost 90,000 families. In May 2013, Sister Marjorie Hebert became president and CEO of the charitable organization and now guides, directs and facilitates the more than 35 programs and services catering to the needs of the community. 6 sq

It’s the latest in a string of leadership roles Hebert has held in the archdiocese, all after a 25-year career as a school teacher and administrator.

New Orleans CityBusiness singled her out for her career accomplishments and community impact as its 2014 “Woman of the Year” in a luncheon event today at the Hyatt Regency.

Hebert, who was educated by the Marianite Sisters of Holy Cross, said she always knew she wanted to live a life of service.

“From the earliest times, I wanted to be like [the Marianites],” Hebert said. “I wanted to be engaged in the work of the church.”

She entered the Marianite order in 1960 and made it her perpetual profession in 1969.

Having spent the first 25 years of her service in the church as a teacher and administrator, Hebert was chosen to lead the development and coordination of Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center, an Algiers facility catering to the aging lay and clergy members of 18 different congregations. She served as its CEO for 13 years.

She served for three years as vice president for finances and operations and associate to the president for ministry at Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Archbishop Gregory Aymond then asked Hebert to join Catholic Charities.

She said the biggest challenge she has had to overcome in the transition is understanding and embracing the full scope of all that Catholic Charities encompasses.

To explain, she references a Bible verse, Ephesians 3:18.

“I like to use the gospel: The length, breadth and depth: the fullest measure, the depth of God’s love, you can’t fathom all of that,” she said. “That’s how deep it is, how broad it is, how all-encompassing [Catholic Charities] is. It serves people, individuals, regardless of their faith or tradition. We serve people, not because they are Catholic but because we are Catholic.” read more

 Congratulations, Sr. Marjorie! We are blessed by your ministry!

Giving Tuesday with Catholic Charities!

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help us create #GivingTuesday for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans on Tuesday, December 2, 2014!

Here’s TWO easy steps to GIVE with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans this #GivingTuesday

 

1. MAKE A GIFT! via our Givezooks page!

1 dollar… 20 dollars… any amount provides hope and help to the poor and needy in #NOLA through the programs and ministries of Catholic Charities!

2. SHARE IT!

Download our #GivingTuesday profile photo and cover photo for your Facebook page and Twitter accounts. Show you care and SHARE that you are giving on #GivingTuesday. Be sure to Tweet or tag us in your post! We’d love to share how awesome you are! @CathCharitiesNO on Twitter & Instagram!

Download Profile Pic!

Download Facebook Cover Photo!

 

Say Cheese! Take an #unselfie and say why you’re giving to Catholic Charities today! If you want to show some real giving swagger, you can even download our #Unselfie sign for your photo!

WHY IT MATTERS…

  • Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans annually serves 80,000+ men, women, children and families throughout 8 parishes and across the state of Louisiana each year. From housing to nutrition, to healthcare to education, your support makes this assistance possible for so many!
  • When you share that you care, your gift goes farther! Helping us spread the word about our programs and services helps us rally even more support in the community for the poor and needy!

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