Monthly Archives: September 2011

How to explain: $15 million grant to Catholic Charities for BP oil spill relief but the phasing out of Operation Helping Hands

Archbishop Gregory Aymond thanks John Davies, president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, for a $15 million grant to Catholic Charities to provide counseling, education, job training and direct assistance to needy families affected by the BP oil spill.

By Peter Finney Jr.

Admittedly, it’s a difficult situation to explain.

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans received the largest single grant in its history last week – $15 million from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation – to help lead a consortium of area nonprofits that will aid South Louisiana families impacted by the 2010 BP oil spill.

Almost concurrently, Catholic Charities announced it would wind down Operation Helping Hands, the incredibly successful house-rebuilding ministry it established after Hurricane Katrina, by June 2012.

Some logically might ask: How can the “church” receive all that money and yet still close a home-rebuilding program that in the six years since Katrina has attracted 29,076 volunteers from around the country who have rebuilt 195 homes and gutted 1,983 others?

A look beyond the headlines is instructive. Continue reading

Stitching hearts together

By Beth Donze

Sometimes the most gratifying stories encountered by Catholic newspaper journalists are the stories that happen “after the stories.”

I learned of one of those today. Continue reading