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Lenten Almsgiving for Asylum Seekers

St. Josaphat Parish has a tradition of collecting alms (money) throughout the season of Lent to support worthwhile causes. This year, our Lenten Almsgiving will be going to support Asylum Seekers who have been arriving in Chicago this past year.  
Cardinal Cupich has asked Catholic Charities to work with local government agencies to provide asylum-seeking families a place to stay for at least six months. Catholic Charities is partnering with parishes to raise the necessary funds to provide housing and basic needs to support these families in need. Catholic Charities estimates that it will cost approximately $10,000 to house and provide for a family for 6 months.
After consulting with our Hands of Mercy leadership and my staff, we have decided to set a goal of raising $20,000 this Lent to provide for Asylum Seeking Families. You can make donations to support our Lenten Almsgiving for Asylum Seekers through a number of ways: you can donate online via our parish website; through the second collection each week in church; or you can mail or drop off checks at the parish office. Please make checks out to St. Josaphat Parish and put Asylum Seekers on the notation line.  
The Asylum Seekers that Catholic Charities is working with are families who are fleeing persecution, war and other horrible circumstances that have necessitated leaving their homes in order to seek refuge here in the United States. We are told that many of these families are fleeing places like Venezuela.  
It is important to note that these are families who are legally seeking asylum in the United States based upon the circumstances in their home country. Catholic Charities will be working with these families as they continue the legal process through our immigration system. And each family will be assigned a case manager through Catholic Charities, who will also serve as a liaison with the sponsoring parish to identify the family’s needs.
We are still working with Catholic Charities to identify a specific family that we will be supporting. It is my hope that we will be able to provide you with additional information about our family in the coming weeks, as we continue to raise funds and awareness for our Asylum Seekers.
If there are any Spanish speakers in our parish who would like to meet the family we are supporting and be of assistance to them as they get settled, please let me know. Catholic Charities would love for parishes to provide friendship and accompaniment to these families and not just financial assistance.  
I hope you will consider donating to our Lenten Almsgiving to support Asylum Seekers. I think our almsgiving this Lent speaks beautifully to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35 - “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” May we work together this Lent to do our part to serve Jesus Christ in our brothers and sisters in need, who have come to our city seeking a better life for their family.
God Bless,
Fr. Francis