Two Catholic Dioceses After Hurricane Ian

During hurricane Ian, Florida Bishop Frank Dewane of the Catholic Diocese of Venice was in his  home when two huge branches crashed through his roof and into the ceiling of his living room. According to the National Catholic Register who interviewed the Bishop after the storm passed, he feels lucky to be alive and notes that many others fared much worse.

He’s correct. Much worse. Two Catholic churches, St. Isabel on Sanibel Island, and the Church of the Ascension in Fort Myers Beach were completely destroyed while many area parishes suffered extensive roofing and water damage.

Church of the Ascension in Fort Myers Beach after devastation of hurricane Ian
Church of the Ascension in Fort Myers Beach. Photo credit: Edmond Ciancone.

Bishop Dewane related to the NCR reporters about a time shortly after Ian blew through at which he went to make the rounds of all the area parishes. Suddenly, the police asked him to move away from the area because bodies were beginning to float ashore from Sanibel Island. The Bishop commended local Floridians who, as soon as the storm subsided, took their own boats, canoes, and anything else that could float, into the murky waters to look for stranded neighbors. Surely, more were saved than lost.

He spoke about how aid began to flow into Florida from other states almost immediately, and how volunteers streamed into SW Florida from the upper States with water, supplies, and a helping hand. No doubt Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg (Tampa), along with Bishop Dewane of Venice need your prayers.

The Florida experience after Ian has been comparable to the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 that took over 1,800 lives and caused $125 billion in damage. Ian took fewer lives (110 to date) and caused damages estimated from to be as much as $258 billion — surely the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

If you want to learn how we can help direct your support of financial donations to help the Dioceses in SW Florida in the wake of hurricane Ian, please contact us today.

To read the entire article on Bishop Dewane, see The National Catholic Register.

A Giving Heart in Ukraine’s Time of Need

As our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine, people are asking how they can help the millions of people who have fled to neighboring countries. The European Union officials predict that as many as 7 million could eventually be displaced. Several international humanitarian groups are providing goods, services, food and water, even cash assistance to help families resettle. 

“The Virgin of Pochaiv,” Ivan Honchar Museum, 1840/1860 (photo: Public Domain)

Following is a list of donation sites actively helping the people of Ukraine. Most do far more than our brief description, so please visit their websites to learn more and to make your monetary donation. 

  • CARE: Emergency aid for food, water, and hygiene kits. See more »
  • Convoy of Hope: meals, food delivery, water. See more »
  • CORE: Cash, food, water, hygiene kits, thermal blankets. See more »
  • Doctors Without Borders: Medical and humanitarian support. See more »
  • International Committee of the Red Cross: essential human services, reuniting separated families. See more »
  • International Medical Corps: medical, mental health, protection services for refugees. See more »
  • The 762 Project: Volunteers tracking Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. See more »

Various Catholic agencies are collecting donations. Among the many, please consider Caritas. They provide shelter, water, safe transport for women and children, and build child-friendly play spaces for youngsters who are otherwise bored and scared. See more »

The Knights of Columbus’ Ukraine Solidarity Fund has committed $1 million for immediate distribution to support Ukrainian refugees and will match all funds raised up to an additional $500,000. Donations provide shelter, food, medical supplies, clothing and religious goods for the men still in Ukraine and and the families in Poland’s refugee sites. See more »

The Catholic Review can provide links to additional Catholic agencies. 

To find a cause that closely fits your heart for giving, search online “help Ukraine” followed by the keyword(s) of your choice. And from NCR, this prayer:

O Lord God of powers, and God of our salvation, O God, who alone work wonders:
look down with mercy and compassion on Your humble servants,
and out of love for mankind hearken and have mercy on us
and on the land of Ukraine. Continue entire prayer »

The Power and Impact of Giving

Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others. It is expressed by the generosity of monetary giving to people or causes that focus on helping others solve problems over the long term. While philanthropy may seem new, its roots lie in the ancient world, in all belief systems, and has endured for centuries. It is part of the fabric of our modern world.

What is the difference between philanthropy and charity? When we drop a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas-time, that is charity — a way to provide immediate relief to the people whom the Salvation Army help. Our response is usually driven by emotions.

Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego/USAID Kenya

When we give a monetary gift to bring about positive change in the world and in people’s lives over the long term, it is philanthropy. Philanthropists give of their money or their time, and often both. Our response is usually driven by the desire to make a difference, and often, as an opportunity to “give back” for having good fortune in our life.

Delivering bottled water to a drought-stricken area in East Africa is charity, but building wells for poor East African villages is philanthropy. 

Charity is giving to relieve an immediate problem. Philanthropy can be defined by the love of mankind. It is planned giving designed to address the root cause of a problem that can be solved over a period of time.

“Wealth is not new. Neither is charity. But the idea of using private wealth imaginatively, constructively, and systematically to attack the fundamental problems of mankind is new.”

John Gardner (1912 – 2002), founder of Common Cause

As we move headlong into a new year, let 2022 be our year of selfless charitable giving, meaningful philanthropic giving, and above all things, a year of “love of mankind.” 

Time, Talent, and Treasure: making life better for other people.

As always, we invite readers of our newsletter to allow the Stewardship Foundation to be good stewards of God’s abundance and your partner in life-affirming change in our communities.