New Haven parish hosts collection to aid refugees

Marc Bouchard of Catholic Charities spoke to St. Catherine Academy students about the work of the Migration and Refugee Services.

Mark Bouchard of Catholic Charities spoke to St. Catherine Academy students about the work of the Migration and Refugee Services.

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN, Ky. — Parishioners of St. Catherine Church and members of the surrounding community, have provided more than 8,500 pounds of items to help new refugees being resettled in the Louisville area by Catholic Charities’ Migration and Refugee Services (MRS).

People showed up in droves with truckloads full of household goods, said Father Christopher Lubecke, administrator of St. Catherine and Immaculate Conception Church in Culvertown, Ky.

“I spent two hours unloading things from a line of trucks with trailers,” he said in an interview last week.  Donations included beds, kitchen tables, couches and other household items

Father Lubecke said he was astonished by the outpouring of support. This was the first time in recent memory that the parish held a collection for refugees.

The parish collected so many items that Catholic Charities had to rent a larger truck to transport the items back to Louisville, where they will be stored until an apartment needs to be furnished.

Donated items are used by MRS staff to furnish apartments for newly arriving refugees, said Deacon Lucio Caruso, director of mission integration and mission identity for Catholic Charities of Louisville.

Deacon Lucio Caruso of Catholic Charities and Father Chris Lubecke stand in front of the moving truck that picked up the donated household goods collected by parishioners of St. Catherine Church in New Haven, Ky.

Deacon Lucio Caruso of Catholic Charities and Father Chris Lubecke stand in front of the moving truck that picked up the donated household goods collected by parishioners of St. Catherine Church in New Haven, Ky.

Deacon Caruso said MRS expects to resettle approximately 800 refugees next year, 25 percent of whom will be from Syria.

Father Lubecke said he initiated the drive when he noticed an excess of unused furniture items at the parish and adjacent St. Catherine Academy.

He said he was moved by a story he read detailing Pope Francis’ plea to parishes around the world to welcome refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East.

“In the face of the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees, who are fleeing death because of war and hunger” and are seeking a new life, the pope called on “parishes, religious communities, monasteries and sanctuaries all across Europe to give concrete expression of the Gospel and receive a
family of refugees,” according to a Sept. 8 story by Catholic News Service.

To set up a collection drive for MRS or for more information, contact Chris Martini by email at cmartini@archlou.org.

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