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EPISODE#33
CATHEDRAL SQUARE: THE CHRIST CATHEDRAL COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Welcome to another episode of Cathedral Square featuring our host, Fr. Christopher Smith.

We welcome two very important guests to the studio today; and, each of them offers a tremendous contribution to the materially poor and marginalized of our community.

Mary Lou Walters is the Director of the Christ Cathedral Community Outreach on the Christ Cathedral campus. Our other guest, Nancy Savage, labors right alongside in assisting with financial matters and many other details (too numerous to count).

You will be inspired by their shining example.

Be sure to listen and share this podcast!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 5/30/20

EPISODE #236
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: TRANSFORMING A LIFE

Every now and then, we come across people who just blow us away with their hearts for ministry. Deacon Steve Greco’s guest today surely fits in that category.

Not long ago, Zaki Mustafa and his wife Loretta formed a ministry called Transforming a Life. And what is their focus? They supply jackets for the homeless and for those in dire need.

To date, they have supplied literally thousands of jackets and other vital items.

Tune in and be inspired!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 3/22/2020

EPISODE#26
CATHEDRAL SQUARE: GUEST IS GREG WALGENBACH, DIRECTOR OF LIFE JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR THE DIOCESE OF ORANGE

On today’s program, Fr. Christopher welcomes Greg Walgenbach to our studios on the campus of Christ Cathedral. Greg is the Director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Orange.

We’re going to talk about many of the unique ministries that Greg is involved in; and, how we as Catholics can be more active in providing a ‘voice for the voiceless’ in our communities.

Some important topics of discussion here, so be sure to tune in!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 3/7/20

HOMELESS PERSONS INTERFAITH MEMORIAL SERVICE

December 21 – the first day of winter and the longest night of the year – marks National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.  

 During an interfaith service that Saturday at Christ Cathedral, spiritual leaders from across Los Angeles and Orange County joined Bishop Vann and Fr. Christopher Smith to offer words of reflection.  

 Attendees carried candles in a procession and placed them on a table as each of the 207 names of those without a home who in 2019 lost their lives on the streets of Orange County.  

 Among the attendees was Brian Brackney, a homeless man who attends the service each year to listen as the names are read aloud.  

 The annual event is organized by the Diocese of Orange’s Office of Life, Justice, and Peace; the Sisters of St. Joseph and several advocacy organizations. 

To the right are the names of the individuals remembered at the service.  

 

Cheryl ADAMS • Rodolfo AGREDANO • Carlos AGUILAR • Jose AGUIRRE • Randolph AGUIRRE • Robert AIELLO • Marcos ALARCON • Michael ALMASY • Lucas ALPIZAR • Donald AMES II • Infant Female ANDERSON • Neparteria BAILEY • Allyson BARBER • Jose BARRIENTOS • Josephine BECERRA • Hamid BEHRAZFAR • Pilar BELTRAN-KNIGHTS • Susan BERGER • Michael BERGLER • Julian BERNAL • Joseph BERON • Leon BICKETT • Philip BLUM • Darryl BOSSIER • Jason BOWEN • Andrew BRAFF • Paul BRAZER • Thomas BRYANT • Landon BUCHANAN • Cho BUI • Liberato CABALLERO • Michelle CAMARILLO • Mark CAMPETT • Jose CARRERA BARBOSA • Walter CARTER • Fernando CERVANTES • Andres CHAN • Theresa CHERRY • Kosol CHIM • Laura CITORES • Tyron COETZEE • Todd COLEMAN • Mitchell COPELAND • John CRASS • Leonardo CUELLAR • Infant female CUEVAS • Michael CZAPLINSKI • Vicente DE LEON • Terri DELAO • Mayra DELFIN CARRETO • Robert DEYA • Sherry DIMICHELE • Randall DODD • Catherine DODSON • Jose DOMINGUEZ MARTINEZ • Shelley DUPRAY • Virgil DWYER • Nichole EASTIN • Reanna EBANY • Victor ESTRADA • Ricardo EUGENIO • Gonzalo EVARISTO TOMAS • David FERRY • Elliot FISHMAN • Jessica FLEMING • Carlos FLORES • Kevin FOOKES • Jay FOUTS • Angel GALINDO • James GALLIAN • Garrett GALLOWAY • Michael GARCIA • Pamela GARCIA • Leonel GARCIA DIAZ • Linda GARNER • David GIBSON • William GLOVER • Fernando GONZALES • Jade GREBE • Jose GUERRERO • Abel GUEVARA • Mary HARDY • David HARRIS • Benjamin HEIN • Andrew HENDERSON • Patrick HILL • Todd HODGES • Brad INFANGER • Ayrton JASSO PERES • Katlyn JENICAN • Denise JENSVOLD • Kimberly JOHNSON • Martin KATZMANN • Sailor KELLY • Elden KIRIFI • Kraig KISSINGER • Steven KNEISLEY • David KRAUSZ • Jennifer KUHNS • Leonard LAUVAO • Larry LEWIS • Donald LOFTON • David LONGO • Duane LOPEZ • Joel LOPEZ • Jay LUCAS • Frederick LUCERO • Raymond MACDONALD • Timothy MANNING • Johnny MARION • Leticia MARQUEZ • Richard MARRONE • Alonso MARROQUIN • Steven MARTIN • Ronald MARTIN • Alejandro MARTINEZ • Francisco MARTINEZ AGUILAR • Armando MARTINEZ, II • Israel MATADAMAS VASQUEZ • George MAXWELL • Pedro MEDERO • German MENDEZGARCIA • Ernest MEZA, JR • Glenn MOBERLY • Mark MOEN • William MONTAGUE • Rafael MORALES • Julio MORALES • Vicki MORRISON • Kristin MOSHER • Jason MUDRINICH • Petru MUNTEAN • Carolyn MUSTAIN • David NELSON • Dustin NORDVALL • James OKEEFE • Edward OLAGUE III • Raymond OLIVER • Roberto OMANA • Catrina PADILLA • Oscar PARRA • Ernest PARRA JR. • Kyle PARRISH • Lisa PECK • Raymond PENDERGAST • Anthony PHILLIPS • Peggy PRESTON • Stacey RAAB • Jesse RAMIREZ • Jose RANGEL • Mary RELIGA • Steven RENOIR • Anita RHOADES • Michael RIGGS • Douglas ROBBIO • Dorothy ROGERS • Isidro ROJAS JR • Dimas ROMERO • Tommy SALAZAR • Kortney SANDERSON • Mario SANTIVANEZ • Christine SAVAGE • Brent SCHNEIDER • Steven SCHOFER • Vanessa SEAGRAVES • Michael SEBREROS SANCHEZ • Gary SEEDS • Joseph SHERWIN • Edward SLANK III • David SORENSON • Michael SPEAK • Scott SPENCER • David STACK • Leslie STUART • Brian SWAN • Julian TAFOLLA • James TALBOT • Nicholas TAMULINAS • Frankie TELLEZ • Octavio TEOSILO • Scott TERNER • John THIBEAULT • Richard THOMPSON • Taylor THOMPSON • Josephine TORRES • Pascual TORRES • Kevin TRAN • Hoang TRAN • Michael TURNER • David TUY • Sean VALADEZ • Sandra VANZANT • Leonardo VEGA • Izabel VELASQUEZ • Jose VELAZQUEZ • Felipe VERDUGO • Loren VINCENT • Sean VITTORIO • William WALLS • William WELLS • David WHELPLEY • Gregory WHITTINGHAM • Christopher WILD • Derek WILSON • Jeffrey WYNGAARD • Michael YARBROUGH

EPISODE #222
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: PHILIPPINES – ON FIRE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

On this podcast, Deacon Steve Greco welcomes some folks who have traveled a great distance to reach our studio today. How does 7000 miles sound to you?

Sr. Neseta Vargas is the Mother General of the Augustinian Order.  She works tirelessly in the area of education in her native country of the Philippines. Our other guest is Fr. JP Alvarado from the Ministers of the Infirm.

Our discussion centers around the street kids they minister to each day; and, how you and I can lend a helping hand from where we are.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 12/8/19

GIVE THEM SHELTER

Three Catholic churches in Fullerton are being credited with being among the driving forces behind recent actions taken by the city to address the homeless crisis, which continues to grip communities throughout Orange County.

Fullerton is estimated to have a homeless population of between 370 and 400, while countywide, the number is believed to be between 7,000 and 10,000.

On Nov. 5, the Fullerton City Council gave the green light for construction of a new 150-bed shelter in the city to be run by the Illumination Foundation, the Orange-based nonprofit that provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable of Orange County’s homeless adults and children.

The shelter, dubbed the Navigation Center, which will have 60 beds reserved for recuperative care, could open as early as January 2020, says Greg Walgenbach, director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace at the Diocese of Orange.

Walgenbach has been involved in supporting the Fullerton Tri-Parish Homelessness Collaborative, which includes St. Philip Benizi, St. Mary’s, and St. Juliana Falconieri Catholic churches. Those parishes are run, respectively, by pastors the Rev. Dennis Kriz, the Rev. Enrique Sera, and the Rev. Michael Pontarelli.

It was really the leaders of these three Catholic parishes that worked with the city to advance this movement, according to Walgenbach.

Working with representatives of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which has “conferences” that are active at each of the three churches, fathers Kriz, Sera, and Pontarelli also were instrumental in assisting the city of Fullerton in taking two other concrete actions to address homelessness.

In July, the city declared homelessness an emergency. And the city of Fullerton also recently gave the green light for a Safe Parking Program. In this six-month pilot program, which began in November, a city lot will be reserved for people and families living out of cars. The Illumination Foundation also will manage Fullerton’s Safe Parking Program, which will have room for 30 vehicles that will be allowed to remain in the safe, well-vetted and well-regulated area from sundown to sunrise.

The Safe Parking Program not only will allow people to have a safe place to park overnight, but also will offer such services as connecting the homeless to rapid rehousing or transitional housing to help get them off the street.

St. Vincent DePaul conferences work with people who are struggling on the streets on a regular basis, as well as people who are on the verge of homelessness. They provide such services as rental assistance and operate food pantries at churches.

“They are the weakest among us,” Father Kriz says of the homeless.

For the past two-plus years up until early this July, Fr. Kriz had been allowing some 30 homeless people to spend the night in the church parking lot, which has caused some friction in some quarters, including members of his parish (Fr. Kriz says, however, that over the last two years, his parish count has been stable and has actually gone up, and that collections only are slightly lower.). The homeless people who had been living in the church parking lot now total between 12 and 15 and live on a sidewalk adjacent to the church.

Help from others

Walgenbach and Fr. Kriz were quick to point out that other agencies and people have worked hard with the Fullerton Tri-Parish Homelessness Collaborative to get things done to tackle the homeless crisis. They credit representatives of FIMA, the Fullerton Interfaith Ministerial Association, as well as Fullerton ACT, a collaborative of churches that supports pastors, faith leaders, and nonprofit organizations by serving as an entry-point to community engagement in Fullerton, with providing invaluable assistance.

St. Juliana parishioners Mike Clements and his wife, Enedina, who run the St. Vincent de Paul conference there, also have been key players in efforts to find concrete solutions for the homeless, Fr. Kriz and Walgenbach say.

Some of the positive moves the city has made have been strongly supported by this broader collaborative, Walgenbach says.

The new 150-bed Navigation Center recently approved by the Fullerton City Council is critical to meet the needs of the city’s homeless population, Fr. Kriz said.

Fullerton is part of the north county SPA (Service Planning Area) that includes many cities addressing homelessness. New shelters are on tap for Buena Park and Placentia, but with a total of 70 beds combined, those shelters will not be enough to accommodate Fullerton’s homeless, let alone those in other north county cities, Fr. Kriz says. What’s more, he adds, those two shelters aren’t expected to open until June 2020.

That’s why the city council’s approval Nov. 5 for the 150-bed Navigation Center was a big step forward, he says.

He notes that in the Bible, James 2:14-17 encapsulates why he and others are working so hard to help the homeless in Fullerton:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES PROGRAM STRIVES TO EASE CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS

BALTIMORE (CNS) — An experimental program to address chronic homelessness is guiding people into permanent housing while saving millions of dollars in health care costs, the president of Catholic Charities USA told the U.S. bishops.

Dominican Sister Donna Markham said Nov. 13, the third day of the bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore, the agency’s healthy housing initiative is collaborating with diocesan Catholic Charities programs, parishes, local funders, and Catholic health care systems to deliver comprehensive services for homeless people.

The program involves placing homeless people into stable housing and providing essential supportive services to reduce hospital readmissions while ensuring that basic needs are met.

Chronically homeless people are among the primary users of hospital emergency room care across the country because they do not have ready access to a physician or a medical clinic when they become ill or injured, Sister Markham explained. After they are discharged, homeless people often return repeatedly for care because of their lack of access to routine services on the street or a resurgence in illness or injury that caused them to seek help in the first place.

The program is underway in collaboration with diocesan Catholic Charities operations in Detroit; St. Louis; Las Vegas; Portland, Oregon; and Spokane, Washington. The goal is to reduce chronic homelessness in the communities 20% by 2024, Sister Markham said.

“Everyone needs a safe place to sleep, they need to have their food inside. They need to use the restroom inside, not on the street,” she said.

In cases where homeless people are in stable settings, costs of care and support total about $8,000 annually as compared with $250,000 per year for people who regularly turn to hospitals for assistance, she said.

“We’ve made this a very strong and strategic priority right now,” Sister Markham told the bishops.

The program was developed as part of Catholic Charities USA’s goal to address the shortage of affordable housing nationwide.

In a separate report on the final day of the assembly, the chairman of Catholic Relief Services’ board of directors said the agency works around the world to ensure that Catholic values underlie its relief and development work.

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, who heads the Eparchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn, New York, said any funding the agency receives is vetted to ensure that Catholic teaching is not violated by requirements put in place to receive the funds.

Other agencies CRS partners with may see such actions as “strange,” because we act by “truly serving people in all their human dignity,” he said.

“We’re Catholic to the core, training our 6,700 employees around the world whether they’re Catholic or not all the tenets of Catholic social teaching,” he told his fellow bishops during a presentation that highlighted the organization’s work around the world.

SHARING SKILLS

Two young women, both parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Irvine, are setting an example for us all. They are teaching young children who are living in domestic violence shelters how to code. 

Milan Narula and Katherine McPhie founded Open Sesame Coding for Kids in July of last year. Since then they have been featured in local media and have been honored with numerous awards for their efforts, including being named among OC’s Top 100 Influencers for 2018. 

More importantly, they are inspiring children whose lives have been negatively impacted by domestic violence by offering them not only a respite from their struggles, but a fun activity that could blossom into a career for some. 

“We go to three shelters on a regular basis,” said Narula, “and we go to other shelters intermittently. We’ve only been doing this for 6 months and yet we’ve recruited over 85 volunteers, taught over 130 students and provided almost 800 instructional hours.” 

Narula says she wishes more Catholic students knew about their work. “The children are great, and the work is rewarding,” she said. 

For information: codeopensesame.com

EPISODE#158
OC CATHOLIC RADIO: A DISCUSSION ON THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE HOMELESS WITH GUEST GREG WALGENBACH

On this week’s edition of the program, Rick welcomes Greg Walgenbach back to the studio. Greg is the director of the office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Orange.

We’re going to talk about a very unique memorial service that’s going to take place on the Christ Cathedral campus on Friday, December 21st. The event is called the Homeless Person’s Inter-Religious Memorial Service – honoring the homeless who have passed away over the past year with dignity and respect.

Some important topics of discussion here, so be sure to tune in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 12/15/18

EIGHTH GRADERS PRESENT FINDINGS ON HOMELESSNESS TO CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES

Leading up to midterm elections, eighth-grade students at School of Our Lady completed a Social Studies assignment and shared their findings about homelessness in Santa Ana with two city council candidates. 

“I was raised in Santa Ana and this is our city,” said Jennifer Avila, social studies and junior high English teacher. She explained the project in more detail. 

Students covered the civic standards within social studies and English standards through this assignment. They learned about and distinguished between the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media. By studying the case of homelessness in their community, students drew on multiple disciplinary lenses to analyze homelessness, its causes, challenges, and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem. 

Students worked in teams, researched statistics, city plans, budgets, and what individuals can do to help the homeless in Santa Ana. They wrote business letters to individuals and corporations about the issue. 

Avila invited city council candidates to speak with students on how they will address homelessness, should they be elected. Roman Reyna and David Peñaloza, city council candidates for Wards Four and Two respectively, came to the school. City council candidates listened to the students’ findings and suggestions – from creating a ballot measure to creating a dome for the homeless made out of recyclable materials. 

School of Our Lady serves families in Santa Ana and other nearby communities. The community creates a safe, faith-filled, Catholic environment in which students are able to hear and live the Gospel message. One of the Student Learning Expectations at School of Our Lady is that students are “responsible citizens of the local and world communities.” Students acknowledge that they can make a difference, support and participate in local and national affairs, develop understanding, compassion, and respect for all people and their individual differences, recognize dangers and opportunities in the modern world, and appreciate the struggles and sacrifices parents make for their children.