Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business

Fight Poverty With Faith @FPWF starts in Youngstown

Today I joined Congressman Tim Ryan, Bonnie Burdman (Jewish Relations Center), State Representative Sean O’Brien, Rev Lewis Macklin (ACTION president), George Garchar (Social Action/Catholic Charities) and others to purchase food for the week based on the average Food Stamp allocation: $31.50.  Come visit our webpage at Catholic Charities on how you can become involved in this process

We all ventured to Save A Lot stores located at the corner of Gypsy and Belmont Avenue Youngstown.  Co-owners John Kawecki and Henry Nemenz, Jr, greeted us, along with local TV cameras/reporters.  Congressman Ryan and Bonnie Burdman served as our local spokespersons discussing the National Week and the FPWF.  The Save-A-Lot co-owners helped us locate foodstuffs, especially sale items that proved cost effective and beneficial.

Here is my purchase:

4 cans of tuna in water:  $2.52

Canned salmon: $2.49

Peanuts: @2.99

1 lb bag of dry black eye peas: $1.79

Tea bags (50): $1.59

Black pepper for seasoning: $1.99

Bread, lite wheat: $1.89

1.5 lbs of bartlett pears: $1.56

1 lb of tomatoes: $1.28

.72 lb of onions: $0.71

2.22 lbs of mustard greens: @2.20

2.71 ibs of turnip greens: $2.68

TOTAL:  $23.69

My plan is to make from the onions, pepper, black eye peas and greens into a recipe called: “sleek”.  I will need 2 tbs of oil ($1.00) and some nutmeg ($1.00).  This will make 9 -11 servings of sleek.  A good source of protein and vegetables.

I will use the tuna and the salmon as the full protein for lunch and dinner meals this week.  I do have some eggs in the house already, so will plan to eat 2 eggs each morning with a side of sleek for breakfast.

I also have to confess:  I have a board meeting on Tuesday evening, so dinner will be free. I have a community event on Thursday evening at a college so dinner will be free; I also have a lunch event that same day and someone paid for lunch already.   I have a private meeting on Friday, so lunch will be free.  I am able to cover 4 meals this week through the generosity of 4 organizations.  THANKS  to St. Elizabeth, First Friday Club of Youngstown, Malone University, and Barb Z.

For a week, 7 days, three meals: 21 meals.

4 are free.

Need to eat on this budget for 17 meals

Hope I am doing the math right.

Any suggestions?

Filed under: Catholic Charities USA, Economic Policy, morals, Personal Reflections, Poverty, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Caritas: Funding Gap Sets AIDS Fight 20 Years Back
Calls on Catholic Conscience in Pandemic Battle

VIENNA, Austria, JULY 20, 2010 ( ).- As experts from around the world gather in Vienna to discuss the fight against AIDS, Caritas is warning that a lack of funding could put the campaign 20 years back.

The International AIDS Conference began Sunday and will run through Friday. A Catholic pre-conference networking event brought people from 23 countries together for two days previous to the AIDS conference currently underway.

At the Catholic event, Monsignor Robert Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis special representative on HIV and AIDS, spoke about the need for more funding to provide universal access to care.

It is estimated that $27 million is needed this year alone to fight the pandemic, and that a third of these costs will not be met, the agency noted.

Monsignor Vitillo reported that people are already being turned away from treatment facilities in countries such as Uganda, due to the lack of funds.

He warned that “neglecting HIV and AIDS will put millions of human lives at risk in poor countries.”

“If people don’t have access to treatment,” the priest continued, “we will return to the 1980s where there weren’t enough hospital beds and people were dying without receiving any care.”

Caritas expressed concern that children in particular will be affected by the cutbacks.

The Caritas “HAART [Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy] for Children” campaign is calling for better testing and treatment for children with HIV and TB in poor countries. The agency noted that without this medication for children with HIV, one half of that population will die before their second birthday.

The campaign workers gathered 20,000 signatures on a petition that will be given to an Austrian government representative. Monsignor Vitillo explained that these signatures demonstrate the concern of the Austrian people for those living with AIDS in developing countries.

Catholic approach

Caritas Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight also addressed the participants of the pre-conference Catholic networking event.

She said that “the three Cs — compassion, communion, and conscience — should underline a Catholic approach that fosters dialogue, cooperation, and an openness on how best to respond to the AIDS pandemic.”

Knight affirmed, “Our compassion needs to extend to people who are marginalized by society: to groups such as injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, and prison populations.”

“This presents us with the challenge of coming to terms with the realities of life for people within these groups,” she continued. “We need to be able to feel their suffering too and develop realistic solutions that will be effective in these diverse, difficult and complex contexts.”

“As Catholics we have much to share, but we also have an opportunity to listen and to learn,” Knight stated.

She added, “If we are to end the stigma of HIV infection and promote effective prevention strategies, we need to be able to enter into frank and honest dialogue about what are sometimes difficult issues for us to talk about.””As faith-based organizations,” Knight said, “we can appeal to the global conscience. We can promote the concept of one humanity and the idea that it is clearly wrong to do nothing while others suffer.”

She observed that “the development of a ‘global conscience’ is an important factor in putting pressure on our international institutions and governments to honor their commitments in tackling the HIV pandemic.”

Knight added, “It can also influence pharmaceutical companies to play their part in providing accessible affordable treatments.”

Filed under: AIDS, Caritas

Pontiff Marks World Refugee Day

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2010 ( ).- On today’s celebration of World Refugee Day, Benedict XVI is calling attention to the needs of those who have been forced to move away from their homeland.The Pope stated this today after praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today the United Nations celebrates World Refugee Day,” he said, “to recall attention to the problems of those who have been forced out of their own land and familiar customs, traveling to environments that, often, are profoundly different.”

“Refugees desire to find welcome and to be recognized in their dignity and their fundamental rights,” the Holy Father affirmed.

“At the same time,” he continued, “they intend to offer their contribution to the society that welcomes them.”

Benedict XVI concluded: “Let us pray that, in a just reciprocity, there be a response adequate to such expectations and they show the respect that they have for the identity of the community that receives them.”

Visit Caritas Internationalis for more information on how the Church responds to refugees throughout the world.

Filed under: Caritas, Migration, Official Statements, Papal Teachings

Catholic health/Charities position on health care debate

Recently, there has been an attempt by some bloggers and others to distort the position of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Health Association and the St. Vincent de Paul Society on their and the Church’s position on the current health care debate.

The Catholic Bishops have been calling for reform in health care since they published a Pastoral Letter on health care.

For a clarification and articulation of the Church’s position see comments by Sr. Carol, the President of Catholic Health Association of the US in a CNS article.

Filed under: Catholic Charities USA, Church-State, Economic Policy, healthcare, Medical Ethics, morals, Social Doctrine

The Catholic Church serving people with HIV and AIDS

Please go to the following website reference to download a You-Tube video produced by Catholic Relief Services (USA) on the Catholic Church’s response to AIDS – this is the first of a series of such videos:

The Church is one of the biggest care providers for those who have HIV and AIDS around the world.

As AIDS affects every aspect of a person’s life, the Church takes a holistic approach to the disease, focusing on the physical, intellectual and spiritual needs of the person.

Up to 33 million people were living with HIV in 2007. It is a disease which is particularly prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, where countries are often poor and services are not always available.

The Church has unprecedented access to people with HIV and AIDS across the world and on a grassroots level. It has a global network of schools, churches, orphanages, hospices, organisations such as Caritas plus an army of faithful who offer their services.

Besides healthcare, it gives counseling to people who have been affected by the illness and offers spiritual guidance to help them face what is possibly one of the toughest challenges of their lives. It also provides the nutritious food which is vital in ensuring antiretroviral treatment is successful.

Other areas the Church works in include educating and informing people about the risk of AIDS and how to prevent it. The Church also focuses its efforts on reducing the stigma and discrimination which often accompanies HIV and AIDS.

Advocacy is a big part of its work. For example, Caritas Internationalis is currently urging governments and pharmaceutical firms to produce child-friendly HIV and AIDS medicines and to improve testing, as many children currently die due to lack of medicines.

All in all, the Church works hard to help people with HIV and AIDS live in hope and, when the time comes, die with dignity.

Filed under: AIDS, Caritas, Catholic Relief Services