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Local Churches Help Neighbors In Need

Catholic churches across the region raised tens of thousands of dollars Sunday to help their neighbors pay their heating bills.
Catholic churches across the region raised tens of thousands of dollars Sunday to help their neighbors pay their heating bills.

It has been a long, cold winter and the need for heating assistance is more crucial than ever. Catholic Charities has helped as many families as it can, but now it needs help and parishioners dug deep.

"I think this is a beautiful way for Bishop Matano to give an early initiative in his days as Chief Sheppard," Father Jim Schwartz of St. Joseph's Church in Penfield said.

Bishop Salvatore Matano asked parishes in the Rochester Diocese to have voluntary second collections. The money will benefit those struggling to pay their bills.

"A lot of people are suffering right now," St. Joseph's parishioner Peter MacCracken said. "It's good to help them out, for those of us who can."

The Catholic Family Center says the second collection is especially important for families not eligible for emergency assistance.

"Many of our families with enormous heating bills often can't afford to pay them," Lisa Lewis said. "It's a continual cycle where people are receiving shut off notices."

Parishioner Mark Denicke doesn't mind sharing what he has.

"Every little bit counts," Denicke said. "We have had a record breaking winter and everything is rising right now, except income. We see a lot of people stretching their income for food, gas and heating, but wages aren't rising."

It is a small gesture that will go a long way.

Those wishing to make a donation can send a check to the Diocese of Rochester finance office at 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624 and put "Catholic Charities Heating Fund" in the memo field.




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