Answering the Call to US-Mexico Border: Missionary Sisters Are Pro-active
~ from Cabrini Mission Foundation website
The Cabrini Mission Foundation has a long history of working with migrants and displaced people. Responding to the Gospel call for justice and love, honoring the Catholic Social Teachings on the dignity of all persons, and continuing the legacy of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patroness of Immigrants, the Cabrini Mission Foundation is committed to:
WELCOME as brothers and sisters all immigrants to the lands in which we are missioned.
SUPPORT the rights of all persons to flee political, religious, or economic persecution; and support the basic human rights and dignity of all persons regarding: food, shelter, health care, employment at just wages, religious freedom and also honoring their customs and traditions.
EDUCATE others and ourselves about the needs of immigrants.
RE-EXAMINE political laws and regulations in the light of these justice issues and to work to change those that do not meet human needs.
WORK in solidarity with immigrants and with others who share our values and beliefs to promote justice and compassion for all immigrants.
Led by Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, MSC the Cabrini Mission Foundation has made two trips to the State of Texas at the United States and Mexican border. These visits gave us the opportunity to create partnerships and launch new programmatic initiatives, despite not having a physical presence at the border. The Cabrini Mission Foundation has maintained a proactive approach to the border crisis throughout the pandemic.
While political realities change, the truth remains. Displaced people, who have fled their home due to conflict, crime, persecution, poverty or simply in hope of a fresh start and better life are often preyed upon, during their arduous journey.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation in partnership with Angry Tias & Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley, Pastor Abraham Barberi of One Mission Ministries as well as Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley is sponsoring the opening of a new shelter for asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico.
This is the third shelter at the border with whom the Cabrini Mission Foundation has partnered. Thanks to our generous donors we are grateful to be able to provide a safe environment, warm meals, clean water, a roof over their heads to protect them from the weather and a clean bed to sleep. The shelter is housing over 100 people as they await entry to the United States.
To date, the Cabrini Mission Foundation has provided funds for the building of a well, bunk beds, Covid-19 protective items such as face masks, hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes. We have also provided requested clothing items such as socks and underwear, in addition to disposable paper products; plates, napkins, cups and towels. As shelter needs grow, we are now looking into the purchase of a commercial refrigerator and freezer.
As access to COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available, it brings hope the pandemic will soon ease its grip. Our prayers continue for all who grapple with the virus, and we are optimistic here in New York, once the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the United States, we can soon return to a sense of normalcy.
For our immigrant families, business interruptions and closures have meant a loss of jobs. The lack of working hours over the last year have led to mounting debt. When it comes to paying for food or rent, the choice is obvious. In response to this COVID-19 driven crisis, the Cabrini Mission Foundation offers a rent assistance program for those most impacted.
To qualify, renters must have documented proof of a current lease, a letter from their landlord as well as recommendation from one of our immigrant services caseworkers or immigration attorneys. The current family benefit is $1,000 and Foundation checks go directly to the landlords to cover past due rent.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation has been able to assist 37 families to date with this program. ~ CMF website
NEW YORK – Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, whose career spans more than 35 years on Broadway, and in notable film and television roles, and his wife, Gianna, herself an acclaimed actress and producer, were thanked by the Cabrini Mission Foundation, at a reception at the Bedford Playhouse in Westchester, NY.
The Palminteris, who reside in Bedford, have long been active in Italian American, Catholic and community causes. In 2019, their daughter Gabriella wanted to help immigrant families at the border and led a high school project that collected toothbrushes and toiletries for those in need. She donated the supplies to the Cabrini Mission Foundation and through that process, her parents were introduced to the organization and the important work it does around the world. Since that time, Chazz and Gianna have become well-known supporters of the charism and work of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first Italian American and U.S. Citizen to be canonized a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
“The story of Mother Cabrini has been so inspiring to me and my family. As a proud Catholic and Italian American, I am honored to support the Cabrini Mission Foundation whose work is critical to uplifting the lives of so many people around the globe, particularly during these difficult times,” said Chazz Palminteri. “More recently, when Mother Cabrini was nominated for a statue, I joined my close friend Philip Foglia to advocate for it. I was glad to play a role in seeing it recently erected.”
“My husband and I are grateful to the Foundation for this recognition and allowing us to help them in their important work. We are so proud of our children who share in our commitment to our faith and community and were the reason we were able to connect with the Cabrini Mission Foundation in the first place,” said Gianna Palminteri.
Chazz Palminteri, is most recently known for Academy Award nomination for acting, writing and producing A Bronx Tale. Throughout his heralded career, he has appeared in numerous movies, Broadway productions and popular television series like Law & Order: SVU; Blue Bloods, Modern Family and Kojak.
“The Palminteris are shining examples of a family stepping up in these challenging times to help those less fortunate. COVID-19 has only accelerated the level of assistance that immigrants and those who are in need have today. We are so thankful for their enduring support and encouragement,” said Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who serves as chairwoman of the Cabrini Mission Foundation.”
“Chazz and Gianna have been incredible supporters of our foundation, especially this year, as our programs and services are stretched due to the pandemic,” said Cabrini Mission Foundation Executive Director Christopher LaBianco. “We were so happy we could recognize them for their generous service and help during these critical times and look forward to honoring them at our Gala in 2021.”
In 2019 the Cabrini Mission Foundation expanded its work with immigrants by visiting the border city of Laredo, TX and partnering with a shelter which receives immigrants and asylum seekers once they are released from United States detention centers.
It is hard to understand the size of such detention centers. The Rio Grande Detention Center in Laredo, TX for example, houses an estimated population of over 1,900 detainees.
In July of 2019 the U.S. government, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), began enforcing its new Migrant Protection Protocols, or the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which the U.S. government returns certain asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait through the duration of their pending cases in the U.S. immigration court system.
In short, asylum seekers wait in Mexico without access to family, legal, or social support. As we are told, as of August 2019, over 98 percent of those subject to this policy have not been able to obtain legal representation. Undoubtedly, this will make it more difficult for those subject to the policy to successfully assert their asylum claims and will also risk retraumatizing them in the unsafe conditions in which they are forced to wait.
With word of the impact the “Remain in Mexico” policy is having on the number of people making it to our shelter partner in Laredo, TX, the Cabrini Mission Foundation headed back to the border but this time to McAllen, TX.
Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, Sr. Yolanda Flores, and Cabrini Mission Foundation Executive Director, Christopher LaBianco met with Sr. Norma Pimentel the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and Ashley Feasley, Director of Policy, Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to discuss the challenges at the border that the new immigration policy poses.
The Foundation provided supplies to make 500 sandwiches and crossed the border in Matamoros, Mexico to aid the migrants in the newly formed tent city at the United States border.
There are an estimated 2,500 people living in tents at the border.
The people are making the best of it. The camp sites were impeccably clean.
The families are resourceful and incredibly optimistic. They have managed to make the tents “home” and have constructed stoves out mud and wood pallets.
In addition to Catholic Charities and the Cabrini Mission Foundation there are a number of philanthropic organizations providing services for the people in Matamoros. But there is still much to be done.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation has received a number of requests for funding to provide for additional needed infrastructure in the area. The Foundation is also seeking partners who are directly providing services in the tent city to ensure a Foundation investment will have the hoped-for community impact.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation looks to send both financial support and volunteers to the Matamoros, Mexico in the coming year.
For more information please feel free to contact Christopher LaBianco, firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-375-0110.
Cabrini Mission Foundation
Save the Date – Thursday, December 5, 2019
The Spirit of Christmas
On Thursday, June 6, 2019 Cabrini Mission Foundation celebrated 20 years of service with a gala at New York’s prestigious Metropolitan Club. Reverend Monsignor Gregory Mustaciuolo and Sister Lucille Souza, MSC were honored for their missionary spirit and service to immigrants, women, and children in need. Both honorees were joined by their family members.
Approximately 300 guests were in attendance including his Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan. They were treated to a cocktail hour featuring live harp, violin, and cello music. The marble hall was filled with happy conversation and music. Following a cocktail hour guests entered the main dining room and enjoyed a three-course dinner.
Joe Piscopo, renouned comedian and musician was master of ceremonies. What a hit! He entertained everyone with jokes and two Frank Sinatra songs. We were so lucky to have him with our guests for the evening.
We are so grateful to everyone who sponsored or attended this wonderful event. It was an incredible success because of the generosity of our friends and supporters.
To see more photos from the Cabrini Mission Foundation 20th Anniversary Gala: http://bit.ly/CMFGalaAlbum
To see the journal from the 20th Anniversary Gala: https://cabrinifoundation.org/events/20th-anniversary-gala-e-journal
The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Cabrini Mission Foundation Board of Trustees invite you to celebrate
The Spirit of Christmas at Rockefeller Plaza
Enjoy Hors d’Oeuvres, Open Bar, Buffet Dinner and Dessert