The Piano of Hope in Caritas’ elderly homes

pianul sperantei 1On the 10th of July, Monday, three students from the local Art School, together with their teacher Lavinia Dragos, gave a memorable piano concert for the residents of St. Elisabeth’s Elderly Home, within the project entitled The Piano of Hope. The aim of the project is to take classical music to elderly homes, orphanages, prisons and other institutional communities, where residents hardly have access to live classical music. The concert was also repeated in St. Martin’s Elderly Home on the 12th of July.

Caritas volunteers in Switzerland

voluntarii caritas in elvetia 1A group of 10 volunteers and coordinators form Caritas Catolica Association and the Caritas Organization of Satu Mare Diocese have participated at a study visit in Switzerland between 26–29 June, within the project VOLO, co-financed by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged European Union. The aim of the visit was exchange of experience between Romanian and Swiss volunteers. The visit was also a prize to the most loyal volunteers of both Caritas organizations, for their devoted work in aiding others within the project VOLO.

See: Photo Gallery

Music Therapy in St. Martin’s Elderly Home

concert terapeutic 1The Women’s Organization of Bihor County in partnership with Duo Varadiensis have organized a live, classical music concert with therapeutic purposes on Monday, the 26th of June. The two invited artists Lucian Malița (violin) and Thurzó Sásndor József (viola) have presented a rich musical program, including works of Curtis, Roberto Farias, Ewerton, Santos Silva, C. Porumbescu, Maria von Paradis and Schubert.

From the reaction of the residents it is obvious that the concert has reached its goal from both spiritual and therapeutic point of view.

“There are multiple reasons why such events are very beneficial for the elderly. Music gets their mind away from their everyday life and physical suffering. Another thing is that most of our residents are not able to go to concerts and spectacles anymore, because of their physical condition. So they are always very happy when music comes to their own doorstep. But perhaps the most heartwarming effect was to see, that some of our residents with severe dementia, who could not even remember their own names, did recognize the well-known classical melodies like Schubert’s Ave Maria and sang along” – says Haier-Sikolya Emma, the coordinator of elderly homes.

Bishop’s blessing in renovated St. Martin’s chapel

punkosdi 1On the 2nd of June, Friday the freshly renovated chapel of St. Martin’s Elderly Home was blessed by Roman Catholic bishop Bocskei Laszlo. Besides the residents, some of the relatives, workers, and also the directors of Caritas Catolica Association were present at the ceremony. The holy mass was followed by free discussions and icecream-eating in the elderly home’s garden.

The renovation of the chapel and several 1st floor rooms was made possible by the generous donations of Stichting Caritas St. Petrus & Paulus Organization from Uden, Mr. Konrad Fundneider from Neumearkt and rev. Harold van Overbeek and the roman catholic church of Ommel. We are very thankful for their help.

As a result of the renovation, the rooms look fresh and cozy. The old parquet was substituted for high quality PVC carpet, which is easier to clean and much more hygienic. All 1st floor rooms are freshly painted and it has a positive effect upon the residents.

Funds to be granted by City Council

Primariei_01The Local Council will make a decision about the funds they are willing to give to support some of the Social Services provided by NGO-s in Oradea, on the 27 of April 2017, Thursday. The total amount secured for this is 100.740 RON, which will be distributed amongst 7 organizations and foundations.

According to the proposal of the Community and Social Cases’ Agency (ASCO), the largest amount of funding goes to the greek-catholic Caritas Eparhial (26.340 RON). The second largest amount will be transferred to Caritas Catolica Oradea Association (ACCO). Our organization is planned to be granted 8.750 RON for Homecare (for 25 beneficiaries) and another 12.950 RON for the Soup Kitchen (for 35 social cases). This adds up to a total of 21.700 RON funding from the Local Authorities, for the entire year. This makes us second on the city’s funding list.

Final decision expected on Thursday.

See plan

St. Martin’s Home visited by Mr. László Tőkés MEP

tokes 1The residents of Saint Martin’s Elderly Home in Oradea were visited by a Member of the European Parliament, Mr. László Tőkés, with the occasion of the Easter Holiday. The MEP has made a tradition of visiting a disadvantaged community on major holidays of Christianity.

tokes 2Following a short biblical introduction and singing religious songs together with the residents, Mr. Tőkés has distributed gift packages containing sweet treats, gift cards and fruits to the residents. In return for the visit and the gifts, a 85 year old resident gave a recitation of one of his own poems.

Blessed Easter and best wishes

“…just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” – (Rom 6:4)

Catholic-Easter-2017

Blessed Easter and best wishes from all or the representatives of Caritas Catolica Oradea!

Easter food packages for beneficiaries

DSC_0112With the kind contribution of our foreign sponsors we had the possibility to offer food packages for the beneficiaries of the Caritas Soup Kitchen on Good Friday. The packages contained traditional eastern kalach, bread and ham sponsored by the Caritasverband Passau organization, as well as canned soup donated by deacon Peter Zidar from Austria. A total number of 80 persons have received the packages, which brought happiness and true festive spirit into the holiday of many poor families.

Soup kitchen beneficiaries doubled by church donations

Caritas Catolica Association was able to raise the number of people served by the Caritas Soup Kitchen from 35 to 70 in Oradea, +6 persons in Tasnad, and further 7 in Marghita, by donations received from roman catholic churches of the diocese, with the occasion of last year’s St. Elisabeth Collection. This means that the number of beneficiaries was doubled in Oradea for 4 months, while at the level of the entire diocese, a number of almost 50 people received a daily hot meal during the cold season. This meant a really big help for the homeless people and poor families in the winter. It is notable that two reformed churches have also joined last year’s collection.

The 4 “magical” months, during which the beneficiaries didn’t have to go to sleep with empty stomachs, have expired in March. Most of the beneficiaries look back upon this period with gratitude, for the suffering caused by winter cold was not amplified by continuous hunger. However, they are worried about the future, since most of them will have to struggle to get food again from the 1st of April.

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“My husband has cancer, and I am also not healthy. I had multiple surgeries. We don’t have money for treatment and winter was hard so the daily hot meal meant very much for us. Our pension doesn’t even cover the costs of medicine, and I really don’t know how we would have survived without the meal provided by Caritas. Their food is very tasty and even suitable for sick people. I could have never afforded to prepare meals consisting of two courses at home. I am grateful to God and everybody who helped us” – declared Mrs. Gabriella (66 years old), one of the beneficiaries.

Although the winter season has ended, Caritas Catolica still continues to feed dozens of poor people within the diocese. From the 1st of April the Caritas Soup Kitchen will have 43 beneficiaries and we are searching for sponsors (private persons or companies) to raise this number.

We would like to express our gratitude towards all persons who have sponsored us.

Help without borders

Brusszel Rajna DerzsiOur dear friend and benefactor Ad van den Brand has received official acknowledgement on Wednesday from part of Gyula Winkler (MEP) at the European Parliament headquarters in Brussels, for the 15 years of hard work he dedicated to help Caritas Catolica Oradea Association. The official recognition was initiated by Mr. Akos Derzsi senator, in the presence of rev. Jozsef Rajna, Mr. Csaba Sógor (MEP) and Mr. Lambert van Nistelrooij (MEP).

New vehicle for the elderly with help of StNedRom

DSC00558Residents with limited mobility from St. Martin’s Elderly Home have now a suitable means of transportation thanks to the benevolence of our dear friends from Stichting Steungroep Nederland Roemenië, represented by Jan and Coby Willemsen – who have sponsored us with a new working car.

The car previously used by elderly home workers to transport patients was an old Daewoo Tico which had no space for placing wheelchairs or walking aids, and it was becoming less and less functional with the passing of time.

The new car sponsored by Stichting Steungroep Nederland Roemenië is a brand new Dacia Dokker, with sliding backdoors and a trunk large enough to carry wheelchairs and medical aids. It is suitable and comfortable means of transportation for elderly people, and patients with limited mobility.

We would like to repeatedly express our gratitude towards our sponsors from Holland, in the name of our residents, who will enjoy the comfort of the new vehicle. StNedrom received a few years ago a legacy to help improving the well-being of the older citizens in Romania; and this is another beautiful example of their dedicated work.

Memorial spectacle in St. Elisabeth’s

aranyt 1With the occasion of the 200th jubilee of the birth of the great Hungarian poet, Arany Janos, a group of 10th and 11th grade students from Eminescu High School have visited St. Elisabeth’s Elderly Home, where they recited and sung some of his most memorable poems for the residents.

The seven students – Kovács Csenge, Sápi Márk, Varga Richárd, Mester Kinga, Dârjan Roxanne, Varga Izabella és Visky Miriám – put together the short spectacle on their own, without help from their teachers.  In return to the student’s recital, one of the old residents, Mr. Laszlo Markus has also read out loud one of Arany’s poems.

“It is always a good feeling to come amongst these old people, because we can learn so much from them. They have lived and experienced so much, and you can tell by the look on their face and their gestures, that these poems mean something else for them, than they mean to us” – declared Visky Miriam, one of the 10th graders. The students stated that they are happy and willing to return to the elderly home if they are summoned again.

Szombati-Gille Tamás

Carnival at St. Elisabeth’s Elderly Home too

DSC_1022aThanks to the selfless service offered by the couple of musicians Kiss Livia and Kiss Géza-Lóránd, the residents of St. Elisabeth’s Elderly Home experienced some memorable moments of joy and happiness, within the carnival organized on the 21st of February, 2017.

The residents, dressed up in impressive costumes, didn’t only listen to the music, but also sang along with the musicians. Above all this, some of the residents (who usually spend their days in wheelchairs because of their physical conditions ) started to dance when they heard some of the top music hits of their youth.

One of the memorable moments of the celebration, was when one of the residents, Mr. László Markus (a former colonel) sang along with Livia Kiss and old folk song about the beauties of the life of a soldier entitled Hey, sir colonel! At the end of the carnival, the residents ate together doughnuts – the traditional food of the carnival period.

See Photo Gallery

Masquerade in St. Martin’s Elderly Home

alarcosbal 2On the 15th of February, Wednesday, a masquerade took place in St. Martin’s Elderly Home, Oradea. Residents had a wonderful time thanks to Kiss Music Band, which provided evergreen music for the event.

Starting from the morning hours, you could feel that something special was going on in the elderly home. The scent of freshly prepared doughnuts filled the rooms. Some of the residents were helping with the decorations, others were selecting costumes for the ball. Some of theme were asking even in the previous day, if there will be lottery game this year too.

The ball was opened by the poem of Mr. Kalman, one of the residents. The repertoire of the music band contained famous musical arias, and other golden oldies. All residents joined the singing, some of them were even dancing waltz, tango, or czardas.

The masquerade ended with the lottery game, and eating doughnuts. Residents went back to their rooms, not only with hands full of presents, but also souls full of happy experience.

Photo Gallery

Our volunteers distributed tea, bread and dripping

On the 15th of February, Wednesday, our volunteers have distributed hot tea, bread and dripping for the poor people living their lives in the surroundings of the Oradea railway station, and for those who were waiting for the trains in the cold weather.

caritas catolica a distribuit 1

We were distributed 300 portions of bread and dripping + 200 glasses of hot tea with the help of autistic young people, fifth-grade students from the St. Ladislau School and also individual volunteers, registered to the online volunteer-database. The bread was donated for this purpose, by the Sandy Impex bakery from Santion.

Collection for Syrian refugees

Afis facebook ROOn the 19th of February 2017 we are organizing a collection in all catholic churches of the diocese, in order to help war refugees living in Tartous city, and the western coast of Syria. The raised funds will be transferred to support the activities of the local Caritas organization, which has in its care 1500 poor families, who fled the warzones of the country. Caritas gives to them financial help to secure roof over their heads, gives out food tickets, and provides free professional courses for disadvantaged family members. They also secure funds for the schooling of refugee children.

New methods for treatment of pressure wounds and Parkinson patients

ingrijitorii 1On the invitation of Caritas Catolica Association, our partner Coby Willemsen integrative healthcare assistant, RN,  has given a series of lectures and workshops for caretakers and nurses working in elderly homes and homecare, in the period of 25-27 January. We had numerous participants from outside Oradea, including Marghita, Tasnad and Timisoara.

A series of advanced healthcare courses was initiated two years ago, with the purpose of providing chance of professional improvement and up to date knowledge for Caritas employees, so they can give quality treatment to the beneficiaries. The series included courses about communication, dementia, elderly nutrition and transfer techniques in the past years. Last weeks’s course was about treating patients with Parkinson’s disease and wound healing.

Knowing the individual case is of key importance

The visible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can vary from patient to patient. In this sense, the role of the caretakers is of vital importance, because they are the ones who can inform the doctors about the smallest changes of the patient’s state, they can also inform the relatives of the patient about the correct ways to handle conflicts resulting from the degradation of mental and motor capacities – Coby Willemsen emphasized.

At the course, caretakers could learn new methods to help the movement of patients with Parkinson’s, to handle hallucinations typical for the disease, to arrange a safe environment, to give medication at the right time and in the right way, and how to minimize the danger of choking while feeding patients. Caretakers were also informed about severe side effects of medication.

Old techniques are out of date

ingrijitorii 2At the course about wound healing, the caretakers received practical information about preventing and treating the 3 most common skin problems in elderly care: dermatitis caused by incontinence, intertrigo, and pressure wounds (decubitus). During the workshop, Coby Willemsen has demonstrated those sitting and lying positions which distribute pressure on a larger surface, thus they are least harmful for the skin. She also explained why some of the old methods of wound-healing are not in use anymore, and has given better, more effective alternatives.

All courses ended with free Q&A sessions, during which the participants could ask questions, share their experiences, and try to find solutions together for individual cases.

Winter clothes for poor people in Săcueni

imbracaminteThe low temperatures of the past days are not causing difficulties only for the people in Oradea.  Without enough firewood, this period extremely challenging for citizens of small rural towns and villages too, even if people have a roof over their heads. It is hardly bearable for poor people to stay indoors in their unheated houses without proper clothes and thick blankets, and this is the time of the year when they are exposed to the highest levels of risk.

In answer to the call from the mayor’s office of the small town of Săcueni, Caritas Catolica has donated 55 sleeping bags and dozens of boxes of winter clothes and blankets for the poor citizens. A delegation from part of local authorities has come to pick up the donations on the 13th of January, Friday at the Caritas Headquarters from Oradea. The donations will be distributed by the local authorities in Săcueni mainly to old/ sick people, and to large families living in difficult situations.

Sz. G. T.

Appeal towards companies to support the feeding of poor people

cegekThe president of Caritas Catolica Oradea, together with executive-director Derzsi Ákos have sent an appeal towards companies and private persons in Oradea, to support the daily hot meal of beneficiaries at the Caritas Soup Kitchen throughout the winter season. These cold months represent the most vulnerable period for homeless and poor people, who face great difficulties in this period, and are in big need of support.

In response to the appeal launched on the 14th of December, a company from Oradea has already assumed the cost of 640 lei, which represents the price of feeding one needy person for 4 months at the Soup Kitchen.

Caritas Catolica Association is continuously looking for new partners (companies or private persons), who are willing to support the feeding of a poor person or family in the cold season. We have to note, that the beneficiaries of the Soup Kitchen are carefully selected by our colleagues, following a thorough social analysis, so we can assure, that the help goes to the place, where it is needed the most.

Christmas food distribution

DSC_0699106 beneficiaries of the Caritas Soup Kitchen have received food packages before Christmas. The president of Caritas Catolica Association, rev. Rajna Jozsef was present at the distribution, who had a conversation with the beneficiaries, paying attention to their individual tragedies and need, encouraging them, and assuring them of Caritas’s continuous support. The distributed packages contained canned soup – donated by deacon Peter Zidar from Austria – as well dry sausages, traditional kolach-s, and bread with the support of Caritasverband Passau.

See: Photo gallery

Free doughnuts and tea in the cold season

fankotVolunteers of Caritas Catolica Association have distributed free doughnuts and hot tea on the promenade of Oradea city. This activity was part of the 40-day charity marathon initiated by Caritas Catolica as the closure of the Holy Year of Mercy. The goods prepared with the financial support of Caritasverband Passau organization were distributed for free, to any by-passer, who was feeling the need for warm food and tea in the cold winter day. Beneficiaries were mainly old people, families, and children coming out from schools.

The aim of the activity was to comfort poor people, and also to earn visibility for the charity work done on a daily basis by Caritas. We will organize two more similar actions in the upcoming weeks. The next will be on the 15th of December, and the last one on the 22nd.

Advent Charity Fair 2016

Adventi vasar 2016 002Our colleagues have distributed hot tea, sweets and winter clothes for children during the Advent Charity Fair, organized by the roman catholic diocese on the 3rd of December, 2016. Besides this, we organized handicraft activities for children at the Caritas booth, where people could also buy souvenirs made by elderly home residents and boarding school students.

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Many persons came for free testing

DSC06348Dozens of persons have profited of the occasion to measure their blood pressure and blood sugar level for free by Caritas medical assistants, at one of Oradea’s largest commercial centers: Era Shopping Park on Tuesday, the 29th of November. The majority of the participants belonged to the advanced age group, but there were also families with children, where every member made the test. This charitable action was part of the 40 day marathon of mercifulness.

See Photo Gallery!

The first candle of advent was lit

DSC_0012Our colleagues have distributed warm tea and sweets at the open air ceremony of lighting the first candle on the giant Advent crown set in front of the roman-catholic cathedral, on the 26th of November, Saturday. The distributed sweets were donated to us by a group of Dutch youngsters, who have collected them by going from house to house and singing on St. Martin’s Day in their home village, Meterik.

See more photos here

Fresh food donation from nursery school

gyumolcsSt. Martin’s Elderly Home has received a considerable amount of fresh food as donation from part of nursery school children, from the kindergarten No. 56 Oradea. The food was collected by the children during the Week of Fruits and Vegetables project.

A part of the donated vegetables were sent to the Caritas Soup Kitchen, while the fruits were used by the caretakers to prepare fresh juices and canned fruit for the elderly. There are also plenty of fresh fruits left for afternoon snacks, such as apples, oranges, pomelos, mandarins, or bananas. The children’s donation provides fresh fruit for the residents for two weeks.

Memorial place for all loved ones

monument  2A special memorial place was inaugurated on the 2nd of November, 2016 in St. Martin’s Elderly Home, Oradea. The granite plaque is shape of a book will serve as a place, where old people with restricted mobility can place a flower and light a candle in memory of their loved ones.

As their health declines, it becomes harder and harder for the inhabitants to go to the cemetery each year. So it is very useful to have a memorial place which is close to them, where they can say their prayers and remember the lost ones, not only on All Soul’s Day, but also on family anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

We also have to mention, that many of the old people have come quite a long way from their birthplace during their lives, so in many cases their parents, ancestors are buried in a different city, or different county. The new memorial place will help them too.

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“I think it is a very good idea. It is a beautiful artwork, which also has its religious connotations. For some of us it is very hard to go to the cemetery, and this monument is a big help” – declared Mrs. Korodi Éva, one of the residents.

The memorial monument was raised with the help of an anonymous sponsor, while the foundation for the monument was financed by Mr. Feher Istvan, the relative of one of the inhabitants. At the inauguration rev. Rajna Jozsef blessed the monument, and after a common prayer, the old inhabitants were the first ones to place their flowers and candles. After them, the caretakers of the elderly home came to commemorate the residents who have previously passed away.

Sz. G. T.

See photo gallery

Best volunteer’s award for Sonja van Kessel

Dijat nyertWe congratulate from the bottom of our heart our regular volunteer, Mrs. Sonja van Kessel, who has won the award for the best volunteer in the field of elderly care in Oradea on the 4th annual Volunteer Gala, organized by Community and Social Services Office in Oradea (ASCO).

The work of the volunteers means in fact the complementation of professional care in the elderly homes of Caritas Catolica Oradea. We wish to provide a comfortable old age for our residents not only from the medical point of view, but also as human beings: to treat them with respect and dignity, paying attention to their individual personalities, keeping them interested. Our volunteers play a huge role in achieving this: with their enthusiasm, devotion and attention, they aid the souls of the elderly. The fact that they speak to the old people, take them for walks, help them in their everyday activities and pay attention to their individual needs, is an immeasurable help for the elderly to keep up their optimism, to keep them full of pep, which helps them to endure the hardships of aging.

Free blood pressure gauging at Caritas

sokan 2The assistants of the Caritas Home Care Center have measured the blood pressure, and blood sugar levels off all the interested persons free of charge on the 11th of February, with the occasion of World Day of the Sick. This was also a great occasion to inform the public about the home-care and institutional care services offered by Caritas.

 

Do you speak Arabic or Persan (Farsi)?

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A large number of refugees (most of them from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan) are transiting Southeastern Europe these weeks heading for Western Europe. They left their countries looking for protection and a life in safety and without war and poverty. In Serbia and Hungary, neighboring countries to Romania, several thousands of people arrive every day. In Romania the number of refugees is low until now. But for us, Caritas organizations in Romania, it is important to be prepared. One of the challenges in case, a large number of refugees arrives, is communication. Coming to an unknown country for them it is essential to have access to information. But also for us as humanitarian organizations it is important to have the possibility to get in direct contact with our beneficiaries. We are looking for volunteer translator speaking Arabic, Persian (Farsi) and other languages used by refugees. We wish to create a database with persons, who in a situation of need, have the possibility to work together with us in order to support refugees. If you would like to join our volunteer teams, please complete the registration form here. Filling in this form does not constitute any obligation! We will discuss you to discuss further details

Appeal of Pope Francis

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Dear brothers and sisters, God’s mercy is seen through our works, as demonstrated to us by the life of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose anniversary of death we commemorated yesterday.

Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who flee death from war and hunger, and who have begun a journey moved by hope for survival, the Gospel calls us to be “neighbours” of the smallest and the abandoned, and to give them concrete hope. It’s not enough to say, “Take heart. Be patient”…. Christian hope has a fighting spirit, with the tenacity of one who goes toward a sure goal.

Therefore, as the Jubilee of Mercy approaches, I make an appeal to parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines throughout Europe, that they express the Gospel in a concrete way and host a refugee family. A concrete gesture in preparation for the Holy Year of Mercy. May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every shrine of Europe welcome one family, beginning with my Diocese of Rome.

I address my brother bishops of Europe, true pastors, that in their dioceses they endorse my appeal, remembering that Mercy is the second name of Love: “What you have done for the least of my brothers, that you have done for me” (cf. Mt 25:46).

In the coming days, the two parishes of the Vatican will also welcome two families of refugees.

POPE FRANCIS – ANGELUS
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 6 September 2015

Improving our meal services

improving 4Last week we had the privilege, to get together again and share views with Jan and Coby Willemsen, from Steungroep Nederland Roemenie (StNedRom). Our good friends and sponsors from the Nederlands have kindly agreed to share their knowledge and help us with the Central Kitchen Project (CCKP) for improving our meal services.

They visit us every two month and we work together on optimizing the kitchen and adapting the meals to the specific needs of our various groups of beneficiaries: students of the boarding school, residents of elderly homes, social cases, homeless people, bedridden patients and people with dementia.

The improvements require the cooperation of many people working in various fields, and we are very grateful for the moral, intellectual and financial support of Jan and Coby.

Food packages for New Year

etelosztas dec31 1As part of our bread and butter program me sponsored by our colleagues from Caritas Verband Passau, on the 31st of December we have distributed food packages amongst the poor people fed at the Caritas’ soup kitchen. The packages distributed by father Rajna, the director of Caritas, contained bread, canned soup, vegetable shortening, cheese spread and sausages.

 

Visitors from the UK

DSC_7996Our dear friends and benefactors from Mustard Seed Jersey have visited us on Thursday together with 14 students and teachers from Beaulieu Convent School. The youngsters have helped to distribute warm meals amongst the poor at our Soup Kitchen, and then visited the residents of St. Elisabeth’s and St. Martin’s elderly homes. They spent time together with the elderly, and gave a heartwarming recital of classic Christmas songs like Jingle Bells, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Mustard Seed Jersey and Beaulieu Convent School support the continuous feeding of multiple persons at the Caritas Soup Kitchen and owing to their generous donations we were also able to distribute 75 food packages amongst the needy on St. Nicolas’ day. We are grateful for their attention, support and caring, and we thank them for everything they do in the name of our beneficiaries.

This is how charity service is made

igy keszul 1The Roman Catholic Episcopate declared 2014, the year of charity service. As part of this program a conference was organized in March, where the institutions carrying out social services amongst the poor, were introduced. As the continuation of the spring event, on the 25th of October another conference was organized: this time the public was able to meet those foreign benefactors, who arrange the gathering and transport of donations, which are sometimes taken for granted in Romania. The audience was given an insight to the tremendous amount of work behind each transport; they were presented how charity service is made.

More than one hundred people were listening to the live, personal accounts of two of the benefactors, in the festivity hall of the bishop’s palace. The first speaker was Coby Willemsen-van der Kolk on behalf of Stichting Steungroep Nederland Roemenie, the charity foundation which supported Caritas with 425 M3 high quality materials and co-financed projects for 89.000 € since 2002.

The president of the Dutch foundation spoke down-to-earth and directly about the future of abroad sponsoring, about making donations cost-efficient, about their expectations towards Caritas  and the ways in which beneficiaries can support the work of Caritas.

DSC_5729“I had a wise father who taught his children: to be is more important than to have. Over the years we understood more and more what he meant by this. We can fill our houses with the nicest things, fill our bank accounts or have the newest telephones. At the end of our lives we leave the world as we came in it… empty handed. What remains, are the memories, and they are mostly not about what somebody had, but about how a person was” – Coby Willemsen-van der Kolk worded.

She also expressed her happiness for seeing young people in Holland and Romania working as real volunteers, sharing time and talents with young, challenged people, with the elderly, or with minorities… “without financial compensation, the hug of child, the kiss of an old lady is enough and priceless” – she emphasized, than added that – “organizations like Caritas need our support, in material or immaterial ways to fulfill its services. We have to remember if we point out our index finger to tell ‘the government does not take enough responsibility’ three other fingers are pointing out to us, asking what do we do for the community?”

DSC_5734The second speaker, Peter Zidar from Maria Anzbach, Austria talked about a completely different kind of support. He presented the project in which students from Austrian professional schools traveled to Oradea to participate at the renovation of St. Joseph’s hospital – a project which needed enormous amounts of time, dedication, organization, and also financial background.

Besides the live accounts, there were also presented two short video-messages at the conference. In the first one Renate Meier, Franciscan sister from Mallersdorf detailed her long activity in helping mostly poor families with small children, while in the second one the newly built cooperation was presented, between St. George’s parish of Vreden and St. Ladislaus parish of Oradea.

At the conference Kiss Karoly, the executive director of Caritas presented the basic principles according to which they are trying to construct a volunteer movement in the local churches. As he pointed out, they would rather put emphasis on charity serving, rather than to provide services, and also on helping the needy by human gestures besides financial support. “There are many people, who don’t pass by the poverty of their neighbors without helping. We would like to gather these people, so they can help in an organized way, under the wings of local churches” – said the executive director, who mentioned as positive examples the organized work of the Tasnad Church and the St. Ladislau Church in Oradea.

“Our aim with the conference was to personally meet the people, whose benevolence enables us to help others. Frequently we fail to realize how much time, organization, work, connections and planning is behind our projects. All of this doesn’t fall down from the skies; it is the product of hard and dedicated work. But even more important than the invested work, is the caring and dedication which motivates our benefactors to do good and help others. It is vital for us to learn and practice this kind of approach, so we can help the needy following the example of our Lord Jesus” –Böcskei László Roman Catholic bishop emphasized at the end of the conference. In the closing moments he presented the foreign benefactors with flowers and medals of honor as an expression of his gratitude.

Szombati-Gille Tamás

The Autism Association is one year old

egyeves 1The association of young people living with autism in Oradea celebrated its first birthday. The aim of this organization is to support autistic youngsters, who already got out of the institutionalized educational system (finished every available special school), but still don’t have a chance to get a job, because there are no protected jobs for disabled people in Romania. One of the most important activities of the association is work therapy, because their main goal is to get autistic youngsters used to working, instead of just keeping them occupied. This way it will be easier for them to fit in their future jobs.

The association came to being last year in October, and at the start they had only seven young members. Last weekend, at the anniversary, Gabriella Bacsadi, the president of the association recalled the activities of the past year. Their initiative was first supported by Sarolta Boros, the leader of association of people with locomotor handicap, who provided them with a small space, for their activities.

At Christmas time, Caritas Catolica provided gifts for the members of the association. Volunteer students from the Mihai Eminescu high school are also besides the association since the beginnings, they work with the autistic youngsters several days a week. The school also permitted them to use their gym, which proved to be very beneficial, since autistic people usually live a sedentary life. Since this summer, volunteers from Szent László Roman Catholic School also came to work with the members, they taught them origami and dance.

The members of the association visited the countryside during summer. Their program included petting domestic animals and picking cherries. With the support of the catholic episcopate and Caritas, two of the members also participated at the crowning ceremony in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. A team of autistic young people also participated at the “special olympics” organized on the World Down Syndrome Day. The members of the association also did voluntary work: they cleaned up and planted flowers at the St. Elisabeth Elderly Home, and participated at activities together with old people.

egyeves 3On the 8th of May, the association received a new room from the catholic episcopate, which they use as headquarters since then. It was equipped with board games and also five sewing machines with the help of Caritas. The youngsters are now learning to use the sewing machines. Caritas also provided six computers for them on the actual birthday of the association, on the 3rd of October. The members of the association also took part in the newly initiated Egalitas restaurant program: they cleaned vegetables and helped to cook under the idea of equality of opportunity.

“This anniversary and this festivity also proves, that even if these young people with autism have fallen out of the institutionalized educational system, they are still part of another, more important system. God presents us new paths, through which we can understand, that each and every person represents a value, that transcends social systems” – declared bishop Böcskei László, who also had an informal chat with the autistic youngsters, and viewed their hand-made objects, jewelry and greeting-cards.

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