The 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.
The 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.
106 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.
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Volunteers 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.
Our 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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Dozens 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.
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Our 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.
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St. 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.
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A 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.
“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.
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We 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.
The 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.
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
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
We are looking for volunteer translators of arabic and new persian (farsi) language. You can sign up at the following link:
Last 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.
As 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.
Our 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.
The 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.
“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?”
The 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.
The 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.
On 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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The fair was organized for the 8th time, in collaboration with other organizations, on this spring. The fair displayed creative hand-crafted objects, similar to the yearly Christmas fair. This year, we wanted to introduce this future tradition in regard of the several holidays of spring, such as Mother’s Day, Women’s Day or Easter. These outstanding creations represent pieces of the world of challenged people, its pure and honest jingling rivets our attention. The attention, which is so important to them, a balm to their wounds, because they can thus show to the world that challenged individuals can and want to create. The collected income from the purchases funds their projects for the next year. It is also a means for them to show that they can climb to the peaks of society and do not wish for their pity, but for their attention and a chance for an independent life. Hereby, we would like to express our gratitude to the donors and to the leaders of the schools and the university for their kindhearted support that made possible the success of this year’s Christmas Fair as well.
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In February, another 15 food parcels were distributed at the former garbage depot, where families live in makeshift homes. The action was carried out by workers and volunteers students from Caritas and Father Mihai Fechetă from Don Orione Foundation.
On occasion of World Day of the Sick, Father Joseph Egeli vice director of Caritas Catolica, with Andrea Tóth program coordinator and the nurse Ternovan Emilia visited six beneficiaries of the Home Care Center.
Szabolcs Farkas the first grade student can use again his wheelchair to be able to go to school, due to the support of Steungroep Nederland-Roemenie Organization and Theranova Foundation from Oradea. The wheelchair’s tires were completely damaged, and it became necessary to replace them, last summer. His parents did their best to replace the missing parts, but these specific size tires were not able to obtain. Finally, the Netherland organization, namely Mrs. Elly Willemsen, and Theranova Foundation from Oradea was able to obtain the necessary parts and spare tires as well. Szabolcs happily took possession of the vehicle. As a thank gift, he drew a very nice picture for the benefactors.