SOS DRS Board
by D’Ann Fisher
The summer and the fall are usually the busiest times of the year at the SOS DRS headquarters in Milwaukee, WI. Most of the traveling and the fundraising at parishes takes place during this period. And the letters of request and applications to do fundraising the next year have to go out by October. All that involves a lot of work.
The letters from the dioceses that allow us to do fundraising in their parishes start to arrive in the spring. And then we have to make a series of phone calls to pastors and arrange for the appeal schedule. we have to find missionaries to speak in the parishes as well. In 2009 we received a good number of acceptance letters from dioceses throughout the US. They have agreed to be a part of the Mission Cooperation Plan set up by the bishops in the States. Going to parishes allows us to evangelize, spread word about our mission and raise money for it.
In addition to scheduling appeals by phone, e-mail and fax, we have to print the materials to be used during the MCP appeals include new banners and envelopes with inserts containing information about the mission. MCP appeal season at the HQ is a very busy time for all – staff and volunteers.
The sizable banners visually complement and enhance the presentation of the missionary conducting the appeal. The inserts and envelopes are placed in the pews or in other locations in the church where they are easily accessible to parishioners. The inserts provide information to members of the congregation about the activities of SOS DRS and the CTF in both English and Spanish. They describe the organization; list disasters that we have responded to; provide information regarding the CTF-SOS DRS’ website, online newsletter, and world mission rosary. The envelope gives people and opportunity to give at the time of the collection or later. Parishioners give cash or write a check.
The headquarters provides a place for volunteers – particularly those from the neighboring parish (Immaculate Conception) – to help us collate the thousands of pieces of printed material. The staff of SOS DRS would like to extend a BIG thankyou to Muffy, Clare, Lucille and Betty!!
The 2009 MCP season commenced during the first weekend of June in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania on the east coast of the United States. Fr. Scott, Fr. Francis and I traveled there by van. And we were joined by Eric Dizon.
During our road trips, when time allows, we schedule appointments with the MCP directors of the dioceses that we visit. We visited several on the East Coast including Br. Thomas Aquinas Dolan, O.P. of the Office of Missions and Evangelization in the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio; Msgr. Robert J. Fuhrman, the Director for the Propagation of the Faith in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. We had also had an enjoyable visit with Deacon Ed Kelly and his staff at the Mission Office of the Diocese of Scranton (see picture).
We traveled to several other places in the US during the 2009 MCP season including the Diocese of Worcester; Boston (see picture); West Palm Beach, Fl.; and several parishes in California. Making appeals in parishes is the primary source of income for CTF-SOS DRS. It is hard but rewarding work. This year we were helped by the presence of Fr. Aris Miranda, MI and 2 members of CTF Central – Marco Iazzolino and Fr. Paolo Guarise. Two African priests, Fr. Francis from the Diocese of Nakuru in Kenya and Fr. Alfred who is from Uganda and a student at the Camillianum in Rome were very helpful as well.
Many other things took place at the HQ or near it during the summer and the fall. In addition to daily mass in the Divine Mercy Chapel and praying the world mission rosary, we have normal administrative duties and the tasks necessary to maintain the HQ.
We have several friends and supporters in the Milwaukee area including the Human Concerns Committee of Sacred Heart Croatian Parish . They invited me to present the work of SOS DRS and the Camillian Task Force. On March 15, seventeen people attended a one-hour PowerPoint presentation by D’Ann Fisher. D’Ann presented the accomplishments of SOS DRs’ as a disaster-relief organization to the receptive viewers, and explained the spirituality of the World Mission Rosary Devotion.
Immaculate Conception Parish (adjacent to our headquarters) sponsored a fundraiser for the benefit of both SOS DRS and the Open Door Free Clinic, a neighborhood free clinic, that Deacon Robert Chalhoub helps. For a one-dollar donation, parishioners received a heart with their name written on it. The hearts, which were fashioned from pink paper of various shades, were then mounted on the parish bulletin board.
At the end of the summer we held an international gathering and an SOS DRS board and strategic planing meeting at the HQ. Chris Cichantek, a community member, prepared the SOS DRS Headquarters for the arrival of the guests while we were on the road doing fundraising appeals.
The event was blessed by the presence of people from other countries including the Philippines and Italy. Sr. Claire Marie, a friend of the community came to talk about Our Lady Medjugorje and the signs of the times.The participants prayed, celebrated mass, adored the Eucharist, socialized, and planned the future of the CTF and SOS DRS.