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Health leaders, governor see bright future for St. Francis

December 1st, 2013 Posted in Our Diocese, Uncategorized Tags:

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The only Catholic hospital in the Diocese of Wilmington is well-prepared to meet the needs of an aging population in Delaware and provide quality care to all ages with its professional staff and leading-edge technology.

That was the message that executives from St. Francis Healthcare and CHE Trinity Health delivered Nov. 12 with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to approximately 200 physicians and business partners on the future of healthcare at Saint Francis Healthcare in Wilmington.

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Studying this recipe: Cooking oil, tigers and rainforests – All Saints Catholic School students tackle the problem of palm oil, Sumatran tigers and deforestation

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Staff reporter

 

ELSMERE — It might be happening on the other side of the globe, but students at All Saints Catholic School have taken a special interest in the deforestation of an Indonesian island and its effect on an endangered species.

The school is participating in the UNLESS Project, sponsored by the Philadelphia Zoo. This year, the zoo is focusing on the devastating effects of deforestation on the Sumatran tiger. The tiger and other species are losing their habitat on the island of Sumatra because forests are being cleared to make room for oil palm tree plantations. Read more »

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Distributing hope, food and shelter: Catholic Charities’ Casa San Francisco meets a need for emergency food and shelter in Milton

November 28th, 2013 Posted in Our Diocese Tags:

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For The Dialog

 

MILTON – When Gail left her professional job in the Northwest to care for her ailing mother, she did not realize her world was about to fall apart.

Back in Wilmington, Gail began drinking, and drinking, and drinking. She became an alcoholic and soon found herself on the streets. Now she is working her way back to self-sufficiency, partly with the help of Casa San Francisco. She spoke on the condition that only her first name be used.

“There is hope,” Gail, 53, told a breakfast promoting Casa San Francisco in recognition of Homeless Hunger and Awareness Week Read more »

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Our Lady of Guadalupe pilgrims to make stop in Wilmington, Dec. 5

November 27th, 2013 Posted in Our Diocese Tags: ,

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Parishes around the diocese schedule events marking Blessed Mother’s appearance to Juan Diego

The annual torch run honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, making its way from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, will be in Wilmington on Dec. 5.

St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington will host services related to the arrival of the torch.

The Hispanic Ministry office of the diocese has scheduled fellowship at 5 p.m., the rosary at 6:30 and Mass at 7. The pilgrims carrying the torch to New York will spend the night at parishioners’ homes in Wilmington. Read more »

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Bishop Malooly expands diocesan priesthood and religious vocations effort by adding three priests to team

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Dialog editor

 

Bishop Malooly has called in reinforcements for the Office of Priestly and Religious Vocations.

Recently he named three diocesan priests as associate directors in the office run by Father David F. Kelley.

The move is a follow-up to one of Bishop Malooly’s priorities for the diocese announced last June: “reinforcing our baptismal call to holiness in all vocations with a special effort to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.” Read more »

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Free to proclaim the Gospel: Bishop Malooly’s homily for final Holy Hour in the Year of Faith

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The following is the text of Bishop Malooly’s homily during the Nov. 24 Holy Hour for the Year of Faith at 4 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington.

The Year of Faith, called by Pope Benedict XVI in Oct. 2012 until the feast of Christ the King, this Nov. 24, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. Dioceses in the United States scheduled holy hours and other services for religious freedom during the year.

In our first reading 2 Samuel, we hear, “You shall shepherd my people.” Last week, we, your bishops, did that when we had our annual meeting in Baltimore. Let me begin with part of our statement from last week.

“Pope Francis has reminded us that “in the context of society, there is only one thing which the church quite clearly demands: the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, even when it runs counter to the world, even when it goes against the tide.” Read more »

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Hockessin parishioner honored for a lifetime of volunteering

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Staff reporter

 

WILMINGTON — Professionally, John Iwasyk is a scientist, a chemical engineer who spent nearly 50 years at Dupont’s Experimental Station in Alapocas.

The Pike Creek resident also may as well have a Ph.D. in historical preservation, having invested as many years in various local organizations since coming to Delaware in 1960.

John Iwasyk a St. Mary of the Assumption parishioner at Coffee Run Cemetery. wwwDonBlakePhotography.com

The list of organizations is impressive: Historic Red Clay Valley and its offshoot, the Wilmington and Western Railroad; the North Mill Creek Hundred Association; the Delaware Nature Society; Friends of Brandywine Springs; Delaware Greenways; Red Clay Scenic Highways; the Delaware Museum Association; and the Westgate Farms Civic Association.

For his efforts, Iwasyk received the 2013 Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award from Gov. Jack Markell in October at Dover Downs. It was the highest of the 25 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards presented at the ceremony.

Iwasyk downplayed the award recently, saying others have done as much or more than him. His desire to serve these groups stems from his interest in historical preservation and his scientific background.

“It’s really just part of my nature” to get involved, he said recently at his home in Westgate Farms. “It’s the engineering instinct. You see a problem; you know pretty much how to solve it. You just sit down and solve it and move on.”

He and his wife of 53 years, Kathleen, raised six children, but his volunteer pursuits didn’t interfere with his family commitments. “If I calculate how many hours I spent on it per day, it’s under two. As an engineer, you begin to deal with all kinds of things.

“The family is always first. My wife is No. 1. I was always able to juggle things around, and I never took on more than I could handle.”

Follow that train

Iwasyk first came to Delaware in 1955 as a co-op student from Northwestern University and returned for good five years later. Almost immediately, he immersed himself into the local community, volunteering with Historical Red Clay Valley Inc., which operates the Wilmington and Western Railroad. He’s a big fan of railroads.

“I grew up west of Chicago next to the largest railroad yards in the world, between two other railroads, and I used to walk to school,” he said. “When I started work permanently at Dupont, I was driving down Lancaster Pike, and there’s a little railroad crossing. I saw the local company towing a steam engine. I’d grown up with steam engines, so I said, ‘I’m sure I can follow it, see where it’s going.’

“I followed it up to Yorklyn, and it was being restored there. So I found out about it, and that was the same time as they started this railroad, in 1960.”

He is currently the vice president of the Wilmington and Western Railroad Corp., and he previously served as a track inspector. He has been on the board of HRCV since 1966.

Iwasyk is especially proud of the work done by the Kennett Pike Civic Association, which in the early 1970s worked on the Evergreen Plan. He was invited to serve based on his work with the North Mill Creek Hundred Association.

“I looked at the plan and I said everything’s green but Hockessin. There are no parks,” he said.

The group met with county councilman Joe Biden and helped establish two parks in Hockessin that are still in use today.

A few years later, Iwasyk and Biden, who by this time had been elected to the United States Senate, had another encounter. Their children were classmates at Archmere Academy, and the two fathers were enlisted to help out at the senior prom.

“The senior prom came along and Joe and I were blowing up balloons. His always went higher,” Iwasyk joked.

Visiting homebound

The Iwasyks also have devoted much of their time to their church. They have been members of St. Mary of the Assumption in Hockessin since before the current church was dedicated in 1965. The family belonged to St. Joseph on the Brandywine for a year, then worshiped at St. John the Evangelist in Hockessin and St. Patrick in Ashland until the new church was built.

Today at St. Mary of the Assumption, Iwasyk is a minister to the homebound, but for a while he took Communion to just one person.

“They fixed me up with a nursing home that has 50, so I’m not bored anymore,” he said.

Some of his children attended St. Joseph on the Brandywine School, and he was on the school board, but when it closed, Iwasyk and others from St. Mary of the Assumption went to work to find an alternative for the students. The parish forged a partnership with Corpus Christi Parish in Elsmere to co-sponsor Corpus Christi School. The two parishes are now part of All Saints School.

He also started the Men’s Club at the parish, and he is involved with preservation of the Coffee Run plantation, the plot of land that was the original site of the first Catholic church in Delaware. At one time there was a rectory and barn and the cemetery, but much of what had been preserved was destroyed by fire a few years ago.

Among those buried at Coffee Run are many Irish workers who died in industrial accidents at Dupont, Iwasyk said. Many of the graves are unmarked and fall outside the marked boundaries of the cemetery.

When not involved in historic preservation, Iwasyk and his wife like to travel. They go to Boston frequently, as one daughter lives there and another is in nearby Providence, R.I. Boston is also Kathleen Iwasyk’s hometown. The couple also returns to Chicago on occasion to see his extended family. They also like to spend time with their 14 grandchildren – seven boys and seven girls, and they spend two months a year in Naples, Fla., where, they say, they run into a fair number of fellow parishioners.

Iwasyk said others could have been chosen for the Wilkinson Award. “It’s quite a surprise. You never plan on them. When they come, they come.”

 

A longer version of this article appears at www.thedialog.org.

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All Saints students tackle problem of palm oil and tigers

By

Staff reporter

ELSMERE — It might be happening on the other side of the globe, but students at All Saints Catholic School have taken a special interest in the deforestation of an Indonesian island and its effect on an endangered species.

All Saints School eighth-grade students skype with a teacher at the Philadelphia Zoo. www.DonBlakePhotography.com

The school is participating in the UNLESS Project, sponsored by the Philadelphia Zoo. This year, the zoo is focusing on the devastating effects of deforestation on the Sumatran tiger. The tiger and other species are losing their habitat on the island of Sumatra because forests are being cleared to make room for oil palm tree plantations.

Palm oil, according to Philadelphia Zoo educator Dani Hogan, is the world’s most widely produced vegetable oil. It is the primary cooking oil in Asia and is found in most packaged goods in the United States, such as cookies, and also in household goods like shampoo and toothpaste.

The demand for this inexpensive product has prompted European, American and some Asian companies to clear about 50 percent of the forests in Sumatra over the last 30 years, Hogan said. Oil palm trees, which are not a habitat for native species, have replaced the natural forests.

“It takes a lot of trees to make this much oil. The problem is that oil palm trees grow best in areas where there is a warm, wet climate, which would be rainforests. So that means that large areas of rainforests are being destroyed in order to plant oil palm trees,” Hogan told a class of eighth-grade students via Skype earlier this month.

UNLESS is an annual project at the zoo, and All Saints, a STEM school that stresses science, technology, engineering and math courses, has participated in each of the school’s three years of existence.

The 69 eighth-graders are doing projects to raise awareness of the tigers’ predicament. Some are making cookies shaped like the animal. Others are making bracelets and handing out flyers. One is making a video that will be posted to YouTube, said Ellen Tannenbaum, a science teacher at All Saints.

“They’re going to do projects to make the public aware of the endangerment of the species,” she said. “Everything they sell will be accompanied by fact sheets.”

The school has responded to the UNLESS project, said Mary McCann, an eighth-grader. This is a full-year endeavor at All Saints. As part of UNLESS, the eighth grade will visit the Philadelphia Zoo during Catholic Schools Week.

“At the zoo, the money that we raise, we’re going to give to them,” Mary said.

While the eighth grade took part in the Skype session and will visit the zoo, “the whole school is taking part in this, pre-k through eight. Every class has different projects,” Tannenbaum said.

Mary and her classmate, Eric Hendrixson, said when they were in sixth grade, orangutans were the focus, and Mary’s group did a presentation. Last year, UNLESS concentrated on the polar bear.

“I like that they keep changing it up with different animals to keep the interest,” Eric said.

 

Positive advocacy

Hogan said the goal is not to end palm oil production, but to get companies to get their supply from producers who use sustainable methods. This is better for the environment, but not the final solution. Currently, she said, 14 percent of palm oil is sustainable, which involves reusing already deforested land, and cutting down fewer trees.

It is important to let companies know this is important, she said. There is a need to pressure them without threats or boycotts.

“We want to support them and use positive advocacy to encourage them to make the right decision. We believe if enough people get together and make these very small changes where they write a single letter to Kellogg or they change one snack a day, it would make a big difference for tigers,” Hogan said.

The students had a chance to interact with Hogan following her presentation. One asked about the impact ending deforestation would have on jobs in Sumatra. Hogan said a lot of people in Indonesia rely on the palm oil industry to feed their families, but ending deforestation would create jobs in forest management, law enforcement and other areas. Some jobs would be lost, but those would be from the foreign companies.

In response to another student, Hogan suggested some talking points on any information sheets handed out with products the students sell. One that should resonate with people is a concrete number: that without action, Sumatra will be completely deforested in 20 years.

People “realize that at that point in the near future, an entire island with thousands of species could be gone because of this one industry, I think that’s where it’s going to hit home with them,” she said.

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Student and school news

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Good Shepherd students featured in national video

PERRYVILLE, Md. – Four students at Good Shepherd School in Perryville, Md., are featured in the national Fuel Up to Play “Make Your Move” campaign video that was released Oct. 29. The campaign, sponsored by the National Football League, is a dance-themed initiative focused on getting students active in their schools to get healthy and be better students.

The Good Shepherd students were invited to participate in the filming of the ad in August at Redskins Park in Virginia. The video is available at www.fueluptoplay60.com. Read more »

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Blue Mass honors first responders, slain officer

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Staff reporter

 WILMINGTON – Although the Blue Mass is meant to honor all who serve as first responders, the Diocese of Wilmington’s annual service, celebrated May 4 at St. John the Beloved Church in Wilmington, was heavily influenced by the death last September of New Castle County Police Lt. Joseph Szczerba.

County police officers, wearing a black ribbon over their badges, made up the largest contingent at the church, and Szczerba’s family, including his widow, Kathy, sat in the front. After Communion, she received a plaque from Col. Scott McLaren, chief of the county police.

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