WASHINGTON (October 7, 2005)- Hurricane Katrina sent hundreds of thousands of displaced Gulf Coast residents to temporary shelters in cities across the southwestern United States. In Houston, the Roman Catholic community stepped in to help hurricane victims through Church-organized programs and individual initiatives. The response of Houston's Catholics to this crisis is among several stories about faith-motivated service examined in Faith Works: Across the U.S.A. 2005, a new documentary slated to air soon on ABC-TV stations.
The one-hour program, which is produced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC), will be offered to ABC affiliates beginning Sunday, October 23, to air at their discretion. A list of stations and scheduled air times will be posted on the CCC Web Site (www.usccb.org/ccc) as they become available.
In Houston, we meet Hanh Nguyen, who gave up a vacation in Paris---a college graduation gift from her parents---to help find homes for displaced New Orleans families, and Father Mike Amesse of New Orleans's Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, who ministered to his parishioners temporarily housed at the Astrodome.
In Morgan, Minn., a Catholic woman known as the "Garage Grandma" continues doing what she's done for the past 30 years; saying "yes" to anyone who is hungry, sick or just simply in need. Mary Larsen explains how her "We Care" project—which she operates out of her four-car garage—provides nearly 20,000 pounds of food to more than 150 families each month.
In Boston, we learn how the Catholic community has not forgotten the children who are the legacy of 1986's Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Patty Doyle, Executive Director of the Chernobyl Children Project USA, explains how host families in Boston provide temporary homes for sick children from the contaminated Chernobyl region while they receive quality health care not available in their homeland.
In East Los Angeles, Jesuit Father Greg Boyle introduces us to Homeboy Industries, an organization he founded to help young men and women leave gangs and build productive futures.
On Johns Island in coastal South Carolina, Sister of Charity of our Lady of Mercy Mary Joseph Ritter explains how the N.A.I.L.S. (Neighborly Assistance in Living Safely) home repair program improves the quality of life for families by making their homes safer and more conducive to healthy living.
"Last year we featured several inspiring stories about Catholic men and women who witness to their faith through a variety of creative ministries in Faith Works: across the U.S.A. 2004," says Executive Producer Ellen McCloskey of the CCC. "But we felt we'd only scratched the surface with that one-hour program. This second installment in the Faith Works series gives a broader sense of how Catholics live out their call to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy."
Faith Works: Across the U.S.A. 2005 was produced for the CCC by Digital Shooters of New York, NY. The documentary is part of the "Vision & Values" series of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a consortium of Christian and Jewish groups that provides religious and spiritual programming to network television.
The Catholic Communication Campaign is an effort of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to develop programming, public service announcements, and other resources to promote Gospel values in the media. Donations of Catholic parishioners make possible the work of the CCC. For more information, visit www.usccb.org/ccc.