Update on Relief and Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico

I would like to provide an update on the relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, which is so dear to the hearts of many New Yorkers. 

One of our reasons for concern is the damage and hurt suffered by the families of the Head Start programs run by the New York Foundling at 41 sites throughout the island of Puerto Rico.  I know of the dedicated work being done by the leadership of the New York Foundling in NY, especially William Baccaglini, Jr. and Carmen Jirau-Rivera, to support these families. These efforts will continue for many years.

I was able to join Cardinal Dolan a few weeks ago to visit and show solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico.  This very brief trip, captured in the recent issue of Catholic New York, included a stop at the offices of Caritas Puerto Rico to learn of the work they are doing to provide relief throughout the country.  We were told that Caritas Puerto Rico was singled out by FEMA for their efforts because they are the only aid organization reaching out to all 75 of Puerto Rico’s municipalities.  Fr. Enrique Camacho, the Executive Director of Caritas Puerto Rico and his staff are proving extraordinary service.

This Sunday, November 19th, the Mass of Our Lady of the Divine Providence, Patroness of Puerto Rico, will be celebrated at 4:00 p.m. at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

A special commemoration will be offered for the people of Puerto Rico who are currently suffering the effects of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  Fr. Enrique Camacho will serve as the celebrant and homilist of the Mass.

The numbers of persons displaced from Puerto Rico are hard to estimate.  We do know that in the past month, more than 1,100 families displaced have sought services at the New York City Reception Center that Catholic Charities has been staffing, along with City agencies. 

Catholic Charities has provided gifts cards, food, metro cards, and counseling on the services available to those relocating to New York City.  A very high priority is ensuring adequate housing for those unable to stay with family or friends.

Through the generosity of numerous donors, Catholic Charities has already been able to provide funds to both Caritas Puerto Rico and the New York Foundling for their relief efforts.  We anticipate providing additional funds shortly. 

We have also partnered with the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and Comité Noviembre to serve as a conduit for their Estoy Con Puerto Rico campaign.  I intend to accompany this group, along with few other Catholic Charities staff, in early December to visit the distant towns of Puerto Rico and make sure aid is reaching those hard to reach areas.

I ask that you keep the wonderful people of Puerto Rico in your prayers,

 

Veteran’s Day 2017

Vanessa K. Russell, Mathew “Griff” Griffin and Justin Miller

On this week’s episode of JustLove Monsignor Kevin Sullivan speaks with three guests about Veteran’s Day.

Vanessa K. Russell Chief Executive Officer  of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta will be calling into the studio. Vanessa will be speaking to Msgr. about the work that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta  does with the significant veteran’s population in Georgia, as well as speaking about their inaugural “Help, Hoppe and Honor Campaign” that they are coordinating with Archdiocesan schools in Atlanta to educate students on the importance of Veteran’s Day, raise awareness of the charities’ Veteran’s Services Programs, and collect donations to support those programs and give back to those who gave in defense of our country. 

Also calling into the studio is Mathew “Griff” Griffin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the “Combat Flip Flops.” “Combat Flip Flops” is a mission-based business – similar to “Tom’s Shoes” – which is dedicated to helping those in conflict zones to improve their lives through “business and not bullets.”  Griff who is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a former Army Ranger, will be speaking to Msgr. Sullivan about the work of “Combat Flip Flops”, and how through manufacturing footwear in Columbia, scarfs in Kabul, Afghanistan, and jewelry in Laos, Combat Flip Flops is able to help fund girls education in Afghanistan and the removal of unexploded ordinances in Southeast Asia and other former combat zones throughout the world in partnership with Mines Advisory Group” (MAG) 

Justin Miller Co-Founder and the Director of Veterans and Military Affairs of  “Objective Zero” will be on the show. “Objective Zero” is a nonprofit that has developed a mobile app to anonymously connect veterans who may be contemplating harming themselves. The app provides suicide prevention resources and a community of veterans, counselors and other concerned citizens dedicated to listening to veteran’s concerns at their times of crisis.  Justin, who served 11 years in the armed forces including two deployments to Iraq, will be sharing his own personal struggles about returning to civilian life with Msgr. Sullivan. He will also talk about how a conversation that he had with a friend and fellow veteran during a moment of difficulty led the two of them, along with others, to develop  Objective Zero.

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International Poverty

Jonathan Glennie, Tess Hart and Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D. on JustLove

Jonathan Glennie, Tess Hart and Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D.

On this week’s episode, Monsignor Sullivan speaks with three guests about international poverty.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan will be talking to Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D. and Tess Hart about Fordham University’s 2017 Pope Francis Global Poverty Index, a multi-dimensional measurement of international poverty. It relies on seven primary indicators of material well-being and spiritual well-being, which itself is based upon measures that Pope Francis proposed in his speech delivered to the United Nation’s General Assembly back on September 25th, 2015.

Also on the show is Jonathan Glennie, Director of the Sustainable Development Research Center at the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Centre in Londo. Monsignor Sullivan will be speaking with Jonathan about an article that he wrote for The Guardian entitled: “The Saddest Thing in the World is not Poverty, It’s a Loss of Dignity.”

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Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico

Edwin Melendez, Ph.D. & Assemblyman Marcos Crespo

On this week’s episode of JustLove, Monsignor Sullivan speak with two guests focused on hurricane disaster relief in Puerto Rico. 

On the show Assemblyman Marcos Crespo who represents the fifth district in the Bronx and East Harlem is on the show. He shares his experiences with Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on joining Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the first relief flight to Puerto Rico two days after Hurricane Maria hit the island

Also appearing on the show is Edwin Melendez, Ph.D., Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning  and Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. Msgr. Sullivan and Prof. Melendez will be discussing the impact that Hurricane Maria has had Puerto Rico as well as the island’s economic struggles 

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This Week: The Glass is More Than Half Empty

 

This week the glass is more than half empty for me!

After the devastation caused last week by natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and by the student stabbings in the Bronx, I, like so many others, am deeply pained.

I spent a good part of this week working on how Catholic Charities of NY might be of support for the individuals and families suffering in Puerto Rico.  Some of my time was spent talking with elected officials and staff in Washington D.C., other time with nonprofit and business leaders. Both the sadness and resolve was intense. 
 
Particularly strong prayer and solidarity goes out to one of our NY Catholic Charities affiliates, the NY Foundling.  The destruction in Puerto Rico hits especially close to home for this agency that serves nearly 1,500 children through Head Start and Early Head Start programs at 42 locations throughout the island. I have spoken with them and heard the sadness, hurt and concern for “our families” and also the immediate response and action they are taking. We are committed to figuring out the best way to lend our support.  Fortunately, we have a well-established relationship with Catholic Charities – (Caritas) of Puerto Rico.  While suffering themselves, they are there on the ground and positioned to help. We have talked with them and are arranging help and support through a number of partnerships.

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Recovering from the Storm and Persevering

On this week’s JustLove Monsignor Kevin Sullivan will be speaking with  Jesse Thompson about the Trump Administration’s decision on DACA  and what it means for Dreamers in the weeks and months to come.

 Jesse Thompson, Esq. is a Staff Attorney  in the  Immigration Legal Services Department of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama Administration era policy that shields young unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as minors from deportation. The show will focus on what those young people – referred to as Dreamers – can do now that the President has announced the end of the DACA policy, and what Catholic Charities is doing to assist them.

For more information on the topics covered, please visit CatholicCharitiesNy.org/SupportingImmigrants

Also on the show is Jennifer Carr Allmon, Executive Director of Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.  Jennifer oversees the day-to –day work of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, including providing technical and training assistance to Dioceses in review and preparation for the Legislative session. She joins Msgr. Sullivan on JustLove to talk about the impact that Hurricane Harvey has had on the city of Houston and the surrounding communities, and what they are doing to assist in that recovery.

For more information on Hurricane Harvey please visit Catholic Charities website

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Economic Inequality and Some of Its Causes

Alex Armlovichm & Shekar Narasimhan

On this week’s episode of Just Love Monsignor Sullivan cover’s issues surrounding economic inequality with two guests. 

Joining the show is Shekar Narasimhan Managing Partner of Beekman Advisors – a Virginia based strategic advisory service firm concentrating in the areas of real estate development, mortgage finance and affordable housing. Msgr. and Shekar will be talking about income inequality and particularly how the cost of housing – and especially rental housing – is one of the keys to addressing the needs of those on the lower end of the income scale.

Also on the show is Alex Armlovichm, a Fellow at the  Manhattan Institute where he concentrates on writing about urban issues such as housing policy, transportation and infrastructure. Msgr. Sullivan and Alex will also be examining income inequality on the local level here in New York City, and whether or not Mayor de Blasio’s stated intention to address the “Tale of Two Cities” he spoke of at his inauguration in December of 2014 have decreased income inequality in substantive ways during his time as Mayor.

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Using Technology to Fulfill Our Civic Duties & Counter Gun Violence

Kathryn Peters & Amber Goodwin

On this week’s JustLove, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan speaks with two guests focused on civic duties and countering gun violence in the U.S.

Kathryn Peters, Co-Founder of Democracy Works will be talking about the work and mission of her organization. Democracy Works is a Brooklyn based non-partisan non-profit organization founded in 2010 with the goal of “making voting fit the way we live.” The nonprofit aims to make voting a simple, seamless experience for all Americans so that no eligible voter misses an election. Its team of software developers, public policy wonks and civic organizers design tools meant to upgrade the tech infrastructure of our democracy, thus improving the voting experience for voters and election officials alike.

Amber Goodwin, Founding Director of Community Justice Reform Coalition is also on the show. Community Justice Reform Coalition is a Washington D.C based national advocacy coalition which promotes and invests in evidence based programs to prevent gun-violence and uplift criminal justice reforms in urban communities of color. Msgr. Sullivan and Amber will be discussing these efforts of her coalition, and particularly the work of Operation L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K. (“Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing”) a community-based organization where Amber currently sits on its board. L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K. uses peer-to-peer education and leadership development to inform women and girls of the dangers of gun violence and weapons trafficking.

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JustLove’s Show on Father’s Day

 

Lance Somerfeld  & Laura Tropp

On this week’s JustLove episode, Monsignor Sullivan focuses on Father’s Day with two guests on the phone:

Lance Somerfeld Co-Founder of  City Dad’s Group – a nation-wide network for fathers that use Meetup.com to bring together a diverse community of gatherings. These Meetups provide social interaction and support, including play dates, outings, “Dad’s nights out”, educational workshops and special events. Msgr. and Lance will talk about the founding of the first City Dad’s Group, called NYC Dad’s in 2008 and how this concept grew from a small gathering of just a few fathers to its current 9,000 participants in 28 metropolitan areas

Also on the show is, Laura Tropp, PhD Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Marymount Manhattan College and the co-editor of the recent book:  “Deconstructing Dads: Changing Images of Fathers in Popular Culture.” Msgr. Sullivan and Laura will be discussing the depiction of fathers – and grandfathers – in the popular media, and how these depictions have changed over the years 

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The Future of Work

John Boudreau & Marc Bain

John Boudreau & Marc Bain

On this week’s episode of JustLove, Monsignor Sullivan focuses on ” The Future of Work” with Dr. John Bourdreau, Professor of of Management and Organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and  USC’s Center for Effective Organization; and Marc Bain  fashion industry journalist for Quartz,  the digitally native news outlet owned by Atlantic Media Company

Msgr. Sullivan and Dr. Boudreau  will be talking about changes that have taken place in the workplace over recent years, and particularly the increase in the number of people employed in the “Gig” economy like Uber. They examine whether such employment opportunities are essentially exploitative or empowering for workers.

Marc and  Msgr. Sullivan will be speaking about how working conditions in the developing world are monitored, and whether there is too much emphasis on corporate transparency and not enough emphasis on outcomes like worker’s rights, work conditions and wages. Marc has done considerable reporting on the garment industry’s supply chain and labor issues in both Bangladesh and China