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  April 9, 2007 • VOL. 45, NO. 7 • Oakland, CA

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Many left hungry at ecumenical banquet

What you can do to help end hunger

San Ramon parish campaigns against
global poverty one Easter egg at a time

Loaves and Fishes celebrates 25 years and 3 million meals to county’s hungry

New medical van serves Tri-City’s homeless

CRS is key builder
of homes in Aceh

First phase of sainthood cause
of Pope John Paul II concludes

Scholar: Don’t judge Islam by actions
of terrorists or Christians by Crusades

Irish, British church officials praise
power-sharing accord in Northern Ireland

CCC president says Church’s voice
is necessary in state’s public policy

Catholic Lobby Day set for April 24

New DVD highlights Catholic faith of top baseball stars

Vatican releases complete catalog of DVDs on John Paul II, papal transition

OBITUARIES
Sister Dolores Cazares, SNJM

Father Paul Emmet Duggan

Sister Maura O’Connor, SNJM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many left hungry at ecumenical banquet

David Hudson of Corpus Christi Parish in Piedmont eats a full meal while Josefina McKay, also of Corpus Christi, looks on after finishing her bowl of rice during an ecumenical evening of prayer and reflection on world hunger.
Greg Tarczynski photo
 


Millennium Development Goals

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
For further information see: www.un.org/millenniumgoals

Three entrees. Two faiths. One People. That is what a blend of Catholic and Episcopal youth brought to the table on March 29 in a hands-on lesson about hunger.

The “One People” presentation was part of a five-week Lenten series coordinated by Piedmont’s Corpus Christi Parish and Oakland’s St. John’s Episcopal Church, focusing on the United Nation’s eight Millennium Development Goals. The students chose to focus on the first goal—“to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” by 2015.

The 90 or so visitors, expecting a speaker and supper in St. John’s hall, were surprised when youth, stationed at the dining tables, asked them to turn over their paper cups. There, the mix of Corpus Christi and St. John’s diners found red, green or yellow stickers.

“Reds” were told to line up near the bathrooms, where they received only water and a small scoop of rice, with no refills.

“Greens” were sent to a closer line, where they were given rice and beans, with water and refills.

Those with yellow stickers were served at the table with huge portions of lasagna, two brownies, salad and water; they were allowed seconds.

Rita Mitchell, a Corpus Christi parishioner and organizer of “One People,”
explained that “reds” represented “the 55 percent of people in the world who are very, very lucky to have a bowl of rice.”

The “greens” represented the 30 percent who have sufficient food, but have to rely on food stamps, “dumpster dipping” or other methods to get it.

The “yellows” represented the 15 percent who have “abundant food of their choosing,” Mitchell said.

St. John’s parishioner Judith Flemming, the sole “yellow” at her table, wanted to share her brick of lasagna with the four “reds” and four “greens” sitting around her, but Alex Slatoff said no.

The Piedmont High School sophomore and St. John’s youth member who was seated with group said, “They should get the true meaning.”

Leftovers were thrown away.

Reading from discussion questions, Slatoff asked her group, “Was the meal fair or unfair?” Two “reds” from St. John’s spoke up. “Unfair,” said Mary Lou DeLauer. Laurie Bennett said, “It was a surprise. You’re not prepared for it.”

Slatoff asked whether anyone had ever missed a meal, other than by choice. Everyone said no.

After dinner, St. John’s rector, the Rev. Scott Denman, welcomed the interfaith crowd, which booed when he sheepishly admitted he had been served lasagna. The group then joined voices in a hymn familiar to both Catholics and Episcopalians, “One Bread, One Body.”

The evening’s speaker, J.C. Orton, talked about another dimension of hunger among the poor, the “hunger for dignity.” He stressed the need to smile and make eye contact—to recognize that the “spark of divinity is within them all, regardless of their exterior appearance.” Orton feeds hundreds of poor and homeless daily through two Catholic Worker houses in Berkeley: Night on the Streets and Dorothy Day House.

In response to “One People’s” message, the youth asked participants to fill out personal commitment cards inspired by the hunger theme, such as eating no more than a small bowl of rice on Good Friday. Youth and adults from both congregations filled a large basket with their confidential pledges, which Denman and the Rev. Molly Darling of St. John’s offered up in prayer.

Corpus Christi parishioner Lillian Cadenasso felt the program put a local face on hunger. “We all know about (hunger) and we see it so much—granted we give money or food, and that’s great—but do we remember the people in our own back yard?” she said.

Cadenasso observed that the two churches share a community that hosts “all walks of life,” including those in need. “Many are just like we are. Many have just been dealt a different blow,” she said. That need creates opportunities for parishioners, she said. “There are so many places to help.”

St. John’s and Corpus Christi reunited this year after their successful ecumenical series in 2006, which examined the stances of their two faiths. The parishes chose the MDG theme because Catholics and Episcopalians worldwide have embraced the goals, Denman said.

The MDG, adopted by nearly 190 U.N. members in 2000, are eight goals to reduce poverty, disease and deprivation. Leaders believe they can be achieved by 2015 if certain monetary guidelines are followed.

The Catholic Church is responding through such efforts as the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty, with which the Diocese of Oakland has collaborated to provide information and resources.

Corpus Christi’s pastor, Father Leo Edgerly, Jr., said achieving the goals is “perfectly realistic.” He said, “The solution is to work together … Imagine the impact if we do.”

The 2007 Lenten series began March 1; One Faith highlighted interfaith cooperation; One Earth focused on sharing the planet; One Mind centered on empowering women; and One Body focused on HIV/AIDS.

Each of the churches hosted different programs, and audiences averaged 100 people, Denman said.

Corpus Christi and St. John’s plan to team up for another series next year, Denman said.

 

 


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