Resource guide highlights extensive senior ministry
The archdiocese recently began distributing the “NOLA Catholic Senior Resource Guide,” which is an initiative you’re very excited about. What is the guide all about and how is it being distributed? This is an important project because it directly answers some of the most frequent questions we heard people in the archdiocese asking during our synod listening sessions. We kept getting questions such as: What are the ministries and resources the archdiocese offers for seniors? How can people easily get in contact with the people who can connect them to those services? We took those questions to heart. The result is this handy, 28-page brochure that provides information on the variety of ministries we have available for seniors. We’ve printed 30,000 booklets, and we’ve begun distributing them to the parishes and to our Christopher Homes senior residences. We are also including them in the boxes of food and commodities that we distribute through our Food for Seniors/Food for Families program. The information also is available on our archdiocesan website (www.nolacatholic.org).
What did you hear during the synod that prompted this?
We heard people telling us that either they weren’t aware of the large number of services and ministries we offer to seniors or, even if they were aware of the services, they were having trouble navigating to the correct program. We also knew that some of the people who serve in the ministerial offices of the archdiocese were not aware of some of these services, so that when people would call in asking for information, sometimes we weren’t as effective as we could be in answering those questions. This is all about connecting people with our services and ministries. This is important to our seniors and to families who are looking out for their adult parents. I think that as we enter our “golden” years, God calls us to be more reflective and to live a more contemplative life. I think that’s because God wants to give us the time to appreciate the blessings of our lives, to pray for others and to prepare ourselves for eternal life with the Lord.
What’s in the booklet?
There are 10 specific ministries outlined in the booklet: Catholic Charities’ Food for Seniors/Food for Families; Catholic Charities’ PACE program; the Catholic Foundation; Chateau de Notre Dame; Christopher Homes; New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries; Notre Dame Hospice; Second Harvest Food Bank; St. Anthony’s Gardens; Wynhoven Health Care; and Our Lady of Wisdom. Each listing has the address of the ministry, its contact information, including phone number, email and website, and a description of the services offered to seniors. I think anyone who reads the brief descriptions of each ministry will be amazed by the breadth of what we offer through God’s grace in our archdiocese. Even as archbishop, I’m amazed at all we do.
Are there some things in there that people may not be aware of?
A lot. Many may not realize if you meet federal income guidelines and are over 60 years old, you are eligible for monthly nutritional food boxes. Our PACE program is incredible because seniors on Medicaid who are certified as needing nursing home care and live in an assigned service area can go to the center one or more days a week for a comprehensive health care program. Even if the senior doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, he or she still could be eligible to participate in the program. People can call and find out the parameters of their specific situation. The Catholic Foundation can help individuals make plans for charitable gifts that will carry on the ministry of the church. Chateau de Notre Dame, Wynhoven and Notre Dame Hospice have an array of senior living options, from independent living, assisted living, nursing home care and hospice care. Christopher Homes is our amazing, affordable housing program for seniors that is now fully back to capacity since Katrina with completely renovated or brand new properties. Catholic Cemeteries offers planning for Catholic burials on sacred ground. Not many people know Second Harvest Food Bank serves the needy in 23 civil parishes in Louisiana – far beyond our archdiocese! St. Anthony’s Gardens is our new, state-of-the-art senior living community in Covington that opened in December to rave reviews.
That’s quite a lot.
It is, and we’ve been blessed by God to do this for our seniors. I encourage all seniors to remain as active as they can in their church parish and to pray for the mission of our archdiocese, which is ultimately the mission of Jesus Christ.