T&G Santa Catholic Charities of Southbridge Christmas gifts

SOUTHBRIDGE – T&G Santa’s gift of giving and promise of hope has brightened Christmas for local families in need since 1938.

Last year, the fund raised $93,335 toward the purchase of more than 15,780 toys, books and gifts. This year, with so many facing financial struggles under the yoke of COVID-19, the tradition continues with a greater goal of raising $100,000 to buy gifts for 7,000 local children.

Santa’s helpers are from all walks throughout the region.

From the charitable giving of the many Central Mass. businesses, foundations and organizations, to the private donors, who often give in the name of a deceased loved one.

But Santa’s sleigh doesn’t stop there.

Once the funds are secured and the newspaper sees to the purchase of toys and books, 13 local nonprofit organizations place the gifts in the hands of children whose circumstances call for a little elfin magic.

To donate to T&G Santa online go to www.telegram.com/santa.

This week, we shine a twinkling light on Catholic Charities Family and Children’s Services at 79 Elm St., where one toy given to a child at Christmas could open a path to a wealth of family support services.

“The toys are a blessing for Christmas and it’s often an introduction to our other services that people may need,” Marie Kudron said. “We want to show them that there is hope. And through the gift of toys, they see that when all the lights are taken down, we’re still here for them.”

T&G Santa card

As the Southbridge-based administrator covering southern Worcester County, Kudron identifies and dispatches to T&G Santa a list of children who would otherwise go without gifts on Christmas.

The newspaper, she said, delivered toys and books for 577 children receiving services at her locations last year. Based on the growing number of new clients this year, the call will be greater. 

“Our clients and their children have experienced so much disruption this year because of the difficulties brought by the pandemic,” Kudron said. “People who were marginally getting by are facing harder times and it’s our work to help alleviate the stress.”

Kudron informs the newspaper of the number and ages of the girls and boys on her list. In years past, when the T&G truck arrived, outside volunteers helped to sort the gifts into age groups. Parents were then invited to walk through and help with their children’s selections.

Pandemic restrictions have necessitated some changes this year, but the work will continue until every child on the list receives a gift.

“The T&G’s continued support is just immeasurable,” Kudron said. “The gift of toys at Christmas provides a sense of normalcy. It’s a blessing to know that we can consistency rely on the T&G Santa to help us pay it forward.” 

Catholic Charities cares for individuals in need, regardless of racial, ethnic, cultural or religious origins, ability to pay, or mental, physical or developmental challenges.  

It began in 1951 by the first bishop of Worcester, Bishop John Joseph Wright,

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BBC World Service – Heart and Soul, Catholic women and the US elections

Catholic women explain how faith influenced their vote in the US Presidential election.

As the campaign in the 2020 US Election went on it became clearer that America’s Catholic’s were crucial to the result.
Here are two candidates, the Democrat Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, who represents a social justice interpretation of the faith, and the Republican, Donald Trump, with who now describes himself as ‘a non-denominational Christian’ but who appeals to the socially conservative Catholic pro-life agenda. It’s a fascinating dynamic. The rival campaigns targeted Catholics with fervent appeals to vote based on faith, especially on the issue of abortion.

After a tense week, Joe Biden was called, and declared the next president of the United States, only the second Catholic to hold the presidency. As he steps up to lead, he faces the challenge of a divided America and it may take a lot more than just words to heal, and an awful lot of faith to fix the wounds inflicted by both sides.

Angela Davis, in Minnesota, brings together four Catholic women across the US, to discuss issues that affected their vote, such as right to abortion and racism. Did they vote on faith or policy?

In a divided America, what does the Catholic faith tell us about how democrats and republicans can now come together and heal?

Presented by: Angela Davis
Produced by: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham

Photo: A pile of I voted stickers, November 2020 / Credit: Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Source Article

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At a top hospital, Catholic restrictions on women’s healthcare are growing worse

Back in 2014, then-California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris imposed a strict condition on the affiliation between Hoag Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Health System, a Catholic hospital group: For the most part, Hoag was to be exempt from Catholic church restrictions on women’s healthcare services.



a group of people standing next to a sign: Demonstrators protest the decision to end abortion services at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach in 2013. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


© (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Demonstrators protest the decision to end abortion services at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach in 2013. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Doctors at Newport Beach-based Hoag say that condition has been flagrantly breached by Providence Health, the successor to St. Joseph — and the violations are proliferating.

Since 2015 and up to the present day, a managed health plan controlled by Providence has been refusing to pay for contraceptives prescribed by Hoag OB/GYNs for their patients.

We would like to be tops in women’s healthcare, but how can we be if there are certain things we will never be able to provide, based on our association with Providence?

Jeffrey Illeck, an OB/GYN at Hoag Memorial Hospital

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The health maintenance organization, Heritage Healthcare, has cited the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services as grounds for refusing payment, even though the 2014 agreement under which Harris approved the affiliation explicitly states that Hoag would not be bound by the so-called ERDs then or “in the future.”

Frustration among Hoag OB/GYNs has been rising.

Several members of Hoag’s professional staff filed a confidential complaint with Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office on Oct. 9.

The complaint asserts that “Providence has increasingly disallowed women’s health services when they involve any form of contraceptive care,” even when IUDs are prescribed for reasons other than birth control, such as heavy menstrual bleeding.

Providence also has refused to cover deliveries when they’re combined with sterilization procedures such as salpingectomies (the removal of one or both fallopian tubes), even though combining those procedures is the standard of care to avoid requiring a patient to undergo two rounds of anesthesia and recovery rather than one.

The complaint says that physicians’ staffs are spending many hours a day pursuing reimbursement claims for Heritage enrollees.

“We have seen IUD reimbursements, for example, pending for as long as two years, requiring multiple appeals and grievances on behalf of patients,” the complaint states. Billing staff “have never spent so much time trying to get reimbursements for IUDs. … In many cases, payment is never received.”

The Hoag doctors say that Providence established “an anonymous hotline for people to complain if they believed Hoag was committing so-called immoral procedures involving women’s reproductive health.” The hotline was connected to the Orange County bishop’s office, they say, adding: “We were never told of its existence.”

In sum, “Providence has established a history of broken trust in its relationship with us, with absolutely no end in sight,” says the complaint, which is not a public document but which I’ve reviewed.

Providence has refused to comment on any of these assertions.

Becerra has not responded to the complaint,

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The History and Lore of Catholic Jewelry

Catholic jewelry has a long and rich history. It has taken on many forms and many meanings over the millennia. From the hidden meanings of anchors and Ichthys, to the development of the crucifix in the 5th century A.D., Catholic jewelry has played a large part in the faith of millions.

Early Catholic jewelry:

While the cross has always been the most important Christian symbol, it was not openly used as such until the 4th century A.D. Early Christians feared persecution for their faith, and so developed several symbols that were not easily recognized as Catholic jewelry in order to recognize each other. The two most prevalent of these symbols were the anchor and the Ichthys. The Ichthys, two intersecting arcs resembling the profile of a fish, was probably used in Catholic jewelry as a reference to Christ as “the fisher of men”. The anchor, or mariners cross, was used in Catholic jewelry as a symbol of hope based in the faith in Christ. By using these forms of Catholic jewelry early Christians were able to avoid persecution.

The cross and the crucifix

It was not until the Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in the 4th century A.D. that the cross became openly and widely used in Catholic jewelry. More than fifty variants of the cross would later develop, but the four most important were: the Latin cross, a cross with a horizontal bar intersecting a longer vertical bar near the top; the Greek cross, a cross with equilateral arms; the Tau cross, a cross in the shape of the letter T; and the Saint Andrews cross, a cross shaped like the letter X. The crucifix, a Latin cross with the body of Christ (corpus) and the inscription INRI or “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” upon it, did not become prevalent in Catholic jewelry until the 5th century A.D. Whereas the Protestant churches use a Latin cross left blank to symbolize the Resurrection, the Catholic Church uses the crucifix to symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus.

Saint medallions:

The tradition of wearing Saint medallions is derived from the pagan practice of wearing talismans depicting their gods as a form of protection. The Catholic Church, instead of banning it, embraced this practice, substituting the pagan gods with Catholic saints. Saint medallions are now one of the most popular forms of catholic jewelry. They are worn as a way to invoke the protection of a patron saint. Patron Saints include: St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, ecology, and peace; St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland and excluded people; St. Helena, patron saint of archeologists and converts; St. John Bosco, patron saint of students and laborers. Here is a good page to view all styles of Catholic jewelry.

Where is the best place to purchase Catholic jewelry:

To get an idea of the different styles and prices that are available in Catholic jewelry it is more convenient to view them online before shopping around at local jewelry stores.

Retail …

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