Faith in Action is Love, Love in Action is Service.

CCFMM Thanks First Responders

 

They go to work everyday not knowing if their own health or welfare may be in jeopardy.  Some walk into ERs and Urgent Cares, knowing they will see and treat Coronavirus patients and have to make tough decisions. Some care for seniors in nursing homes, but don’t always have the proper protective garb. Some are First Responders who go where duty calls in the community, never knowing what they might walk into. Some trust in God and step into hospital Covid-19 rooms, thinking only of ministering to the spiritual needs of sick patients who are allowed no visitors.

During this pandemic, the Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan (CCFMM) saw the need to recognize, thank, and pray for those on the front lines in our diocese. As a small gesture of appreciation, CCFMM ordered locally arranged fruit/treat baskets to present to First Responders throughout all 11 counties of the Saginaw Catholic Diocese. Two volunteer members of the CCFMM Marketing committee, Joan and Mary Beth, and their husbands had the honor and privilege of driving throughout Mid-Michigan delivering the beautiful (and heavy!) baskets.

At nursing homes from Bad Axe in the Thumb to Clare in the north and Mount Pleasant in the west, healthcare workers were delighted to step outside and find generous baskets of fruit and treats on their doorsteps.

In Saginaw, Fr. Andy Laframboise, who, along with Fr. Adam Mahar ministers to Coronavirus patients at Covenant Hospital, was surprised and pleased to find a basket at their rectory door that was heavy with fruit and a large variety of snacks to enjoy during quarantine. Brushing off thanks for all he and Fr. Adam do, Fr. Andy was more interested in thanking CCFMM and asking for prayers.

At a police station in Saginaw, a uniformed officer received the basket for himself and fellow First Responders with a smile and a sincere thank you.

For the CCFMM Marketing Committee members who delivered baskets, it was sheer joy seeing the smiles and delight of the dedicated First Responders throughout our diocese. Mandy Palmer, at the Tuscola County Medical Care Community in Caro, sent this thank you:

“Please send our appreciation and thank you to the Catholic Community Foundation. We greatly appreciated the beautiful fruit basket .”

The first thank-you baskets were delivered on May 13, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. Accordingly, we ask our Blessed Mother Mary to provide her loving protection for all those who selflessly care for our beloved senior citizens in nursing homes; who care for Covid-19 patients in our hospitals; who help and protect citizens within our communities; and who minister to the spiritual needs of Coronavirus patients in our hospitals.

According to CCFMM Executive Director, Kristin Smith:

“Caring for others and building our community is living the Life of the Gospel message of love. At this time of global pandemic, the Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan is happy we could reach out with thanks and prayers to First Responders within all 11 counties of the Saginaw Diocese.”

 

 

 

 

 

Long-Distance Learning in

the Saginaw Diocese’s

Catholic Schools

 

There is plenty of innovation and creative learning going on even though Catholic School students in the Saginaw Diocese are home-bound because of the Coronavirus. There are virtual band practices, science experiments using simple ingredients found at home, virtual fundraisers and even virtual Spirit Week events. Teachers are using a variety of online platforms to deliver daily lessons including Zoom, Google Classrooms, online chats, videos and audio programs.

 

“Our goal is to allow students to complete state and national standards, maintain a sense of normalcy and have students connect with their classmates,” said Laura Wilkowski, principal at St. Brigid Catholic School in Midland.”

 

Daniel Decuf, principal at Nouvel Catholic Central High School, said he is impressed by how quickly teachers and students adapted to virtual learning. “With less than 24-hours to prepare and with high levels of uncertainty, our team has remained calm and focused on what could be done to best help our students,” he said.

“It has been our goal to continue the Catholic community atmosphere, even in a distant setting,” Decuf added.

Parents, who have always had a significant impact on their children’s Catholic education, have new responsibilities as schools remain closed until the end of the school year.

“Our parents remain very involved and committed to their student’s success,” Decuf said. “We have been working with parents to ensure that their students have the resources and support they need to succeed in this new environment.”

Jodi McFarland Friedman, a mother of four who has two children attending St. Brigid School, said home schooling has been an adventure, and not a bad one. She considers herself “support staff” in working with her fifth-grade son. “His teacher is still carrying the water,” Friedman said. That includes detailed lessons, replies to emails throughout the day and the organization of keeping fifth graders on task. “Teachers are keeping a cool demeanor.  They are not showing how much they are sweating to make this look easy,” Friedman said.

Ava Friedman, eighth-grade daughter of Jodi and Eric Friedman, also complimented her teachers. She said they’ve planned what will be the most effective method of teaching, doing self-paced work. “My favorite is definitely math because it’s more interactive. We do practice problems on share screen in Zoom, raise your hand online. It’s more fun. It keeps me entertained.” Although she misses her classmates, sports and school celebrations she feels connected.

“I feel like the teachers really care about me. They’re really sweet with saying if anybody just needs to talk, set up an email or Zoom call.  They know this time feels incredibly isolating.”

Meanwhile, parents who are struggling with the electronic delivery also are being supported.  Wilkowski said she and her staff have helped families understand the electronic learning process, helped families get connected to the internet and more. “We check in as a staff because we care,” Wilkowski said.

Sister Philomena, Interim school building leader at Our Lady of Lake Huron School, said their staff also had to consider that some parents still work, some do not have technology in their home or are not available to assist their children. “We had to develop a plan that could help our students but not leave any of them behind,” she said. There is a one-day-each-week pick up and drop off of assignments at the school. “Good communication is a key factor.”

Besides continuing the high standards and academic rigor that distinguish a Catholic education, the schools have provided multiple opportunities for students to stay connected to their faith. “It is important for the students to turn to faith during times of anxiety and trouble,” Wilkowski said, explaining that emails and the parish website provide prayers and reflections.

Sister Mary Philomena said religious instruction now involves the whole family and goes beyond praying together. She said there are family discussions and opportunities to reach out to others during the pandemic. The school leaders also turned to their faith as they met the challenges of delivering instruction in a self-isolating environment.

“We knew that with the grace of God this could be done,” Sister Mary Philomena said.

Who We Are

 

The Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and manage funds to secure and further God’s work in our communities.

Learn more about our mission and vision.

 

We have a variety of endowed funds to support Catholic schools and students, the poor and those in need, ministry, and other donor advised charities.

Learn more about our funds.

Our Catholic Schools:

St. Brigid of Kildare Catholic School

 

During the month of March members of the CCFMM Marketing Committee spoke with Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic School principal, Laura Wilkowski , to discuss the exciting things happening at their schools and the impact CCFMM funds have made.

 

Click here to learn about these schools and how they are using their funds to help their students help others.

Thank You to our Sponsors!

Thanks for making a difference in our communities today and tomorrow through the Catholic Community Foundation.

Learn More About Sponsorship