Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


AACCW Raising Book Funds For Texas School

Published July 6, 2006

The Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women is supporting a commitment by the National Council of Catholic Women to purchase new math textbooks for Our Mother of Mercy School in Beaumont, Texas, which was devastated by Hurricane Rita last year.

The small parochial school suffered severe roof and water damage from the hurricane; the building was covered by insurance, but the books were not.

Our Mother of Mercy School is a predominantly African-American school serving pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Priests of the Josephite order staff the parish. The school was established in 1927.

Bishop Curtis Guillory of Beaumont, in a letter to the National Council of Catholic Women, said, “The majority of students come from economically disadvantaged homes; almost half live below the government’s low-income level. Many of these families live from paycheck to paycheck. Some of the parents were already doing without necessities themselves in order to provide a Catholic education for their youngsters when Hurricane Rita interrupted their lives and incomes.”

The Beaumont Diocese is operating at a deficit and the unemployment figure for Beaumont/Port Arthur is the highest in the state since Hurricane Rita.

After deciding to help a hurricane-impacted area, the NCCW was directed toward Our Mother of Mercy School by Catholic Charities USA. At its January meeting the NCCW board voted to make the school a special two-year project. At Bishop Guillory’s request, they have committed to raise nearly $6,000 to purchase math textbooks for students in grades one through five.

In February Ellen Bachman, NCCW president, and other officers visited the school and delivered a first-installment check for $1,020.

“We went expecting to see the hurricane damage,” Bachman said. “We also found fantastic kids, a principal with a vision and hope for the future, dedicated teachers, and parents struggling financially but committed to Catholic education. I am confident that our councils and individual members will generously support this project.”

The Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women is in the process of getting the word out to all parishes to help with the project. Each parish guild is asked to make this one of its charities.

“The Beaumont project of NCCW is an opportunity for us to not forget those who have been affected by such natural disasters and have gone unnoticed. What a wonderful way to witness to the Gospel message of love,” said Father James Stembler, moderator of the Province of Galveston-Houston, Texas.

More information is available through Mayfern Barron at (404) 243-0869 or Jane Brown at (770) 948-4849 or Donations may be sent directly to the National Council of Catholic Women, 200 N. Glebe Road, Suite 703, Arlington, VA 22203 and designated for the Beaumont School Project.