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Immigrant and Refugee Ministry in South St. Louis

 Sister Kris Schrader, ASC

By Sr. Kris Schrader, ASC

Since returning to the U.S. I have had the desire to be connected to any refugee and immigrant ministry in the St. Louis area. And I feel blessed to have connected with a group here in South St. Louis. This is actually an effort of six parishes who launched a collaborative effort in August of last year. The ministry pulls on the strength of all six parishes, connecting volunteers with immigrants and refugees in the community to assist them as they settle in their new homes. There is also a focus on education and advocacy opportunities related to local, state, and national policies. (The work is done without regard to parish boundaries, religious preference, ethnic or national background.)

Kevin Kuehl, hired last August as ministry coordinator, and volunteers make regular home visits with immigrants and refugees, often bringing food and personal care items. They also help them with other resources, such as utility assistance, health and legal care, or even English classes.

Recently, Sr. Ann Fearday and I were able to work with the St. Louis law school students and Catholic Charities to translate for those filling out their asylum paperwork.

The ministry has its one-person office at Pius V Parish, and we just began what is going to be a monthly activity of hosting a gathering that includes a meal, prayer sharing, games, and other activities. Pius V is one of the few St. Louis parishes that is committed to healthy environmental practices, not using paper or plastic plates and utensils. We put out a call for a donation of plates and dinnerware and somehow it got all the way to the Wichita Center and several boxes came our way! (Thanks Therese W. and Fran S.)

Included in this gold mine were several, beautiful Newman volleyball jerseys which will be going with me to Guatemala when I do our next teacher in service! How true it is…. where one ASC sister ministers, all ASCs are present!!

The families don’t want to be photographed since some are without documents, so I’m including this picture of what will be cause for the Guatemalan students to jump with joy.

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