By ERIN ROLL
A refugee assistance project involving a Montclair parish is moving ahead.
St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish — which includes Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Mount Carmel churches — has embarked on a project, through Catholic Charities, to assist refugee families arriving in the United States.
Catherine Mulroe, one of the project coordinators, said the parish may be getting ready to welcome its first family.
Mulroe said a family was expected to be arriving within the next few months, and that the committee was in the process of securing an apartment for them. She said an area landlord had agreed to waive some of the fees. “As of now, we still don’t know when our family will arrive but we have been told that [Catholic Charities] will be receiving a total of seven families in the future so we want to be as prepared as possible.”
At the two churches, committee members have been making announcements about the refugee project during Mass for two weeks.
The parish held its first volunteer recruitment meeting at Immaculate Conception in March. Another meeting was held at the church on June 4 to set up volunteer subcommittees; Mulroe reported that about 40 people attended, ranging from school-age children to adults.
According to the parish website, the subcommittees include fundraising, translation, helping find an apartment and getting it outfitted, and helping the family with public assistance, registering for school and finding employment.
Nancy Burke, who helps oversee the fundraising activities for the project, said that as of Friday the parish’s GoFundMe page had brought in $3,830. She also said that individual donations, in the form of checks and collections at the Mother’s Day Masses at both churches, had put the total amount of donations in the $5,000 range. “We are grateful to some very generous donors in town to have asked to remain anonymous. We are also grateful to our smaller donors — there are quite a lot of them and it all adds up.”