Grant will allow prison inmates to receive Compass subscriptions

By Sam Lucero | The Compass | July 17, 2014

$1,500 grant from St. Thomas More Parish memorial fund provides 70 subscriptions

GREEN BAY — Thanks to an Appleton parish’s memorial fund, 70 copies of The Compass are now being delivered to three area correctional facilities to support prison ministry.

The grant request was provided by St. Thomas More Parish’s Memorial Fund Grant Program, which was made possible by a gift from a longtime parishioner.

The Compass was one of 11 organizations to receive funding this year. The grant of $1,500 will cover 70 subscriptions for one year to Oshkosh Correctional Institution, Green Bay Correctional Institution and Redgranite Correctional Institution.

Parish grant program surpasses $200,000 milestone

APPLETON — The St. Thomas More Parish Memorial Fund Grant Program committee has passed one milestone and is well on its way to another after it announced a total of $30,000 in new grants to be shared by 11 outreach organizations from throughout the area and the world.
The program has distributed $229,250 in grants since 2008. It is expected that next year the program will pass the quarter-million dollar mark in funds provided.
The latest grant recipients, who received a total of $30,000 from the Appleton Catholic church’s program for the 2014-15 fiscal year, are:
—  The School Sisters of St. Francis to support an orphanage in Guatemala, $5,000.
— COTS to support the Young Adult program, $5,000.
— Mount Tabor Center, $3,000.
— Welcome Home NEW, Inc., $3,000.
— S FACE (Society for Faith and Children’s Education), $3,000.
— LEAVEN for general operating expenses, $2,500.
— Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley for operations, $2,000.
— Harbor House, $2,000.
— Our Lady of Hope Clinic, $2,000.
— The Compass, $1,500.
— Community Clothes Closet, $1,000.
“The Memorial Fund Grant Program is a gift that keeps on giving,” said Fr. Jim Lucas, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish. “It is very satisfying to know that we are helping others in our local and global community.”
Information and grant applications can be found on the parish website at www.stmcath.org or by contacting Barb Tremel, business administrator at St. Thomas More Parish.

In applying for the grant last February, Amy Kawula, advertising and marketing manager for The Compass, explained that the subscriptions would provide much-needed spiritual reading material to inmates at the correctional facilities.

“Many of the prisoners are Catholic or have a Catholic background,” wrote Kawula. “We, along with the Stewardship and Pastoral Services Department of the diocese, which oversees ministry to prisoners, agree that Catholic reading material is beneficial to our incarcerated brethren.”

Mary Sherman, assistant director of Stewardship and Pastoral Services, noted in the grant application that her department receives multiple requests from inmates each year for copies of The Compass. “Without additional funds, we have not been able to meet this need,” she wrote. “These funds would enable us to evangelize those who are incarcerated in prison by providing copies of The Compass to individual inmates who wish to receive a copy.”

Sherman also said that inmates’ spiritual needs are often underserved.

“Some inmates are new to the Catholic faith as we have an RCIA program in the prisons and others want to increase their knowledge of the faith,” she said. “Many desperately want to grow in their faith but few opportunities are available to them.

“The Compass would be a wonderful way of providing spiritual nourishment on a variety of topics on a regular basis in an easy-to-read and inviting format,” added Sherman. “Having a copy of The Compass would also be a visible reminder to each inmate who receives one that they are not forgotten and is an outward sign of the great news of God’s love, compassion, and mercy.”

Beginning with the July 4 edition, the grant will fund one year of subscriptions for inmates.

Deacons Pete Cheskie and Rick Hocking from Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Oshkosh lead weekly Scripture studies at Oshkosh Correctional Institution. In the past, they were able to provide 12 copies of The Compass to inmates. Now they have 50 copies to distribute.

“We have 40 to 50 guys there every week,” he said. “They really look forward to receiving it. A lot of them have been away from the church and this is one message that’s bringing them closer (to their faith). Having The Compass there with the articles that really touch them, it helps them be in touch with what’s going on. It’s a very strong message.”

Readers who are interested in helping to continue the Compass subscription initiative to inmates can contact Amy Kawula, (920) 272-8212; [email protected].

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