OLM has since its foundation as a parish always taken seriously its responsibility of Christian charity. As a matter of fact, for many years we sponsored the annual “St. Patrick’s Charity Ball” and disbursed the monies raised to many worthy local charities.
Ever since the wave of immigration came to Spain, we had to face a new challenge: We began to focus on the increasing number of needy people in the midst of our own community. We have a significant portion of our own parishioners who are living in very difficult situations. Some have very precarious housing situations. Others don’t have legal residence. They often lack basic needs such as food, clothing, and transportation.
Therefore, we at OLM have made a commitment to:
1) Monthly non-perishable food collection.
Every second Sunday of the month and all Sundays in Lent we accept donations of food for the needier of our parish. As the gifts are prepared, people carry up to the altar their gifts of food. Later on, when all have departed, the food is distributed amongst the neediest of our own parish privately.
2) The Giving Tree Project.
Every year we place a small Christmas tree up on the altar with special ornaments. These ornaments have the name of a needy child or a needy member of our own parish. We continue to work with the Nazaret Association (San Blas). This group is dedicated to improving the lives of children who suffer because of family financial and/or addiction difficulties. Our parish purchases them a Christmas/Three Kings gift in order to bring a little more joy into their holidays.
Each year the number of named ornaments grows, we are up to around 200 now.
3) The Language Program.
Every Sunday we offer Spanish classes for our immigrant parishioners. We believe the provision of language skills is a crucial step in helping new arrivals to Spain to adjust and become stable . The program is under the direction of Pablo, an OLM parishioner. Any expenses that the program has are covered by OLM. We have many volunteers from our sister parish of San Dámaso.
4) The Good Neighbour Fund.
Parishioners sometimes wish that 100% of their donations go directly to the neediest causes. We have created a special account in a local bank in which 100% of the funds will be used to help immigrants who are in dire straits in Spain. The monies are used to purchase bus passes, emergency food, and other basic necessities. If you wish to make a contribution to this account, you may do so by bank transfer. Please click here for the bank details: Good Neighbour Fund.