The theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God (CCC 1822).

At 75 years of age, Fr. Bob Gettinger and his Christmas drive show no signs of slowing down

December 4, 2013
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Volunteer event this Saturday likely to draw roughly 100
to prep for Christmas Sharing event in a couple of weeks

He’s affectionately called Fr. Bob and there is no doubt he is like a father to thousands of St. Louisans. Msgr. Robert “Bob” Gettinger has been on a mission to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and minister to the marginalized in St. Louis for more than 40 years. In a typical year, the monsignor provides assistance totaling more than $375,000 to help pay rent, water, sewer, funeral, electric or gas bills. To support these efforts, he raises money twice a year with Christmas being the most significant drive. Again this year, he’s asking the public “to stretch their giving capabilities of time, talent, and treasure.”

“Before any checks are written or any work gets done, everyone gets prayed up,” said Msgr. Gettinger, who is the pastor of St. Augustine Catholic Church in North St. Louis. “Thank you. Thank you, Jesus,” he adds after the prayer. “The Lord is good, isn’t He?”

Separate from the year-long assistance his Christmas drive helps provide, Msgr. Gettinger also  helps make Christmas extra-special for those in need. A couple of significant events are coming up in conjunction with the Christmas ministry that you may find interesting.

This weekend and next on  December 7th and 14th from 10 am until Noon, a team of about 100 parents and kids from St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville will arrive at the Covenant House gym (5017 Maffitt at and N. Kingshighway) with food, bikes, and other toys. They will volunteer their time for a couple of hours to get things ready for the big “Christmas Sharing” event to be held Monday-Wednesday, December 16-18, from 9am-10am at the same location. This is when families will pick up food, including a grocery gift card for meat, and a choice of toys and a bike. About 3500 families or about 14,500 people will be blessed with food, gifts, sharing, and prayer. With Fr. Bob present, it is difficult to say which will be more abundant--the gifts or the prayer!

“Each and every one is a beautiful man or woman of God,” said the monsignor. “Just be a friend to every person who walks in and tell them God wants that same friendship with them too.”

Media is invited to these events (preparation weekends as well as Christmas Sharing days). Please coordinate directly with Msgr. Gettinger. He can be reached at 314.805.3693 on his mobile or 314.385.1934 at the St. Augustine Catholic Church parish office. 

Surprise for Low Income Seniors who will be Spending Christmas Alone

December 17, 2010
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Local Florist Remembers His Own Grandmother As He Helps Others

WHAT: Florist Scott Hepper, voted the "Best St. Louis Floral Designer" by  St. Louis Magazine, AT HOME Magazine, and Ladue News, will deliver gifts to low income seniors at Dubourg House, part of Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, which is a Catholic Charities agency

WHEN: Monday, December 20, 2011 from 11am – noon

WHERE: DuBourg House, 5890 Eichelberger in South St. Louis

St. Louis, MO – For most Catholic families, Christmas is about celebrating Mass, getting together with each other, and exchanging gifts. Scott Hepper always remembered his grandmother at Christmas. She taught him everything he knows about gardening, and flowers, and life. She also taught him about the value of caring for those in need, especially the elderly.

During this time of year, Hepper is usually busy creating and delivering beautiful floral arrangements. This year, he will be delivering surprise gift packages for seniors at DuBourg House, in honor of his grandmother. The recipients of these gifts would otherwise be spending Christmas alone, and would most likely be receiving nothing. Gift baskets will include baked goodies, personal items and other presents. The residents at DuBourg House have no idea of this special visit.

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Local Families and Businesses Help Immigrants and Refugees for Christmas

December 14, 2010
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Catholic Charities Southside Coordinates Help for 160 Families 

WHAT: Hundreds of families and community members will drop off gifts for 160 families in need

WHEN: Tuesday, December 14, 2011. Media will be allowed from 4-6:30 pm

WHERE: Catholic Charities – Southside, 5880 Christy in South St. Louis

St. Louis, MO – This year, Courtney Berg, Director of Catholic Charities Southside, wasn’t sure it was going to happen.  For the past five years, families and local business would “adopt a family” through Catholic Charities Southside, providing immigrant and refugee families from across St. Louis with gifts for Christmas. The families in need were low-income, working families who were struggling with making ends meet, many new arrivals to St. Louis and to the country. This year, with the recession and the economy affecting everyone within the community, Berg was worried that those families who normally gave would no longer be able to participate. 

Berg’s worries are no longer. Monday and Tuesday, families, schools and local businesses, many of whom are struggling themselves, are dropping off hundreds of gifts, showing the sacrifice this community is known for making for one another. The gifts fill up several rooms at Catholic Charities Southside. Families will then pick up the gifts, which are already wrapped, and take them home.

Catholic Charities Community Services Southside Center supports and strengthens St. Louis Metropolitan Area children, families, and communities by providing social services, mental health counseling, and youth programming in a bilingual, culturally sensitive environment. While those we serve continue to diversify, we will strive to meet their needs by providing comprehensive, culturally competent services to the immigrant and refugee populations of the community.

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Students form Human Chain to Help the Poor

December 7, 2010
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WHAT: More than 150 students from St. Ann Catholic School in Normandy will form a human chain to deliver food they’ve collected to a nearby pantry

WHEN: Wednesday, December 8 at 2PM

WHERE: St. Ann Catholic School, 7532 Natural Bridge Road in Normandy

St. Ann – Every year, students at St. Ann Catholic School collect hundreds of canned goods for those who are in need. What makes this food drive different is way the children deliver those canned goods. More than 150 students form a line from their school,  St. Ann Catholic School, to the Caritas Center, a local  food pantry located down the block from the school. The students then pass the bags of canned food from one student to the other, until the bags arrive at the food pantry. Last year, the students collected approximately 700 pounds of food. This is the fourth year for the food drive.

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Give a Home for Christmas

Father Dempsey's Home has provided transitional housing since 1906.Wondering what to give a loved one who has everything this Christmas? Consider a donation in their name to Father Dempsey's Charities and help carry on a century-plus tradition of service to the homeless and working poor.

Since 1906, Father Dempsey's Charities has provided transitional housing and a safe place to give a fresh start to men without a home. "Our home was founded as a hotel for working men by Father Tim Dempsey, a charismatic and big-hearted priest who wanted to create 'a decent home for men who want to be decent,'" says Martie Aboussie, the agency's executive director.

"Today, our agency gives residents a place to live and help with daily nourishment, finding a job, obtaining needed medical treatment, and accessing government benefits available due to military service, age, or disability," he adds. 

More than 60 percent of the agency's current residents are U.S. veterans who find the home's location at 3427 Washington Avenue, east of Grand Boulevard, a convenient spot for accessing health-care services at the St. Louis Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center's John Cochran Division at 915 N. Grand Boulevard.

"We are deeply grateful to our friends and benefactors, whose generosity has provided a simple home and support services to others for 101 years," Aboussie notes.

To make a donation, call 314.531.1235, email or mail to Father Dempsey's Home, 3427 Washington Avenue, St. Louis MO 63103. To make a secure online donation to Father Dempsey's Charities, click here.

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