As the premier fundraising event for Catholic Charities, the annual ‘Come and See’ dinner provides a crucial means of support for the organization’s three homes for healing. Each autumn, the event raises much-needed financial support for the Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families, Lourdeshouse Maternity Home, and Evergreen House for women in recovery.
This year’s fundraiser is exponentially critical to meet not only the needs of the programs and the men, women and children who seek assistance, but in addressing additional challenges in light of the ongoing pandemic.
While this year’s Come and See fundraiser was not the usual in-person gathering, replete with its popular silent auction, raffles and dinner format, the need for financial support remains as essential as ever.
“This year’s event is even more important because, like many nonprofits, the pandemic has negatively affected our fundraising. We are behind where we normally are this time of year,” said Christopher Meehan, Development Director for Catholic Charities. “Thankfully, we were able to offer the Come and See event virtually. While it is not the ideal way, and while we miss having our supporters join us in person, the virtual broadcast did allow us to offer remarks from Bishop Gainer as well as our guest speaker, Dr. Monique Ruberu.”
“We are grateful that we were able to still have the Come and See event. We are even more grateful to those who support our work with their donations,” Meehan said. “Those interested can visit our website, www.cchbg.org, and make a contribution. All donations are welcome and very much appreciated.”
Homes for Healing
Catholic Charities’ three Homes for Healing are located at the St. Samuel Center in suburban Harrisburg. The programs serve residents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, free of charge, offering a safe and caring place of support as they work with staff to get their lives back on track.
The Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families provides 30-day emergency shelter, assistance in securing permanent housing, food, clothing and baby supplies, and referrals for employment, healthcare and child care. At the shelter, entire family units can stay together in private rooms as they work toward permanent housing.
Lourdeshouse provides maternity care and residential services to pregnant women and their babies. Services include childbirth education, parenting classes, transportation and aftercare.
Evergreen House provides a safe and secure environment for women recovering from addiction. The program helps them achieve long-term recovery, find stable housing and learn job skills.
“Financial support for the programs are even more critical this year due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Mark Totaro, CEO of Catholic Charities.
Because of safety protocols surrounding COVID, the residential facilities are only able to operate at 50 percent of their usual capacity, thus cutting the ability to generate revenue in half, Dr. Totaro said.
Dr. Monique Ruberu, the keynote speaker for the Come and See event, said the Homes for Healing “are the hands and feet of Jesus.”
“They are doing the work you might not be able to do yourself. They are housing women who have chosen life, they are counseling families, they are providing housing, food, clothing, love and support.”
A pro-life obstetrician/gynecologist trained in NaPro Technology and based in Philadelphia, Dr. Ruberu shared the story of her reversion during her video presentation.
“God stepped into my life in such a mighty way…and gave me a completely new opportunity to serve Him,” she said of her story.
Dr. Ruberu’s reversion story began when she came across the book Unplanned, by former Planned Parenthood clinic director and now renowned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson.
At that time in Dr. Ruberu’s life, her family was falling apart and her marriage was on the brink of divorce. Johnson’s book “planted a seed in my heart,” she said.
“When everything happened with my marriage, I knew I had to do something completely different. I knew I had to do something other than saying a Novena or going to Mass or offering something up,” Dr. Ruberu said.
She decided she would pray and witness to life outside of an abortion center.
“It felt very uncomfortable for me. I had never, ever desired to do that before. I had these images of hateful people standing outside of abortion centers, yelling at women, in my mind. It was only after reading Unplanned that I realized there was a different way people could do this, and be loving, kind and compassionate to the men and women going in and out of these centers,” she said.
That day, she met the son of the late John Stanton, the founder of the Philadelphia Pro-Life Union. She also met another pro-life advocate, who was overjoyed at encountering her, a pro-life OB/GYN.
But Dr. Ruberu was conflicted. Though she considered herself to be pro-life, she was also writing prescriptions for contraceptives.
“I called myself a pro-life OB/GYN, simply because I was standing outside an abortion center and asking women not to end the lives of their children. But I truly did not understand what it meant to be a pro-life OB/GYN,” Dr. Ruberu said in her presentation. “It means that you do not disrespect life at any phase, from conception all the way to natural death, and that you recognize that contraceptive pills can very well be abortifacients, and that IUDs and the Plan B pill are abortifacients.”
Eventually, she began to look into NaPro (Natural Procreatative) Technology, a health science that works with a woman’s reproductive system.
NaPro Technology treats an array of reproductive issues in a way that is compatible with Church teaching. It embraces fertility without suppressing it.
Dr. Ruberu now practices NaPro Technology, and will soon assume a role as a board member for the National 40 Days for Life organization.
“When I look back now, it’s so evident what God’s plan was for me,” Dr. Ruberu said. “I never would have ever thought that I wanted to be a solo gynecologist. I always wanted to work in labor and delivery. One of the changes I had to make was to give up my prenatal patients, so I could no longer take care of patients in delivering their babies. That was hard for me, but now I see God’s plan in it. If I had continued to do prenatal work, I wouldn’t have had time to do all the things He wanted me to do.”
“None of this would have been possible without finally deciding to align every aspect of my life with God,” she said. “That is the most important thing we can do. Our first priority has to be God. With Him, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”
(Learn more about Catholic Charities’ programs and how you can support them at www.cchbg.org.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness