Monday, July 26, 2021

Catholic Virginian Article about The First Refugees St. Elizabeth Catholic Church Sponsored - March 1981 ~ Article provided by Berhane Desta

(Click to enlarge)

St. Elizabeth's, Richmond

 Small Parish Aids Ethiopian Refugees

by Steve Neill

Of the Catholic Virginian

Admitting they were at first leery about serving as refugee sponsors because of the time and money involved, parishioners of St. Elizabeth's of Richmond have found their efforts to be a community-building experience.

The small parish, whose church is in a predominantly black neighborhood, helped Berhane and Anna Desta and their two-month-old daughter, Susie, get settled in an apartment and found a job for Berhane three days after he arrived in Richmond. The Destas are refugees from Ethiopia.

St. Elizabeth's first considered being a refugee sponsor last fall when Mrs. Loretta O'Donnell, of the diocesan Office of Refugee Resettlement, talked to the parish's social ministry committee.  The committee felt it wanted to sponsor a refugee family, but wanted the whole parish involved.

"We knew there's no way we could do this unless we raised about $500, because we knew we were a poor parish and it wouldn't be fair to use parish funds, even though we would later be reimbursed," Mary Ann Allen, who chairs the social ministry committee, said.  She pointed out that a deposit had to be made on an apartment and food must be purchased for the incoming family before it arrives.  This money is later reimbursed up to $300 per person when receipts for expenses are submitted to the diocesan office.

After a committee was formed to help raise money toward helping a refugee family, St. Elizabeth's received a grant of $250 from St. Edward's parish, Bon Air, with which it has a covenant.  The parish school also became involved and raised $100.  That and money raised through a parish fasting meal brought St. Elizabeth's close enough to $500 that the parish felt it could agree to take on a refugee family, but still it told the resettlement office it could not do so before April 1.

"We distributed a questionnaire on Sundays saying: 'Here's what we need.  Please check what you are able to help with,'" Mrs. Allen said.  Paper products, cleaning supplies, linens and food all were contributed in separate Sunday collections by parishioners.

"Furniture and clothing also came from our people," Mrs. Allen said.  "They found it."

What she called an emergency situation arose in late March and St. Elizabeth's was asked to accept their refugees earlier than anticipated.  "We had to ask ourselves were we ready to take on an emergency case?"  Mrs. Allen said.  Two men from the parish, Chris Malone and Jasper Wilson, quickly found an apartment not far from the church.

The Destas arrived on a Friday night and about eight people from St. Elizabeth's were at the airport to greet them.  An interpreter was not necessary since Berhane spoke English.  "They couldn't believe the reception they got from us," Mrs. Allen said.

An interview with the Resettlement Office's job developer was arranged for Monday and Berhane was sent on a job interview Tuesday.  "The next day he started working," Mrs. Allen said.

"We see ourselves as the church helping them only as long as it's necessary," Mrs. Allen said.  "The Destas want to be independent and we're both working toward that.

"There are a lot of things involved in being a sponsor," she continued.  "We were very leery about it at first.  But people in the parish have been great.  They've really reached out to them and invited them to their homes."

 ~ Photo and article from The Catholic Virginian


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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Fr. Jim's Jots - Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Good Shepherd Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 18, 2021

Fr. Jim's Jots


I am thankful to Msgr. Tom Miller for being the Celebrant this weekend at our parish Masses.  I am away for the Mission Co-op.  This is an annual appeal where a small parish goes and visits a larger parish and has a special second collection.  This year I will be at Prince of Peace parish in Chesapeake, VA.  Pray that I get a generous collection for our parish.

As you are aware, our Jazz Festival was canceled this year, but we are still having a fund raiser approved by the parish council.  It will be a 4-day fundraiser on 8/19 thru 8/22 to sell delicious Gourmet Popcorn!!!  More details to follow.  In the days to come, think of your favorite flavor of Popcorn.  It's delicious.

We need  you to plan on attending a weekday Mass on Wednesdays or Fridays at 12 noon.  We are praying for our troubled world and those who are sick, our common home, our environment and an end to racism.  Please join us for Mass at noon Wednesdays and Fridays.

Special thanks to all who help serve our Parish in so many ways.  We need everyone to get involved.

Summer Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Jim


Bulletin Announcements for July 18, 2021 ~ Compiled by Cecilia Hull

Bulletin Announcements

for July 18, 2021

 To check out this week's Bulletin Notices

Click HERE


Monday, July 12, 2021

Fr. Jim's Jots - Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 11, 2021

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 11, 2021


Fr. Jim's Jots

Summer...Lazy hazy days of summer.  I hope now that the 4th of July is over, folks can rest, relax and enjoy a few weeks of an enjoyable summer, read a good book, go to a beach or have a glass of iced tea.  It will go by quickly and before you know it, school will start, young people go back to college and Religious Education will be in full swing.  Much like the school calendar, our parish calendar reflects starting programs and events once school starts and we look forward to the Fall.

A few weeks ago, I met with Bliley's Funeral Home to make my final arrangements for my funeral.  I also met with the cemetery folks in my home town of Wyandotte, MI and made arrangements for my cremains to be at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, where I have three brothers buried: Patrick Joseph, John Albert and Michael James, all dying shortly after their births in 1952, 1953 and 1954.  With my parents' cremains in Naples, FL, at their parish of St. Peters and all the niche's taken, I am pleased to have my final wishes in order.

I hope we all live a long healthy life but please help your family members and loved ones know your wishes.  It's never too soon to make your plans.  If we can help in any way, please contact Saint Elizabeth, 804-329-4599 or myself.

Enjoy each day; it's God's gift to each of us.


Fr. Jim

**We are disappointed not to be hosting a Jazz Festival this year and sure hope for a great one next year, 2022.  However, we will be having a one-time limited fundraiser, an online popcorn sale.  This fundraiser has been approved by the parish council and I sure hope it is a success.  More details to follow.

~ Image Source

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Monday, July 05, 2021

Scripture Sharing Ministry ~ New Classes Beginning!


Scripture Class Starting

You are welcome to join the Scripture class in September 2021 to study 1 and 2 Corinthians and The Book of Psalms. 

New members will start with four sessions on Bible history happening Tuesdays, August 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Contact Rita Hatchett at or text 804-229-1999 by July 27, 2021.

~ Image Source


Fr. Jim's Jots - Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 4, 2021

 Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fr. Jim's Jots

God, source of all freedom,

this day is bright with the memory

of those who declared that life and liberty

are your gift to every human being.

Help us to continue the

good work begun long ago.

Make our vision clear and our will strong.

Only in human solidarity will we find liberty,

and justice in the honor that belongs

to every life on earth.

Turn our hearts toward the family of nations:

to understand the ways of others,

to offer friendship,

and to work for the common good of all.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Blessings and safe travels to all,

Fr. Jim and your Saint E. Family

We welcome Fr. Larry Mulroney, Sunday, July 4, 2021!  The Church office will be closed from July 1st to July 6th.

Image Source

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Friday, July 02, 2021

Summer 2021 Mass Schedule ~ Provided by Cecilia Hull



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Bogdanovic Baptism at St. E's - Sunday, June 20, 2021


On Sunday, June 20,2021, Albert Karl Bogdanovic was baptized at Saint Elizabeth.  Albert is the son of Stephan and Allison Bogdanovic and brother of Gabriel.  Others in the photo are extended family and godparents.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Introducing Saint Elizabeth's New Educational Ministry - Tusome Pamoja

Summer 2021
Tusome Pamoja is a special program spearheaded by Liz Wiznerowicz and Kenya Gray to serve our students in the Umoja community.  Students who had long interruptions in their formal education can received a personalized ESL curriculum from our Private Satellite School Program.  This summer, eight students will participate in our first TUSOME SUMMER program.  Four students will be able to become full-time students in the Fall!

We are grateful for Fr. Jim and Saint Elizabeth for providing  teaching space and seed money for our pilot program.  We are currently fundraising for our summer and fall programming.  We need volunteers and food donations, as well as, book and supply donations.  Please register to volunteer.  Pick one day or pick many!  We're so happy to have you!

Liz Wiznerowicz (right) is a veteran Catholic homeschooler, math tutor and religious educator. She has spent the last year learning Swahili.

Kenya Gray (left) is an ESL teacher for Henrico County and teaches at three different high schools.  She is a tireless advocate for newcomers and their families.



Fr. Jim's Jots - Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 27, 2021

 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 27, 2021

Fr. Jim's Jots

"A Gem" that is what the students, staff and faculty at All Saints Catholic School call Ken Soistman.  Ken is retiring after 51 years of teaching and administration in Catholic Schools.  Ken started his ministry in the Diocese of Orlando in 1970 and moved to Richmond and his working for the school that needed his loving touch in 1996.

All Saints School didn't close but grew and flourished with a steady increase in enrollment and a new building project and a sound financial balance sheet.  Ken is also beloved for being a servant leader often the one to mow the lawn, cook lunches, the endless fundraiser, tour guide showing off a school which he loves.  All students were welcomed and respected; every color, creed and background experienced his unconditional love and sense of humor.

We, at Saint Elizabeth have known Ken as a friend, a member who helps pitch in whenever needed, a jazz festival emergency back-up generator is a timely joke at a parish council meeting.  But mostly, we call Ken, our friend.  Bless you, Ken Soistman, may the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand and may the wind be at your back.  Our prayers are with you and your family and your All Saints family.


Fr. Jim and your Saint E. Family

* The Church office will be closed from July 1st to July 6th.

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July 2021 Birthdays at St. Elizabeth Church ~ Provided by EJCooley


Mary Ann Allen, Desire' Nahimana

Mary Baker, Roland Smith, J. Greg Holzgrefe

Elizabeth Bellavance, Cheryl Curbeam

Phil Brew, Amy Williford Brew

Kayden Bragg

Helen Heinrich, Carolyn Lawler

Peter Henry

Doyle Hull, T'Shell Jones

Woody Kaine

Vanessa Khadiga, Mateo Shishi

Calyssa Kremer, Dallas Ellerbe-White

Marie Masse

Treshawn McCall

Patrick Merone, Diane Neylan

Hudson Plageman

Colin Schooler, Ken Soistman

Lucy Thompson, Zach Barrett

David Tindall