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Caring for the less fortunate in the Square
Newly established Cathedral Square Ministries offers outreach to area’s most vulnerable
BY JOSEPH R. LAPLANTE, Rhode Island Catholic Correspondent

PROVIDENCE — When the Diocese of Providence welcomed the weekly distribution of food and clothing to the needy in Cathedral Square on Friday night, August 30, its Office of Community Services and Catholic Charities saw an opportunity to open the church’s arms even wider.

In addition to a hot meal, a bag lunch and donated clothing provided by the organizations Breadlines, And You Fed Me, The Blackstone Valley Catholic Worker Inc., and others, those in need received a lifeline from the diocese through its Cathedral Square Ministries.

The new outreach effort offers confidential and free assistance for immigration matters, for pregnant women through Gabriel Project, for state and federal issues, SNAP help (food stamps), Medicare and Medicaid questions, as well as housing or emergency overnight shelter at diocese-owned Emmanuel House.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said he was moved to help the less fortunate who often gather in the square by witnessing their plight firsthand. The diocesan outreach that began last Friday night represents the first response in helping to meet that need.

“As I look out on Cathedral Square each day I am often concerned about the individuals we see there, some of whom are obviously in dire need of assistance,” the bishop said.

“The Gospel parable of the rich man who neglected the needs of Lazarus outside of his gates often comes to mind. For that reason, I asked our Catholic Charities and Social Ministry Office to find a way to minister to the individuals who are ‘outside of our gates.’ The Cathedral Square Ministries is the beginning of our response. I am most grateful to all who are assisting with this effort with their generosity and dedication.”

Stella Carrera, coordinator of Immigration and Refugee Services for the diocese, mingled with approximately 150 people who sought food and clothing on Friday, handing out a leaflet in English and Spanish

Without a doubt