Bishop seeks help for families struggling to pay heating bills

The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Rochester, is inviting all Catholic parishes in the 12-county Diocese to conduct a Second Collection to assist financially stressed families with heating bills.

“I am writing to ask your assistance for the poor and vulnerable of our Diocese. You are all aware of the physical and financial hardship brought on many of our families by the brutal cold we have been experiencing this winter. There has been a particular burden on those financially stressed families who simply cannot pay their heating bills,” Bishop Matano wrote in a February 4 letter to pastoral leaders. “Our seven regional Catholic Charities agencies continue to be able to provide direct financial assistance to many families, both through the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and for those who do not meet that program’s criteria, from your charitable dollars.”

But, the Bishop noted in his letter, rising need is outpacing the ability of the Catholic Charities agencies to help financially.

Jack Balinsky, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, noted that parishioners throughout the Diocese historically have responded with great generosity to assist people affected by hardship. “Catholics in our Diocese are always willing to lend a helping hand to their neighbors in need, whether they be thousands of miles away or right next door. This winter has been a hardship on everyone, but most especially the poor. I am grateful for any help people can provide through these parish collections.”

Those who wish to contribute should watch their parish bulletins for additional information, or may also contribute directly by sending a check to Diocese of Rochester, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624 with “Catholic Charities Heating Fund” in the notes/memo field.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, with more than 300,000 Catholics, has 97 parishes in the counties of Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, Yates, Tompkins, Schuyler, Tioga, Chemung and Steuben.