Catholic Charities:Donations are down

Catholic Charities reported this week that participation is down for its 2012 Community Comes Together for Christmas program with 100 families and seniors remaining unsponsored out of the 650 who signed up for the program.

“In past years, all of our families have been marked off our Christmas list by this time,” Executive Director David Aguillard said.

For almost 30 years, Catholic Charities has matched families and seniors with sponsors who can provide the simple gifts of Christmas. Most recipients are enrolled in the agency’s programs, and all screened for need.

“Because we’ve never run into this shortfall, we’re not sure what we’re going to tell the families who have not been sponsored,” Aguillard said.

The agency also reported a drop in financial donations — monies earmarked to purchase gift cards for emergencies, such as when a donor is unable to deliver on their commitment at the last minute.

Each “match up” is tailored to the donor’s preferences, who may either make a financial donation or request a family with a specific number of members or even a family with children similar in age.

Their wish lists include clothing sizes, shoe sizes and gifts most desired.

Donors can remain anonymous by dropping off gifts at the CCDBR distribution site. Donors can also choose to deliver the gifts, bringing Christmas joy directly to the family they sponsored.

To sign up, go to and click on the “Community Comes Together for Christmas” icon. Or call (225) 336-8700. Checks can be mailed to Catholic Charities, Christmas program, P. O. Box 1668, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.

Volunteers are also needed to help sort and distribute gifts at Santa’s Workshop, agency’s distribution site.

Volunteers can call the agency or send an email to to sign up for half-day shifts.

Cenacle House offers retreats in January

Cenacle Retreat House, 5500 St. Mary St. in Metairie, is offering a variety of retreat options for those wanting to begin the new year with spiritual reflection.

The January schedule:

  • “Steps 6 and 7: The Forgotten Steps” — Jan. 4-6, with Sister Linda Fischer as presenter.
  • ““Introduction to Ignatian Spiritual Exercises” — Jan. 11-13, with the Rev. Peter Callery as presenter.
  • “Legends of the Soul: Stories of Transformation on the Journey of Faith” — Jan. 18-20, with the Rev. Joseph Nassal as presenter.
  • “Can You Spare Some Change?” — Jan. 25-27, with the Rev. Philip Chircop as presenter.

Call (504) 887-1420 or 800-669-4095 or visit for more information or to register.

Compiled by Advocate staff