Continuing Religious Education . . . One Computer at a Time; St. Julie Billiart Parish partners with St. Susanna Parish in Mason
The gift of computers is doing more than providing children with a resource for school or play — at St. Julie Billiart parish in Hamilton, it is also providing children the gift of religious education. But help is needed to make it possible for all children.
St. Julie Billiart Parish is distributing computers to members in need so children can continue their Religious studies. The parish’s Religious education program will be held online this school year due to COVID-19.
“Many of our families don’t have enough furniture to put a desktop on,” Mary Pat Austing, coordinator of parish religious education programs at St. Julie Billiart, explained. “The table is dedicated to Mary. The few pieces of furniture they have are very essential to them and one of them is a prayer altar.”
“That is why we were asking for laptops,” Austing continued. “We’re offering families who are suffering financially a way for their children to have a religious education system.”
Through the organization, Charitable Computing Ministry at St. Susanna Parish in Mason, laptops are collected and retooled with new software.
“Our mission is to provide donated computers, that are refurbished and loaded with free Linux operating and other systems, to charities in and around Mason,” said Marty Klenke, the co-founder of the Charitable Computing Ministry. “The objectives of the ministry are to reduce the environmental impact caused by discarded computer equipment and at the same time support local charities in their work to help the community.”
Some other organizations Charitable Computing Ministry has provided technology to include Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Leo, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Warren County and Mount St. Joseph University.
“Since our founding in 2017, Charitable Computing Ministry has donated more than 300 computers, tablets and smartphones,” said Klenke. “We provide to the charity our assurance that the equipment will function as their need requires. If, at any time, one of the computers we provided fails to perform the needed functions, we will take it back and replace it with one that will do the job, so long as we are still an active ministry and we have donated inventory from which to provide that replacement.”
“To me, this is a symbol of what our Catholic Church is, our universality is – taking care of one of other,” Austing said. “St. Susanna has many talented and gifted individuals who are following their Catholic faith in social justice to minister to others. They bring a silver lining to the world we’re living in.”
Austing has a goal of equipping 25 families with computers. She is in need of 14 more devices.
“Our pope says to be a people of joy,” said Austing. “While we can’t be the feet and hands of God this school year, we can be His voice and His face.”
Those interested in donating laptops are encouraged to visit the Charitable Computing Ministry’s website, stsusanna.org/charitablecomputingministry, or call (513) 398-3821, ext. 3126.
This article appeared in the November edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.