Parish tradition helps poor of Rome

December 13, 2010
Father Tom Post (left) leads grace as Father Gregory Apparcel, CSP (right), and the 250 attendees of the Santa Susanna's 60th Annual Charity Serata ljoin in.Father Bob Post (left) leads grace as Father Gregory Apparcel, CSP (right), and the 250 attendees of the Santa Susanna’s 60th Annual Charity Serata join in.
SerataFather Gregory Apparcel, CSP, rector of the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome, greets Sister Michaeline O’Dwyer, RSHM, of the Marymount International School, site of Santa Susanna’s 60th annual charity serata Dec. 4.

Rome. One of the most glittering and romanticized cities in the world. It is easy to get caught up in the history and grandeur of the Eternal City and not give a second thought to the city’s countless refugees, homeless and unemployed.

“You have no idea how many people come for help,” said Rosanna Shedid, secretary of the church of Santa Susanna, the Paulist-run American church in Rome. “Rome is a city full of poor. It is sad to see so many in need.”

Following a decades old tradition to aid the less fortunate of Rome is Santa Susanna’s St. Nicholas Charity Serata. The serata (Italian for “evening”) is part of the parish’s commitment to outreach to the poor and homeless of Rome held near the Dec. 5 feast day of St. Nicholas, patron saint of the poor.

The grand ballroom of Marymount International School was transformed into a sparkly winter wonderland Dec. 4 as more than 250 guests browsed the hundreds of live and silent auction items, purchased raffle tickets and danced to soft rock tunes and Christmas songs.

Approximately $32,000 was raised from the serata and distributed to the following nine charities:

  • Arche: Works with children who are HIV-positive or have AIDS and their families.
  • Caritas Rome: Helps the homeless with and needy with shelter, food, medical care and other needs for Rome’s poor, many of whom are refugees.
  • Casa di San Giuseppe and Santa Teresa: Provides education, shelter and clothes for troubled children.
  • Casa Famiglia Villa del Pino in Monte Porzio Catone: Houses and cares for men who have AIDS with medical treatments and work training. Also provides AIDS education in the community.
  • Centro Astalli Refugee Center: Operates dormitories for men, women and children, serves an evening meal, health clinic, Italian language school and social counseling.
  • Di Liegro Foundation: Works to change the structures of society that limit the protection of human beings and attempts to remove situations of exclusion due to political or economic bias.