Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Roman Catholic Good Samaritan

Priest Gives Away Thousands to Poor
posted: 1 DAY 23 HOURS AGOcomments: 95filed under: National News, Charitable NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

LOS ANGELES (March 17) - Father Maurice Chase celebrated his 90th birthday on St. Patrick's Day by giving away green — and plenty of it.
The Catholic priest took $15,000 in cash to Skid Row and doled it out to hundreds of the city's most down-and-out residents outside the Fred Jordan Missions. Twenty wheelchair-bound people received crisp $100 bills, while the rest received $1 to $3 each. "This is the Lord's work," Chase said as he shuffled along the motley assemblage watched over by police officers. "I come out here to tell them that God loves them and I love them, that someone is concerned about them."
Chase is an institution in Skid Row, where he has given away cash, plastic rosaries and blessings every Sunday on the same corner for 24 years. A throng of several hundred people waits for him every week, lined up in the order that he sees as putting the most vulnerable first: handicapped, women and children, couples and single men.
He makes a point of coming on Thanksgiving and Christmas, too, but this is the first year he's spent his birthday in the downtown neighborhood where people live mainly in shelters and on urine-stained sidewalks.
"It's the place that makes me the happiest. I just love it," said Chase, who wore a Notre Dame baseball cap and a patched, fraying cardigan over his clergy shirt. "I look forward to coming here."
The money comes from donations he receives from rich and famous people he met during his long tenure as assistant to the president of Loyola Marymount University. They include philanthropist Eli Broad; Dolores Hope, Bob Hope's widow; Barbara Sinatra, Frank Sinatra's widow; and Bob and Ginnie Newhart, he said. The California native retired from Loyola about a decade ago. The crowd broke into choruses of "Happy Birthday" several times. A few regulars presented him birthday cards, to his delight.

Travis Kemp, a 51-year-old double amputee with long wavy black hair, was one of the lucky 20 to receive $100. He said he had no special plans for spending the cash. "He has a lot of respect from me," Kemp said. "I know I couldn't do it."
Others noted that outsiders usually come to donate food on Skid Row. "They never give money," said Lawrence Landry, who's lived on Skid Row for the past year after losing his job. "This is unusual."
Annette Matthys, who's trying to wean herself from a crack cocaine habit, said she queues up every week and usually receives a dollar or two from Chase. She uses the money to buy cigarettes or do her laundry.
"He's got a heart," said the 56-year-old woman who sleeps on the sidewalk when she can't find a shelter bed. "I never saw anyone like him. Some people are generous, but this guy ... I can't even describe it."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2009-03-17 19:45:05

Praise Pours In for Good Samaritans
posted: 2 DAYS 22 HOURS AGOcomments: 186filed under: National NewsPrintShareText SizeAAA

(March 21) - When times are tough, heroes emerge to save the day.
Father Maurice Chase is one of them. He celebrated his 90th birthday on St. Patrick's Day by doling out $15,000 in cash to hundreds of down-and-out residents in Los Angeles.
"I never saw anyone like him," said a woman who sleeps on the sidewalk. "Some people are generous, but this guy ... I can't even describe it."
Tracy Orr knows how she feels. The Dallas woman sat crying at a foreclosure auction in October until a stranger changed her life with one swift move. Marilyn Mock, moved by Orr's tears, bought her home for $30,000 and then handed the keys back to Orr. "People need to help each other and that's all there is to it," Mock said.
She was matched by billionaire Tim Blixseth, who wired a woman $20,000 when he heard her mobile home was destroyed during a move. "I've never seen anything like this," said Diane Bowling, who took Blixseth's original call to the mobile home office.
Even amidst the economic downturn, Americans are showing their generosity. The Salvation Army reported that its Red Kettle campaign set a record of $130 million in donations last year, a 10 percent spike from 2007 and the biggest one-year jump in more than a decade.
And some good Samaritans are giving much more than money. Dawn Verdick, who read a Craiglist ad from the daughters of a man who desperately needed a kidney, donated her own after realizing she shared his rare blood type.
2009 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2009-03-21 21:04:21


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



TheoPoet said...