Parish’s Lenten outreach provides water to Navajo poor

Parishioners of St. Dominic Church in San Francisco raise funds to help bring water to homes of four impoverished New Mexico families

St. Dominic parishioner Elizabeth Skelton, DigDeep.org founder George McGraw and St. Dominic pastor Father Michael Hurley, OP, are pictured after a March 29 presentation on a parish initiative to bring fresh water to Navajo in the Southwest. McGraw’s organization helps bring low-cost water access to Navajo communities. (Photo by Christina Gray/Catholic San Francisco)

Four Navajo families in Thoreau, New Mexico, can now wash their hands, brush their teeth and flush a toilet thanks in part to the parishioners of St. Dominic Church who poured their Lenten alms into a nonprofit that defends access to fresh water as a basic human right.

The San Francisco parish raised $18,000 for the Navajo Water Project during last year’s “Be Living Water” Lenten campaign and relaunched it again this year for the same purpose. On March 29 they invited the project’s founder to a parish hall soup supper where he told a packed parish hall about his shock at learning that almost two million Americans do not have access to clean, safe water.

“I knew nothing about these neighbors of mine whose first waking thoughts are, ‘How am I going to get enough clean water today just to survive?’” said George McGraw, a Loyola University graduate with a background in international law and human rights who founded DigDeep.org in order to bring water to those Americans.

In partnership with organizations like St. Dominic, corporate and individual donors and a network of volunteers, DigDeep.org builds low-cost, community-managed water systems to homes, schools and businesses without access to water or sewer lines. It is the first system of its kind in the United States according to its website, digdeep.org.

“Be Living Water” asked parishioners to abstain from all beverages other than water and donate the money they would have spent to DigDeep.org. It also included daily prayer for the Navajo nation and others lacking access to safe, accessible water.

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    How did the Indians survive all those years before Americans came with their well-digging technology?

    • Keith w Petersen says

      The same way everyone did before steam power. Muscles. Human and animal….

      If you are really interested, there is a ton of info on hand drilling on line.

  2. Sounds like the rural areas of the Depression. Basic access to clean, potable water should be a human right.
    “For whatever you do to the least of these . . . ”
    Blessings to this parish and all other similar ones.

  3. This is a beautiful example of the social teachings of the Church. There is a fundamentalist strain in Catholicism prevalent today that emphasizes “soul-winning” against the corporate mission of the Church. Saving souls while having little or no regard for people’s lives in the present is not consistent with the Gospel. Thank you for sharing this story!

    • Fred, it has to be both because bad behavior can destroy lives and marriages and lead to the poverty of the children. I am not saying it is the case in this situation. This church seems to be doing a much needed good deed. Also, Americans need to take care of our own in this country first before worrying about other nations.

    • Fred, the two are hardly mutually exclusive…this type of corporal work of mercy does save souls. It both saves the souls of those that contribute effort and money as well as those who benefit from a totally gratuitous act of mercy. Those who benefit, hopefully, one day ask “who were those people?”

  4. Aunt TE: actually the Church encourages the support of its mission both at home and abroad. After all, the Church’s mission is universal!

    • Although charity begins at home, it does not stop there, but what I am saying is that we owe our loyalty first to our families, then our neighbors (church and city) then our states and so forth before we go national. A person or country should not go into debt to other countries, as this country often has, all the while neglecting its own citizens.. Often nations with good resources refuse to take care of their own and ship them over here for us to feed, clothe and house.

  5. Aunt TE: perhaps you are unaware of the billions of people, many of whom are children, who are starving? The countries in which many starving people reside, through no fault of their own, are not democracies with leaders who are responsive to their peoples. The USA would do well to ship food and clean water to these people instead of arms to their corrupt dictators.

    • FHK, Christ also said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.”

      It does no good if our corrupt government often sends snakes with the supplies — such as the acceptance of cancer causing contraceptive pills instead of natural family planning, and abortion or sodomous “marriages” or no help for you. They all help destroy the body and defeats the purpose,

      • I did not express myself very well. I approve people sending money to other countries through good Catholic charities that actually do what they say, and the people are helped to obtain the necessities of life without having to accept abortion and other evils, but when government gets involved, things most often get worse. Its chief concern should be helping its own citizens with good road and so forth.

  6. The Indian bureaucracy is awash in federal funds (your tax $s), but also in financial mismanagement and outright fraud.

  7. Hymie: “In God We Trust”…all others must have data. So present some evidence for your claims. The same assertions could be made about several Catholic charities.

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