LINCOLN (SNR) – Cathedral of the Risen Christ Parish in Lincoln launched an initiative Sept. 30 called “Sweet Dreams: providing a bed for every sleepyhead.”
“Every child deserves a good night’s sleep in a bed of their own,” said project organizer Cathy Harrington, a member of Cathedral Parish for more than 25 years.
The community outreach initiative, sponsored by the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, will benefit Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska (CSS). The goal of the project is to provide a new single bed for every refugee child arriving in Lincoln through CSS, as well as families at CSS’s St. Gianna Home, for women escaping domestic violence or pressure to abort. Women who come to St. Gianna’s often have children with them.
Curt Krueger, director of social services, said 50 single beds and 10 crib mattresses are needed each year to fulfill this most basic of needs for these children.
Those interested in helping fulfill this need may sponsor a complete new single mattress set for $150, or a complete new crib mattress for $40. Harrington pointed out that any amount would be accepted to help to sponsor a bed along with other donors.
“Would you, your family, your parish organization, your classroom be willing to help us reach our goal? Harrington asked. “As Pope Francis said, ‘For us Christians, hospitality offered to the weary traveler is offered to Jesus Christ himself.’”
Harrington said the idea for the project came about as a response to Pope Francis’ challenge for each parish to lessen the suffering of the most vulnerable. She said CSS stated the great need for children’s beds and “I knew then that our Cathedral parishioners would embrace this project with generosity.”
She received “whole-hearted support” from Cathedral rector Msgr. Joseph Nemec and Cathedral School principal Jeremy Ekeler. She also received assistance from corporate sponsors Lincoln Mattress and Furniture Co., SolutionOne, MC Plumbing and Pechous Upholstery.
Students at Cathedral School are participating in the project by making 50 fleece pillows to accompany the bed sets. Each child who receives a bed will receive one of the pillows, too, as a “personal touch.”
“What an awesome way to donate their creative talent and time,” said Harrington.
Cathedral art teacher Sheri Baumgartner, who will lead the students in the project, said she was glad her students could participate.
“I think that service is an important component to life, when we realize we are to be Jesus to everyone we meet,” she said.
“I also believe that our faith is the primary reason many parents select a Catholic school for their children,” she added, “and to be able to pair any subject with faith is a fabulous treat for us teachers here.”
As the schoolchildren work on the pillows, Baumgartner said they will discuss how this project fits into the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and look at works of mercy expressed through art. During the project, Baumgartner will also introduce a newly-created prayer corner in the art room. As the Cathedral students work on the pillows, they will pray for those children who receive them.
“I hope this gives them a glimpse of God’s great love for them,” Baumgartner said.
Donations may be sent directly to CSS, 2241 O St., Lincoln, NE 68510. Checks may be made out to Catholic Social Services, earmarked for the Sweet Dreams project.
Monetary donations may also be placed in the weekly collection baskets during Masses at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, marked for the Sweet Dreams project. Weekend Masses are celebrated at 5 p.m. Saturday and 6, 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays.
All donors will receive a tax deductible receipt and a certificate of sponsorship.