July 12, 2017

Catholic Relief Services To Hold Spiritual Ceremony For Parish Ambassadors Traveling To Africa

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will hold a Commissioning and Send off Ceremony for three parish ambassadors; Ms. Norma Yabut, Ms. Lois Heist, and Mr. Levi Keene who will be traveling to Burkina Faso, Africa, for a ten day delegation trip.

Thursday, July 13, 2017
4:30 p.m.
Catholic Relief Services
150 North Radnor Chester Road
Building 150, Suite F1250
Radnor, PA 19087

CRS parish ambassadors are active parishioners with a passion for global solidarity. Through spiritual formation and leadership development, they become more aware of the work of CRS and help strengthen the parish’s outreach ministry. Each year, they coordinate three global solidarity initiatives such as Rice Bowl and Helping Hands, and encourage fellow parishioners to participate.

These three parish ambassadors will join seven additional delegates from San Bernardino, California and Louisville, Kentucky to visit various CRS programs located throughout the African country. The delegation will focus on raising awareness and encouraging advocacy for the country’s poor and vulnerable.

Background on Ms. Norma Yabut

Ms. Yabut is one of three parish ambassadors at Saint Vincent dePaul (Bucks County). She has helped to coordinate three Helping Hands events, a prayer walk, and promotes Rice Bowl and Ethical Trade. In addition, she is a member of the Adult Formation Ministry, teaches one of the parish’s confirmation classes, is an Emeritus Board member of Pearl S. Buck International, and has sponsored two Aeta college students from the Philippines.

She is a retired nurse and has joined several medical missions to the China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines with the Filipino Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the University of the Philippines Medical Association of America, and Pearl S. Buck International.

Ms. Yabut said, “Growing up in a third world country like the Philippines has exposed me to the abject poverty, poor human conditions, and marginalized children. This has motivated me to join CRS and other organizations to do my share in living my faith.”

Background on Ms. Lois Heist

Ms. Heist is a parish ambassador from Saint John the Evangelist (Bucks County). She has coordinated a prayer walk, an upcoming Helping Hands event, and promotes Rice Bowl. She is a CRS in Action Board member, and helps to sponsor and oversee the parish’s ESL program. In addition, she serves on the Board of Welcoming the Stranger, participates in the Bucks County Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, and supports activities for two Syrian families by overseeing ESL tutoring and more.

Ms. Heist is retired from teaching World Languages and U.S. History in addition to school administration. She said, “I feel called by my faith to direct my energy to Global Solidarity projects and to the enactment of Catholic Social Teaching.”

Background on Mr. Levi Keene

Mr. Keene is a parishioner from Saint Monica (Chester County). He is an electrical engineer and has worked on several humanitarian projects with Engineers Without Borders. He currently serves on the Parish Council, brought together the Catholic Young Adults of Chester County ministry (CYACC), and has coordinated several Helping Hands events.

Mr. Keene said, “In Africa, I advocate for the education of children living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was also part of a nonprofit startup that sought to bring new human powered pumps to Malawi and elsewhere. I have worked on domestic humanitarian efforts including managing events for One Brick, coordinating volunteer teams with Good Works, and advocating for homeless persons in Philadelphia. I feel a strong call to serve the poor and advocate for those most in need.”

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Editor’s Note: CRS was established in Burkina Faso in 1960, following the invitation of the country’s bishops. As the first and longest-standing international development organization in the country, CRS began its work by providing humanitarian and food aid to Burkina Faso shortly after its independence from France. In 1962, CRS expanded its mandate, providing education assistance, especially school feeding. Current programs include education, agriculture, health/nutrition, WASH, emergency response, support to Malian refugees, and more. To learn more about CRS in Burkina Faso, please visit https://www.crs.org/our-work-overseas/where-we-work/burkina-faso.

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Alaina Longo
Media and Events Specialist 
215-587-3747 (office)