Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Items of Interest

Item #1: Ben Salinas Sponsorship

I received the following information from Felipe and Cathy Salanas. Most of us at Holy Spirit have watched the Salinas kids grow up. Felipe and Cathy were a part of EVERYTHING at Holy Spirit and their kids grew up in that environment. Ben is now away at collage… A fine young man… Hopefully, in a small way, the result of a good influence at Holy Spirit. I know Felipe and Cathy are very proud of Ben. We all are! Maybe this would be a good chance for us to show him that we support him.

Dear family and friends,
Our son, Ben, will be going to Uganda over the Christmas break with some fellow students to work on some development projects, which he describes below. Please read his note below and, if you are able, we invite you to help sponsor him.
Felipe and Cathy Salinas

Project Information:
In January, I will be traveling to Uganda with 14 Babson students and one other Olin student as part of the second trip with Babson's Global Outreach in Entrepreneurship (BGOE).

We will teach local residents better business practices and help them to innovate with available resources. Last year, eight Babson students traveled to Sri Lanka 's tsunami torn region helping to rebuild businesses and improve practices.

I have long been interested in international development, and have finally had a chance to make this dream into a reality. This year, we will be spending two weeks in Uganda working with several local non-profit organizations. While there, we will work with two hospitals on improving their management and image, a hotel which funds a non-profit organization and a non-profit which assists women and children with AIDS.

The final project we have, which I will be working on, is a new venture which I have personally developed. An organization named Full Belly Project ( has recently developed a hand operated Automatic Peanut Sheller which can be used in developing countries (highlighted in the November issue of Popular Mechanics). Link:: (

Currently it is estimated that women in Africa spend more than 4 billion hours shelling peanuts each year. This machine has the potential to cut this down to less than 0.1 billion hours. Peanuts are valuable crops because they enrich the soil, fetch a high price on the market, and are protein rich, which makes them extremely good at battling malnutrition.

We have developed a business plan which will allow a local entrepreneur to collect and sell peanut shells (which are currently discarded) to concrete companies which will use them as fuel. This will cut their greenhouse gas emissions and save the concrete company money. Sustenance farmers will get an extra income from these shells (as well as save the 2 months they currently spend shelling peanuts) and the entrepreneur gets a sustainable business which has the potential to expand. The beauty of this business plan is that everyone comes out ahead.

This is a plan that I have been working on for the last few weeks and that I look forward to putting into effect in Uganda. However, in order to go, we need to raise some more money.

As a group, we have already raised over $10,000, however this is not enough for the 16 of us to make it to Uganda. I have set a personal goal of raising $2000 in the next few weeks.

I'd be honored if you would sponsor me on this trip to Uganda to help make a difference. Even small amounts can help make a huge difference. If you have any questions about BGOE, the upcoming trip, the Peanut Sheller, or stuff in general feel free to contact me at or by phone at 781-540-9402.

Thanks for your support,
Ben Salinas

Item #2: Here we go again!

Church Religious Director Arrested.
Story Link:
Religious Director Arrested

I am not trying to beat a dead horse, but this story just brings back horror stories. I have provided the story link. I don’t recommend that you click on it to reread the story – only if you haven’t read it. I just have a few comments:

1. How many of our current Holy Spirit Religious Education Instructors have attended the Protecting God’s Children Child-Abuse Prevention Program, as indicated in the story and required by the Diocese?

This is a mandatory requirement of every Religious Education Instructor before they can teach our children, right? Can who ever is in charge of our Religious Education Program at Holy Spirit please e-mail me a listing of our current instructors and a simple “Yes” or “No” if they have completed the required course… Based on the past sex abuse within our diocese, this should be "first priority" for our Religious Education Instructors.

2. A question for Brenda Riojas, Brownsville Diocese spokeswoman: If this sexual abuse incident would have been committed by one of our priests, would you still have called the police and had him arrested, or would Bishop Peña have taken the law into his own hands again and covered it all up? What is current policy?

I guess we will never know where the Bishop transferred all of our previous sexual offender priests, what kind of treatment they received, what kind of treatment their victims received or how much it all cost us? I just hope that our Bishop understand how important it is for his protected pedophile priests to be on the National Sex Offender List, so that their whereabouts can be tracked and they will never have the opportunity to offend our children again! We should all INSIST that this be done!

Maybe we can get our Bishop to address these issues in his next editorial in The Monitor Newspaper!


Anonymous said...

This religious education coordinator did not act in a vacuum or in the heat of passion; he acted in a permissive environment where rules are bent on a whim, be they administrative, doctrinal or whatever. The priest at this parish must be held accountable.

Where is Mr. David Saavedra and his local chapter of Call to Action? Why are they not protesting this priest's lack of oversight?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it’s time that the parishioners of Holy Spirit quit relying on Call To Action members to express their objections. Protecting our children is a pretty important issue and EVERYONE at Holy Spirit should be INSISTING that our religious education instructors attend the MANDATORY Child Abuse Program. Guess it’s just not important enough!