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May 8, 2012 3:53 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Immigration Outreach Group Celebrates 10th Anniversary In Hampton Bays

May 22, 2012 1:23 PM

For the last 10 years, Centro Corazon de Maria has helped Latino immigrants in Hampton Bays learn English, gain parenting skills and get access to food, health care, education and legal assistance.

The nonprofit organization, run by three nuns out of the Church of St. Rosalie on Montauk Highway, celebrated its 10-year anniversary on April 15 with a visit from Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, who held a mass that day.

Sister Frances Lane and Sister Mary Lang started the organization after their order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, asked them to aid the immigrant population in Hampton Bays and the surrounding communities. Sister Mary Beth Moore, of the Sisters of Charity of Halifax, joined them two years ago. Funding comes 
from the Religious of the 
Sacred Heart of Mary, Sister Lane said.

When they started up, the sisters’ first task was to make inroads with the Latino community, Sister Lang explained. She and Sister Lane visited the Southampton Town Police Department, the Hampton Bays School District and other institutions to make themselves known.

“In the beginning, we used to wait around wondering if anyone would come in,” Sister Lang recalled during a recent interview in the organization’s basement office at St. Rosalie’s community center.

In the last 10 years, the Latino immigrant population has soared, along with the sisters’ reputation in the immigrant community. The organization now serves an estimated 500 people per year, many of them women and young mothers.

The sisters acknowledged that many of the immigrants they help are undocumented, but said their affiliation with the church and their focus on humanitarian service keeps them out of the political fray. “They appreciate what we’re doing for the immigrant community,” Sister Lane said.

Some of the immigrants who seek out help have been in the United States for 25 years or longer, and many have children here, the sisters said.

The organization focuses mainly on education, bringing Cornell Cooperative Extension and Suffolk County Department of Health Services workshops in prenatal care, parenting and nutrition to Hampton Bays. All classes come with free day care, allowing mothers to attend. In times of hardship, the nuns also help families access food stamps or food pantries.

They also organize English classes for immigrants through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, at the parish’s community center and at Hampton Bays Middle School on Ponquogue Avenue. Sister Lang is a teacher in the program.

Since many of the immigrants are illiterate in their own language and do not qualify for the BOCES class, Sister Moore oversees a preparatory class in basic language skills. People from the community volunteer as tutors to the 15 or so women who take the twice-weekly class, the sisters said. Sister Lane thanked St. Rosalie’s Parish for offering space and support over the years.

All three of the sisters are bilingual and spent time in South or Central America. Sister Lane, who grew up in the Bronx and acts as coordinator of the organization, spent 13 years in Colombia. Sister Lang, a Manhattan native, spent four years in Mexico. And Sister Moore, who hails from Albertson in Nassau County, worked in Peru for 10 years.

Both the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and the Sisters of Charity of Halifax are international orders of nuns, and Sisters Lane, Lang and Moore have lived all over the country, as well as abroad. Sister Lane’s previous assignment was in Rome, for example.

In addition to helping immigrants navigate educational, health care and legal systems, Centro Corazon de Maria has become a place where they can open up about their problems, the sisters said.

“If people come with personal problems, what we do is listen,” said Sister Moore, who is a member of the Southampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force and the Hampton Bays-based outreach group Neighbors in Support of Immigrants. “Listening to people with love and patience is very, very healing. They just share from the heart within two minutes, because, really, there’s no one else.”

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Well this article sums up the aiding and abetting of the undocumented/illegal population by the Catholic Church. If you feed them, they will stay, if you clothe them, they will stay. Is the Church paying the hospital bill for birthing new citizens? I hope everyone who puts money in the collection plate knows exactly where their donations are going.
I seem to recall this church not aiding and abetting the Jews during WWII.
Sorry but this article does not make me warm & fuzzy. It pissess ...more
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on May 15, 12 6:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Catholic Church issued fake birth certificates to Jews during WWII showing them to be other than Jewish. Catholic priest were murdered in Scandinavian countries. Catholics were also sent to concentration camps for assisting Jews. The vatican was one of the first to speak out about the intolorance in Germany. Please do some research before spreading lies.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on May 25, 12 8:04 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on May 27, 12 5:53 AM
This is another counter to films regarding a very serious problem we have within the East End of Long Island. I wonder if the Senior Citizens would screen
"They Come To America" a film by Dennis Lynch to give a fair and balanced
report on this issue?? The NISI is, in my opinion, pushing illegal immigration
which is BREAKING OUR LAW!!! This is another effort to indoctrinate the US
Citizens!!! I can;t believe this is supported by the Anti-Bias Group and the Church!!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on May 15, 12 8:33 PM
Federal Failure, Local Impact:
Todays illegal immigrants are not coming here to settle the frontier, or build a new
nation. Economic migrants, they're willing to break our laws and take advantage
of our generous social programs.
Illegal immigrants are motivated purely by self-interest, not by some noble calling.
But, when American citizens in their own self-interest object to illegal immigration, we're demonized.
As local citizens, we know the failure of Congress to enforce ...more
By East Ender (64), Southampton on May 16, 12 6:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
I really wonder what has happened to the Catholic Church. I grew up Catholic and can't believe that they support people who break the law. What moral ground do they do this?. Illegals cost this country 700 billion a year, and has bankrupted the state of California. I will no longer give money to them if this is where my money is going.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 23, 12 10:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
There isn't anything to "wonder" about when it comes to the Catholic Church.

A self-interested corporate entity, it finds peddling mind control and sin management products a tougher sell these days amidst an increasingly educated and progressive American public. The Church will need adherent Latino immigrants for future cash, clergy and congregants. Simple.

The sister's work is commendable, but unfortunately enables a not-so-pure agenda on the part of their bosses in Rome and ...more
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on May 24, 12 2:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
We are looking for volunteers this weekend in southampton to help fight illegal immigration anyone and everyone is welcome.Will be meeting at 7/11 at 7am please bring cameras and or I pads.
By G_J_V_Overbeck (24), Westhampton Beach on May 24, 12 1:28 PM
What are you doing, looking for Eastern Europeans sneaking over the border from Water Mill?
By VOS (1241), WHB on May 24, 12 11:34 PM
It's simple to stop illegal immigration and drug gangs. 50k marines, with tanks, and apache helicopters. The leaders of this country are too corrupt to do this.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 24, 12 10:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
LOL! Overkill! Love it!

The border should be treated like the perimeter of Area 51!

If you choose to cross the line, deadly force can be used!

There has to be a deterrent and a sign like that would do it!

By ICE (1214), Southampton on May 27, 12 6:01 AM
These immigrant workers are here so why should someone not help them? You wingnuts would attack your own mothers to satisfy your bigoted ignorance. Cheif1 is the new head-bagger, having wrested the title from Joe Hampton, Double Standard, and Razza. What a group of clowns these guys are.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on May 25, 12 11:39 AM
This is so sad. Sad. We are talking about people here. Our neighbors. First, the assumption seems to be that immigrant = illegal. WRONG. Second, that immigrants are takers and not givers is also wrong. I have been blessed knowing many of these newcomers. For the most part, they are kind , generous, loving, family-oriented people who work hard. True we cannot open our doors to the world. We should also take into consideration that those who are illegal broke civil laws not criminal laws. Big difference. ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on May 25, 12 1:33 PM
2 members liked this comment

Some statistics:

USA population: 313,544,041
Square miles: 3,790,000
Percentage Catholic: 24%
Persons per sq. miles: 82

About a bordering neighbor:

Mexico population: 112,000,000
Square miles: 761,000
Percentage Catholic: 89%
Persons per sq. mile: ...more
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on May 25, 12 7:09 PM