Mercy Refugee Project

Update – Mar 25, 2018

Our family celebrated their one-year anniversary in the USA on Jan 18. They expressed overwhelming gratitude  to all the Americans who have helped them in the past year. Sayed has found encouraging mentors at Berkeley Adult school and Laney  College in Oakland.  Currently he drives for Lyft and  is taking a class  to become an Emergency Medical Technician. Last week a St. Jerome helper tutored him on U.S. tax forms and he also sought advice  from a tax preparation service sponsored by Alameda County.

The baby has recovered quickly from surgery and is a very bright eyed, curious and a happy ten-month old. Nesh loves books, building blocks and playing on her riding toys: a bike, a rocking frog, and little car.

Every Wednesday a parish volunteer brings food from our Saint Vincent de Paul Society to the family.  Gradually the family contributes more to their monthly rent.  Ourcontinued parish support is greatly appreciated by the family.

Update – Nov 29, 2017

Our family continues to thrive in their new apartment which is within walking distance of the preschool and ESL classes. After a few very tearful days at the preschool, Nesh now thrives in learning from her teachers and playing with her new friends. She found special friends with twin girls who are Afghan and speak Dari. The ESL class for Vida has given her a new and comforting community of Muslim women. Vida and the girls have found a very familiar community….so many thousands of miles from home.

Sayed found work on his own working in a retirement community. His career goal is to qualify for a CA nursing license. Currently he takes an English class and in January he will learn if his nursing school credentials from Afghanistan have been accepted by the state Nursing Board.

Baby Mitra needed surgery because her skull bones had started to fuse together too soon. The family was very worried but Mitra had successful surgery and was home in four days.

The family is extremely grateful for the support of the St. Jerome community. They feel safe in their new home and their presence here reminds us that families all over the world want to raise their children in a peaceful place and a loving home.

Update – Feb 19, 2017

Our family has been assigned. Monies were released from the parish this week to settle the family in an affordable apartment in Oakland. The couple and their daughter are here from Afghanistan. They are expecting another child. We might want to consider a baby shower!

The goods donated so far have been by volunteers. One of the project volunteers suggested to me after mass today that chest drawers might be good for walk-in closet. Any additional household items would be greatly appreciated or any food items. Contact Mary @ for further information. It is a blessing that our parish can help a refugee family.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.


This project got underway during the later part of 2016
The introductory letter to St Jerome’s Parishioners

November 27, 2016

Dear St. Jerome Community,

In response to the request of both Pope Francis and Bishop Barber, we joined the Catholic Charities East Bay  (CCEB) program to welcome, settle and advocate for a refugee family.  The refugees   arrive with a green card and a work visa. Our Parish works with CCEB to assist in the resettlement process. The whole mission is to help these refugees become self-sufficient. What an exciting opportunity for our parish to undertake especially in Advent.

We had an initial meeting with a group of parishioners who indicated that they would like to be a part of this outreach.  A follow up meeting is scheduled for November 30 in Rohan Hall at 7pm. You are invited to attend and we would welcome your talents.

Our first project is a fund raising goal of $6,000 to assist with rent and basic utilities during the first few months. Envelopes are available in the pews. Next, our commitment would be to furnish the home from bedrooms to kitchen with new or gently used items.   And, finally, when the family arrives we can offer help in so many ways: welcoming them at the airport, preparing a welcome meal, driving them to appointments and getting them used to American life. 

We are committing as a community to welcoming a family with the hospitality of St Jerome Parish. If you would like to participate in anyway, or if you have any questions, call Mary Ghidella at 510.236.2928 or email at