PROVIDENCE —As the Season of Advent began this past week, so did the 18th season of Bishop Thomas J. Tobin’s “Keep the Heat On” program, which continues to offer great hope and comfort to thousands of households during Rhode Island’s harsh winter months.
Bishop Tobin kicked off the “Keep the Heat On” campaign on November 29, gratefully accepting a check of $1,250 from the children of Saint Cecilia School.
Student Council President Samantha Jessop thanked the bishop for visiting her school during the first week of Advent.
“We’ve learned that the first candle represents hope, and we thank you for giving us a chance to provide hope for so many in our community.”
Bishop Tobin said he felt honored to spend the morning with the Saint Cecilia School community and expressed his pride and gratitude for their good works. He reminded them of the three goals of Catholic education: to teach the faith to a new generation, to form a family of faith and to teach youth to serve those in need.
“Jesus said, ‘whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me.’ We need to reach out to help people who don’t have all the gifts and the blessings that we have. Inspiring people to serve, to be generous, to love our brothers and sisters — that’s why it’s so appropriate that we came to a Catholic school today to begin our 18th annual “Keep the Heat” on program,” the bishop said.
“Keep the Heat On” has provided heating and utility bill assistance to Rhode Islanders in need for close to two decades, offering assistance towards emergency deliveries of home heating oil and heating utility bills for those in the Ocean State who have exhausted other public and private assistance programs and still need help. “Keep the Heat On” has contributed more than $3.9 million in heating assistance to more than 16,500 Rhode Island households.
“We know it’s going to be a very long and cold winter… and we know that heating and utilities are going to be more expensive this year than others. That’s why this program is so important,” said Bishop Tobin. “Please understand that your gift today is going to help many, many other people give donations this year as well.”
Father Stephen Battey, pastor of Saint John Paul II Parish, Pawtucket, said that the school’s gift will be the first of many charitable efforts at the school.
“We look forward to adding this [Keep the Heat On] to our list of future works that will continue in the years to come. We thank you for this opportunity of helping us to be part of that great work.”
Principal Kelly Caton said that the student body was both honored and humbled by Bishop Tobin’s visit.
“It’s important for them to be a part of it and important for them to see who they are helping. For them to make that connection makes such a difference. The more that they give, the more it motivates them to do it more. The students were all excited to have Bishop Tobin here. It means a lot to them,” the principal said.