Paying Attention to Details

In June, I profile our wonderful facilities manager, who embodies the notion that small remedies reap big rewards. You’ll also read an update on the work of our refugee resettlement team, who, with the help of volunteers from parishes and other faith communities around the Diocese, have welcomed over 170 people fleeing violence, the majority of whom served U.S. interests in Afghanistan.
All my best,

One of my favorite business books is, “Broken Windows Broken Business – How the Smallest Remedies Reap the Biggest Rewards” by Michael Levine. The broken window theory says if something small like a broken window is left unrepaired, then the owners/tenants of the building must not care about it, and more serious infractions likely exist. It is about perception. In business, how people perceive a company is critical to its success or failure.
Our office in Oakland is an old pie factory. The aroma of fresh baked pies is long gone, still it is nothing like a fancy Silicon Valley office. It does, however, receive the best care from Cedric Macadaeg, our Facilities Manager. When something is broken, Cedric fixes it immediately. He looks for potential safety issues and resolves them before accidents happen. He sends out monthly safety tips so we can all contribute to a safe environment. He constantly walks around with gloves and a Swiss Army knife in his pockets. He’s MacGyver without duct tape. He does it all with a smile. We all love Cedric.
As a member of the Knights of Columbus, his faith is important to him. His son is Fr. Brandon Macadaeg, a Pastor in our Diocese, and his daughter is a police officer in San Francisco. I’m sure they have “not fallen far from the apple tree.”
Cedric – thank you so much for all that you do for staff, clients, and guests by caring for our old pie factory and making sure there are no broken windows here!


Catholic Charities has resettled refugees for over forty years. This year, we’ll likely resettle over 200 people, compared to 150 last year. Despite what we read, things are not slowing down. Eighty percent of those we resettle are from Afghanistan. They were employed or worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan, many as translators for military personnel, and enter the country with a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).  In general, refugees are people forced to flee their country due to persecution, war or violence and are unable to return home. They are hard-working, family oriented, filled with gratitude, and committed to succeed. We help families find housing and employment; enroll children in school; and sign up for benefits and health care. Our staff is small, and thanks to teams of volunteers from parishes and other faith communities, we’ve been able to help more families receive the care and attention they need to rebuild lives and adjust to a new culture.
No one does this better than the Director of our Refugee Resettlement Program, Sister Elizabeth Lang, OP and her three staff members, all of whom left their homelands during times of war or violence. Sister Lang is a refugee from Vietnam. Her staff resettled from Burma, Iraq, and Bhutan. They know firsthand what refugees experience. When I asked Sister and her team why they do this work, they spoke of their passion, gratitude, and satisfaction in helping others.  They want to extend the love to others that they received as refugees. “People need our help now, not later,” said Sr. Lang.
Our refugee team shared several stories with me. One was from Hana, a refugee from Iraq who recently helped resettle a family from Iran. A member of the Iranian family said to Hana, “I am sorry we were at war for so long.” Both agreed that the war was in the past and that today they are friends and countrymen.
Thank you Sister Lang and your wonderful staff for welcoming the stranger and bringing peace among us.


From July 20 to August 6, 2017, the 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival will present a compelling lineup of five films, ranging from documentary to drama, that portray refugee stories from multiple perspectives. We are honored to be a Community Partner in support of this year’s festival.  More information can be found at
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