OCMC Serving the Disenfranchised in Romania

Floyd & Ancuta Frantz OCMC Missionaries to Romania
Floyd & Ancuta Frantz OCMC Missionaries to Romania

by Floyd Frantz

Poverty and lost hope for a decent life are the most difficult issues we deal with in Romania today. It is like a kid falling off a merry-go-round, but it is going around too fast for him to get back on. When someone in the States falls off the merry-go-round into poverty and disenfranchisement from the society, there are programs that help the person to get back up, to resolve their problems, to find work, and to re-enter the mainstream of society. Here in Romania, such programs are nearly nonexistent. It must be said also that current economic conditions in Romania are amongst the lowest in Europe, and so there generally is not much opportunity for people to better their lives. Through OCMC and the Romanian Orthodox Church, Floyd and Ancuta Frantz are providing such opportunities for families and individuals facing very difficult life circumstances to lift themselves up and to reorganize and begin life in a new and meaningful way.

The Protection of the Theotokos Family Center (PTFC), managed by Ancuta Frantz, helps single mothers who are not able to care for their newborn children to find a way to live without abandoning the child to the Romanian state for care. Many of these mothers are orphans themselves, and so lack skills necessary for building a home and caring for a child. In addition to day-care services, the PTFC provides job services, helps the families to find shelter when needed, and gives the family food to help sustain them until the mother can be more independent. This is done in a program which also provides personal counseling to the mother in both practical and spiritual venues.

The St. Dimitrie Program, managed by Floyd Frantz, offers addictions counseling and social services to the homeless and poor people living on the streets of Cluj, Romania. At the St. Dimitrie Day-Center, people are able to find support to reorganize their lives and to live alcohol and drug-free. Hosting 12 Step meetings, the center also provides personal and spiritual counseling so that the person can find a way out of their difficult situations. The staff of the St. Dimitrie Program visits local psychiatric hospitals, jails, and the long-term tuberculosis hospital in Savadisla offering recovery and hope for a better life to those in institutions.

By August, a diversion program will begin in Cluj with OCMC funding through OCMC’s AGAPE Canister Program. This program is a necessary shift from the usual jail time or fine for those who face court due to alcohol-related crimes to focusing on rehabilitation. It will become an option for offenders to be offered the diversion program with a suspended sentence upon completion rather than jail time and no attempts at reform. This is an important change in Romania, as it is necessary for society there to understand, accept, and implement a program to truly help those with alcohol issues rather than just lock them away without rehabilitation.

Because of the success of these programs, the St. Dimitrie Program also helps local churches in other cities around Romania to begin similar programs in their dioceses.

To learn more about, or support the work of, the Frantz family please visit: http://www.ocmc.org/TheFrantzFamily.

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