Catholic Charities USA:
Workbook or Facilitators
Even beore the global economic crisis began in 2008, millionso Americans were living in poverty. Since then, that numberhas grown as many people across the country have lost their jobs and homes or have been uprooted by natural disasters.oday, only a raction o America’s poor “look” like society’snotion o what it is to live in poverty.But poverty is all around us, and many o those who haveallen – or dropped – into poverty blend into society. Whoknows which o our neighbors, amily or riends are work-ing ull-time or multiple jobs and still can’t cover living ex-penses? Accidents, illnesses, and unexpected expenses, likecar repairs, can devastate a amily. Because o the speed o change in our economy, many o the suddenly unemployednd themselves without the skills needed to get the next job. In a nation as wealthy as the United States, it seemsimpossible that anyone could go to bed hungry, cold or livein despair o a better lie. And yet, there are millions whoare caught in that cycle. As Catholics, how do we respond to this situation? As Chris-tians, we commit to being disciples o Christ Jesus, who said,“Te Spirit o the Lord is upon me, because he has anointedme to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to pro-claim liberty to captives and recovery o sight to the blind, tolet the oppressed go ree.” (Luke 4:18). But at times, this lieo discipleship can leave us overwhelmed, unsure o how bestto respond.
What can we do to bring about real, lasting change in peoples’lives?
In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI issued
Caritas in Veritate
, anencyclical which helps to interpret the Gospel message in ourtimes– in a globalized, technological age wherein humans arebecoming increasingly interconnected, but aren’t necessarily growing in solidarity. As Pope Benedict says, “Te complexity and gravity o the present economic situation rightly cause usconcern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with condence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect o a world in need o prooundcultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover undamen-tal values on which to build a better uture.” (#21) Te popeidenties the responsibilities and limitations o governmentand the private market, challenges traditional ideologies, andcalls all men and women to think and act anew.Fr. Larry Snyder, president o Catholic Charities USA, took that call seriously. He held summits around the country andhosted online discussions to generate ideas on how to reducepoverty in America. His book,
Tink and Act Anew: How Poverty in America Aects Us All and What We Can Doabout It
, is a result o those initiatives.In his book, Fr. Snyder urges us to realize that poverty in Amer-ica aects us all. He summons Americans, especially Catholics,to see the poverty that surrounds us, break the stereotypes, andthink creatively about how to reduce poverty. He helps unpack Catholic social teaching, modern teaching that helps us apply Biblical truths in today’s changing world. He calls us to reectupon what it means to “‘love the Lord, with all your heart, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neigh-bor as yoursel.” (Lk 10:27)