ORDINARY TIME 2014 REFLECTIONS

Anniversary of the Death of Servant of God Dorothy Day
November 29, 2014
Like many of us, I take great inspiration from the lives of saints. This is particularly the case with
modern day saints. I’m inspired by people like Katherine Drexel, John Paul II, John XXIII and
Gianna Beretta Molla. These were seemingly ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary
things by humbly accepting the graces presented to them and truly loving those around them.
While the cause for her canonization is just beginning, Dorothy Day is one of those seemingly
ordinary people whose life continues to teach us what love of neighbor really means.
In the November 1976 Catholic Worker, the newspaper that career journalist Day founded to
ramp up her ministry of social outreach, activism, and hospitality, she quoted the 19th century
Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, "Love in practice is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to
love in dreams.” Isn't this true of the work we do with folks we meet in our service each day?
We know that Jesus instructed us to serve those in need. But do they have to be late for so many
appointments? Do they have to cop an attitude when I'm doing my interview? Do they really
think I didn't see them try to take an extra loaf of day old bread?
Caritas doesn't meant feeling sorry for someone. That's pity. Caritas is the kind of selfless love
of neighbor that Dorothy Day lived constantly, even during times of disappointment and despair.
She repeatedly turned the other cheek when faced with aggression or political opposition. Her
voluntary poverty and journey to live the Sermon on the Mount reminds me to treat everyone,
including those who don't live up to my standards of punctuality and decorum, as if they were
the Lord. As she wrote in her 1952 autobiography The Long Loneliness, "We cannot love God
unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking
of the bread and we know each other in the breaking of the bread, and we are not alone
anymore.”

Pope Francis preached at the Rite of Canonization of six new saints on November 24, 2014.
“Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom. But it is for us to enter into it,
beginning with our life now – his kingdom begins now – by being close in concrete ways to our
brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity, catechesis.”
Just like Dorothy, we might laugh at the thought that we could ever be a saint. May we daily
strive to saintly act with our neighbors in need.
Jack Murphy
Member of the CCUSA Parish Social Ministry Section and Volunteer, St. Vincent de Paul Voice
of the Poor; Alpharetta, Georgia.
November 27, 2014
Thanksgiving Day
Giving Thanks for the People and Blessings that Enrich Our Lives
Think and Act Anew
A hearty meal. Time with family and friends. A long weekend. For some, watching football on
TV or finding a great discount at the shopping mall.
These are all things that we associate with the Thanksgiving holiday, and they are all pieces of
what makes this time of year so treasured by so many. But these traditions are just pieces of the
larger meaning of the day, a meaning that goes far beyond discounts or marching bands or even a
good meal with relatives we haven’t seen in months or years.
The day is meant to be, as the name would imply, about giving thanks – about setting aside time
to offer gratitude to our Creator for the blessings he has bestowed on us and our loved ones.
Whether it’s a place to call home, a stable job, or even something as simple as a bus driver who
always greets us with a smile, all of us can find something in our lives that makes them richer,
more fulfilling, or more joy-filled.
Thanksgiving is a day that we can unashamedly tell the people in our lives that we are grateful
for their presence, and can remember in prayer all those whose generosity and support helped us
in times of sorrow and times of joy. We can make the conscious decision to strengthen our sense
of gratitude for what we have been blessed with, and re-commit ourselves to supporting those
less fortunate on their journey towards a better tomorrow.
This year, as we prepare the turkey, bake pumpkin pie, find unbelievable deals, or cheer on a
favorite team, we can indulge in and cherish these annual traditions that bind together families
and communities. But amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday weekend, and even amidst
braving the freeway or airport to get to our destination, we can take a moment to reflect on the
people and blessings that enrich our lives year-round, and offer a silent prayer of thanksgiving.
Fr. Larry Snyder
President/CEO, Catholic Charities USA

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
November 23, 2014
Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17; I Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28; Matthew 25: 31-46
One (liturgical) year ago, the first reading on the First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2013, the
text from Isaiah 2:4 proclaimed a message of peace:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise
the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
Today we find ourselves near close of November and at the end of the liturgical year with a
Gospel from the end of chapter 25 in Matthew. And there’s a whole lot of end times judging
going on.
How did we do during this year? With hearts and actions have we fashioned plowshares and
pruning hooks or are we holding tight to our swords and spears? Maybe we went part of the way
and fashioned a pruning hook but used it for something other than peace. In the unrelenting love
and compassion of God there is still opportunity to fashion our hearts too, and finish the job, but
now is the time to act.
All of us involved in the movement of Catholic Charities across the USA share in the gospel
mission to recognize the “least ones” in our midst as Christ, and in doing so help others come to
the same recognition. We must be careful that our familiarity with this text does not keep us from
fully fashioning with hearts and hands the peace of the righteousness described by Matthew.
We are entering a season when Matthew 25 sound bites and video clips will abound. Helping the
“least ones” during the holidays is a good thing. Holidays and Holy Days helping us care year
round is better. This universal call of the Christ who reigns is what we celebrate this holy day.
We are not called to act out of fear of the judge, but to act as the shepherd does in love.
As we consider our own end of the year assessment, let us cast aside those practices, habits and
attitudes that cloud our vision to recognize Christ and make room to more deeply embrace the
prophetic peace of Isaiah. It is peace that will not just last the year, but the lifetime of eternity.
The year may be drawing to a close, but it is not that last word. That belongs to God who renews
us into the coming of a new year.
1. What can you take from this past year to help form resolutions of peace for the coming
year?
2. As we finish this liturgical year, try to empty yourself and read Matthew 25 as though
you are seeing it for the first time.

Michael P. Griffin
Members of the Catholic Charities USA Parish Social Ministry Section; Director of Faith
Formation, Pax Christi Catholic Community (Eden Prairie, Minn.)
November 13, 2014
Memorial of Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin
People often ask me why am I so passionate about working with immigrants and my response is
because I am the granddaughter of immigrants and a spiritual daughter of the patroness of
immigrants, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917).
Mother Cabrini founded our religious community, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, in
1880. Born in Sant’Angelo, Italy, she left her home country to serve Italian immigrants in New
York soon after the foundation of her congregation. On the 50th anniversary of her canonization
in 1996, Pope John Paul II referred to Mother Cabrini as a “Missionary of the New
Evangelization.” As her daughters we pray for the grace to diligently seek ways to be faithful to
the Church and our charism to care for immigrants in new and creative ways.
Today, the Missionary Sisters have two offices for Cabrini Immigrant Services: in lower
Manhattan, New York City and Dobbs Ferry, New York. We also have a learning center in West
Park, New York, Sacred Heart Center for New Americans. In addition, we strive to address
immigration from a structural perspective, as demonstrated by our congregation’s corporate
stances to SUPPORT the rights and dignity of all immigrants and to STOP human trafficking.
We are part of an NGO called UNANIMA that advocates on behalf of immigrants and trafficked
people at the United Nations.
As a child I would hear my grandparents speak of the “old country”--the beauty of the sea,
flowers, friends, home town “fiestas,” and most important, family. Family meant everything to
them but at an early age they had to leave family behind and come to America for the sake of
finding a better life for themselves and their future children.
My grandfather and grandmother came to America as unaccompanied minors. They arrived by
boat at Ellis Island in New York. Vincenzo was 15 and arrived in 1898. Petrina was 16 and
arrived in 1906. They lived with different sets of relatives who had lived in the U.S. for a period
of time. My grandfather and grandmother met in the U.S., unknown to each other in Italy
despite having lived in the same town. They married in 1908. My family history dovetails with
the current story of many unaccompanied minors fleeing Central American violence today.
The stories my grandparents told me are true treasures which are not only dear to my heart but
have impacted my life as a daughter of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, a Missionary of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus. Not unlike immigrants today, they told of the struggles they faced from the

beginning. For example, they were unable to pursue formal education but immediately entered
the work force. They suffered the discrimination experienced by Italian immigrants. My
grandparents were blessed with 12 children. Two died when they were infants but the others
lived and became wonderful parents and good citizens of the United States. I remember Sundays
at their house; our extended family numbered 20+ grandchildren and 20 adults. Food, good
wine, laughter and great conversations took place. Love was in abundance and we all looked out
for each other.
I was educated by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in grammar school. These
daughters of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini helped all our families who lived in a very Italian
neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. I was moved by their compassion and love for those
living in poverty and I desired to be part of the wonderful work they did.
I always had a love for new immigrants as I remembered where I came from and what I needed
to do for new comers in a strange land. It was a gift sent from heaven when I was asked by my
religious community in 1999 to begin a mission on the lower east side of Manhattan among the
immigrants, Cabrini Immigrant Services. My heart leapt with joy and I enthusiastically
embraced the work that God asked of us among the Chinese and Latino immigrants. These ten
years of ministry were some of the happiest years of my life.
The story of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, our congregation, and my family run parallel to Catholic
Charities outreach to immigrants and refugees. Mother Cabrini, patroness of immigrants, smiles
from heaven upon each and every client, staff, volunteer, and donor who contributes to the
betterment of life for immigrants and refugees in the United States.
Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, M.S.C.
Provincial, Stella Maria Province, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, New York
(Editor’s note: Please join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Justice for Immigrants national call-in
day by contacting the White House today, November 13, on behalf of immigrant rights in the United States. Dial 1855-589-5698 and request that the “United States protects as many immigrants and their families as possible
from deportation.” Click here to learn how the Catholic Charities agencies supported immigrants and refugees in
2013.)

November 2014
National Black Catholic History Month
Ours to Remember and Share
Cultures designate specific times to honor events and peoples significant to their history.
Scripture proclaims that even within the first week of creation it was important to honor God on
the seventh day. Humanity moves within the parameters of time from weeks to months to
seasons, each bearing its own significance. Similarly, the liturgical calendar carries the faithful

from Advent to Christmas to Ordinary Time to Lent to Easter to Pentecost to Ordinary Time and
the cycle perpetually repeats throughout the universal Church. Each time gives voice to the
challenges that mark a historical and transformative journey of faith. In the process, two
significant occurrences develop. The history becomes ours, and we become the guardians of the
legacy.
National Black Catholic History Month (NBCHM) reflects the rising of a consciousness to
remember and share the history of a people striving to rise above struggle to proclaim their
inherent dignity and the dignity of humanity. Black Catholics are a diverse people reflecting a
range of experiences, hues, lifestyles, opinions and perspectives. We are saints and we are
sinners. We are cradle Catholics and we are converts. We are clergy and we are laity. We are
Martha and we are Mary. We are Zaccheus and Zacharias.
You distinctly hear the beauty and complexity of our history in the instrumental version of Mary
Lou Williams’ Credo, the very movements that are woven by the Spirit throughout the history of
our Church and our nation. Centuries before the establishment of the Vatican, and the
construction of the concept of “race” as we know it, our African ancestors followed “the way” of
Christ. Knowing upon whose shoulders we stand, we are a proud people. Knowing in whose
name we are baptized, we are a faithful people.
Winston Churchill declared, “History is written by the victors.” While there may be some truth in
his words, the claim is not absolute. History is written by the survivors courageous enough to
speak their truth with the often unspoken hope of dialogue, reconciliation and peace. From them
we learn of enduring unimaginable indignities and ineffable hardships with a staunch belief in
the mercy of God who cannot be confined by time and space.
History shows the will of God unfolding in the fullness of time. The process is not linear, but
cyclical. Descendants of a once kidnapped and enslaved people relate to the story of the Exodus
in a uniquely personal manner. Remembering those who died in the Middle Passage; those, like
Christ, who were hung on trees; and those whose humanity was denied is part of the inheritance.
Dwelling in the Promised Land is the timeless hope as the role of faithful citizenship is
embraced.
Today, Black Catholic History is being written through our faithfulness and our failings.
NBCHM is a time for us – for all of us - to collectively remember and share the contributions
and struggles of Black Catholics. It is also a time for the Catholic Church in the United States –
clergy and laity – and people of goodwill to stand in solidarity with us as we seek to follow Our
Lord towards dialogue, reconciliation, and peace.
Pope Francis’ words to Palestinian and Israeli leaders on May 24, 2014 are equally relevant to us
as we honor Black Catholic History Month, “The path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace

must constantly be taken up anew, courageously and tirelessly. There is simply no other way.”
May it be so.
Leslye Colvin
CCUSA Parish Social Ministry Section; Program Specialist, Justice and Peace Ministries,
Archdiocese of Atlanta
(Editor’s note: For more information about Mary Lou Williams [1910-1981], a most prolific
Black Catholic pianist, song writer, and educator, see ser biography on the PBS Website, the
Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University, Mary Lou Williams: Soul on
Soul, and her entry on biography.com.)
November 1, 2014
All Saints, Solemnity
Revelation 7: 2-4, 9-14; I John 3: 1-3; Matthew 5: 1-12a
One year ago, I was on a retreat with several others from our Pax Christi group and the retreat
leader invited us to share something of our preferred style of prayer. I noted that a regular
reading and reflection on the life of a holy person had become part of my spiritual routine.
Though I have had an attraction to scripture, the liturgical life, and the history of the Church
since childhood, I must say that a deeper appreciation for the saints is something newer in my
spiritual journey.
Christians, Jews, and Moslems are monotheists; we believe, worship, and honor a single God.
But why do so many of us acknowledge our personal patron saint, or the patron of our school,
church, religious community, or profession? Is this not elevating a human being too close to the
single divine being that we are called to honor, love, and adore?
From the collect for Mass for All Saints Day:
Almighty ever-living God, by whose gifts we venerate in one celebration the merits
of all the Saints, bestow on us, we pray, through the prayers of so many intercessors,
[emphasis added] an abundance of the reconciliation with you for which we earnestly
long. Through our Lord Jesus your Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Two factors jump out at me as we remember our saints. First, our saints enjoy eternal life with
God. They are a step closer to God than we are. They can go to bat for us when we ask for their
intercession! Second, we are human, God is divine. As much as God loves and seeks to be in
relationship with us, we might feel difficulties relating to Him because the only experience that
humans know is human experience. So, knowing that there were men and women who put their
pants or dresses on one leg at a time, and sinned as much as we do, is reassuring that we too can
enjoy eternal life.

Today’s Gospel offers some characteristics of one who is “blessed.” I offer a contemporary
translation of part of the Gospel that can guide us toward sainthood:
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-ful,” you find
yourselves cared for.
You’re blessed when you get inside your world—your mind and heart put right.
Then you can see God in the outside world.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or
fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
(From The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition. Used with permission of NavPress Publishing Group.)

Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Manager of Mission Resources and Data, Catholic Charities USA
October 4, 2014
Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi
To be Franciscan today is to be engaged in a lifelong process of discovering the meaning of
Francis of Assisi’s presence and transforming spirit in our world and church. People of all faiths,
cultures and ages are attracted to him. Our present pope has chosen his name and has affirmed
his vision of mission. In the words of Leonardo Boff, a Brazilian theologian, “Whenever the
saints, in their following of Christ, plumb the depths of human existence, there appears the
perennial truth of the Gospel; that saints are neither ancient nor modern; they are simply true,
always true carriers of that truth that captures the crucial questions of existence in every age.
Today I ask myself what crucial questions does Francis of Assisi capture in our age. In looking
at our time through the lens of both Pope Francis and Catholic Charities, there is no doubt that
people who are poor have a priority claim on our hearts and our service. Pope Francis reminds
us that God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that God himself “became poor
(2 Corinthians 8:9).” He goes further to say that, “…This is why I want a Church which is poor
and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the sensus fidei, but in
their difficulties they know the suffering Christ….(The Joy of the Gospel, #198).”
Wealth and poverty characterized urban life in Assisi in the 12th century. Those with money and
resources lived inside the walls of the city and those who were sick and hungry lived outside the
walls. Francis of Assisi, although rich in his youth, took the initiative to go outside the walls to
respond to the needs of those in poverty. He encouraged his followers to become a part of the
lives of those who were most vulnerable. This consciousness of the challenge to attend to the
marginalized found its source in Francis’ experience of ongoing conversion.

In embracing a leper, Francis met God. In that moment of embrace Francis understood the
meaning of Incarnation. He saw Christ’s becoming human not only as the greatest act of love,
but as a model for our encounter with God in those living in poverty.
What are the questions Francis of Assisi captures in our time? Perhaps the answers rest in whom
we are becoming in our encounter with those whom we serve? Do we see what they see? Do we
see in them the dignity they are often denied? Are we changed in this process of encounter?
Sr. Frances Cunningham, O.S.F.
Parish Relations Coordinator, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Sources for further reflection
Boff, Leonardo. Saint Francis: A Model for Human Liberation. New York: Crossroad, 1982.
Pope Francis. Evangelii Gaudium -the Joy of the Gospel, 2014
Sweeney, John M. “The Real Francis: How one saint’s ancient insights are transforming today’s church,” America, September
22, 2014.

September 27, 2014
Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul
“With God's help, you will continue to succeed in your leadership and in your duties, because
Our Lord's work is accomplished not so much by the multitude of workers as by the fidelity of the
small number whom He calls.”
St. Vincent de Paul, September 27, 1646 to Jean Marchtin, in Genoa
The name of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century priest famous for initiating effective and
sustainable programs, has been used to symbolize works of charity around the globe. Witnessing
these many results you could conclude that his lifetime was filled with multiple and vast
successes, but you would be wrong. The number of people initially following his leadership was
quite small, but they were deeply rooted in trust of God’s calling and dedicated to the duties of
their service. The depth of those roots has borne many branches and much fruit for almost 400
years.
I am a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a community of women co-founded by St.
Vincent de Paul in 1633 and now present in 95 countries. As a young woman seeking to respond
to God, the description of lives dedicated to the service of persons who suffered the complexities
of poverty captured my heart and my sense of adventure. Forty-some years and multiple
ministries later, aware of the smallness of my successes, I rejoice in what God has done through
me.
St. Vincent de Paul began his work with local “charities,” inviting the people of the villages to
organize their assistance to those in need. Those “charities” often grew into local organizations

which coordinated services in the area. Does this sound familiar to your local Catholic Charities
agencies? It is not a coincidence—the works of charity are the embodiment of the Gospel, and all
of us, you, me and Vincent, are living out the same call.
You, like the recipient of Vincent’s letter, may often feel the pain of not having sufficient
resources to accomplish all that you see is desperately needed in our world today.
But you, like him, are called to calm fidelity to your duties through the prayer, collaboration,
integrity, courage, creativity, and good humor modeled so well by Vincent.
Like him, you may recognize your own poverty.
Like him, you will not know the growth that will come from the seeds you plant and nourish.
Like him, you are called to use your gifts to do the little you can to the best of your ability.
Like him, you are called to be faithful—to know that you are among the few who have been
called; and to be calm—knowing that you are in partnership with God.
Sr. Mary Louise Stubbs, D.C.
Executive Director, Daughters of Charity International Project Services
(Editor’s note: Besides her direct service to ministries of her own religious order, Sr. Stubbs has committed many years of
service to a number of Catholic Charities agencies. We are privileged to receive her reflection on the feast day of her order’s cofounder and patron saint of social service workers.)

September 25, 2014
Anniversary of the Founding of the Catholic Charities Network
Several weeks ago, I met Alice McKeon, who is researching the life of Msgr. John O’Grady.
Msgr. O’Grady headed what is now our Catholic Charities network from 1920-1961, the longest
administrator in our network’s 104 year history. It was no small wonder that Alice and I met a
few hundred yards from where our network was born, on the campus of The Catholic University
of America. Alice is the biographer; I am a humble former life archivist and college history
major. Our discussion reminded me of a few trademarks of the foundation of our network.
1. The network is rooted in our Catholic identity. When Msgr. William Kirby invited
hundreds of Catholic social service providers to The Catholic University of America for
the 1910 convening, he did it under the auspices of the nation’s national Catholic
university. Invitees were Catholic social service professionals from men’s and women’s
Catholic religious orders and Catholic dioceses. Our network has been solidly Catholic
since its envisioning.
2. Early leaders were truly renaissance people and extremely hard workers! Consider the
life of Msgr. O’Grady, for example. He was not only a long time Executive Secretary of

our network, but served as a professor, academic dean, published author, administrator
for the U.S. Bishops conference, and chaplain “on the side.” Our network leaders stand
on the shoulders of tireless servants for God’s kingdom.
3. What was to be gained by dozens of Catholic social service providers maintaining their
autonomy while joining a national network? Establishment of professional standards for
social work accreditation and quality formation and training were important selling points
in 1910 and remain priorities for Catholic Charities today.
The anniversary of the foundation of our network is an appropriate time to thank God for the
efforts of our founders and donors who have supported us for 104 years. Furthermore, as we
celebrate our last anniversary celebration under the leadership of Fr. Larry Snyder, may we pause
a moment to thank God for Fr. Larry’s ministry to our Catholic Charities network for twenty
plus years and pray for the inspiration of the search committee that will select our next President.
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Manager of Mission Resources and Data
September 5, 2014
Anniversary of the Death of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Today is the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death. What I remember most vividly of the
circumstances of her 1997 passing is the event’s eclipse by the media frenzy surrounding the
August 31 death and September 6 funeral of Lady Diana. It seemed as though Mother Teresa
was “lost in the shuffle.” I later realized that this was just the way Mother would have wanted
it.
After I moved to Memphis, I was able to observe the work of Mother Teresa from a different
perspective. Her order of nuns runs a shelter for homeless women and children. My first
encounter was when a lady in our prayer group wanted to purchase ceiling fans for the nuns. This
idea was quickly rejected because the nuns do not accept materials which can make them more
comfortable than those they serve. Then a hardened, cynical social minister who had worked in
the crime ridden neighborhood of the shelter said to me, “Day and night, those women (the nuns)
walk two by two with their rosaries and Bibles in neighborhoods where tough men would not go
in daylight with shotguns.” Something that I would add to these anecdotes is that the nuns also
chose to operate under the radar without seeking attention or publicity.
What does this have to do with those of us in the CCUSA network? I see the anniversary of
Mother Teresa’s death as a good time to reflect on her simple message to the world. Sometimes
our day to day life gets caught up in funding, outcomes, metrics, systems (name your own here).
Or we think that we have to find just the right way to word something that is accurate, to the
point, or supported by the correct data or theology. All of these things are important and should

not be neglected. What I would suggest, though, is to use the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s
death to ponder her view of her role with those who are poor. Coming face to face with those
who are poor every day in my Catholic Charities parking lot, I contend that our clients would
agree with Mother Teresa’s modus of operation: when you are hungry or sick, you do not care
about anything but being immediately fed or cared for.
I bet that I am not the only one challenged by wanting to implement Mother Teresa’s style and
preference of and for urgent care AND the promotion of structural change to eliminate poverty.
Therese Gustaitis
Director of Parish Social Ministry, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee
Labor Day
September 1, 2014
I Corinthians 2: 1-5, Luke 4: 16-30
In a letter to Pope Leo XIII in 1889 defending the rights of working families and various labor
organizations, Archbishop of Baltimore James Cardinal Gibbons wrote, “(As) the one body in the
world which had been the protector off the poor and the weak for nearly 1800 years, (we) could
not possibly desert these same classes in their hour of need.”
Today, as we celebrate Labor Day, these words remind us that the Church continues to
accompany those who struggle to make ends meet, especially families trying to balance their
lives and find meaningful work and opportunities. Persons like Janette Navarro, a single mom,
come to mind. Her story resembles that of many other families we see daily in our Catholic
Charities’ agencies who struggle to obtain economic security while balancing their work and
family life.
Pope Francis continues to express the Church’s desire to be in solidarity (“Solidarity highlights
in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity
and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed
unity,” Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, #192) with those who struggle to
balance work and family obligations. Church representatives from around the world will be
reflecting on such realities of families during the October 5-19, 2014 Extraordinary Synod on
the Family in Rome. Those gathered in Rome will have time to reflect on this important
statement found in the Instrumentum Laboris (“preparatory document”):
All responses, treating the impact of work on the well-being of the family, make
reference to the difficulty of coordinating the communal aspects of family living with the
excessive demands of work, which require of the family a greater flexibility. . . Some
parts of the world are showing signs of the price being paid by the family as a result of
economic growth and development, not to mention the much broader effects produced by
the economic crisis and the instability of the labor market. Increasing job insecurity,
together with the growth of unemployment and the consequent need to travel greater
distances to work, have taken their toll on family life, resulting in, among other things, a

weakening of family relationships and the gradual isolation of persons, causing even
greater anxiety. (The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization:
Instrumentum Laboris, #70)
In this light, Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on
Domestic Justice and Human Development, released the annual Labor Day Statement. It
reflects on the current struggles of youth and young adult unemployment and underemployment
in the U.S. and around the world. He writes:
Greater numbers of debt-strapped college graduates move back in with their parents,
while high school graduates and others may have less debt but very few decent job
opportunities. Pope Francis has reserved some of his strongest language for speaking
about young adult unemployment, calling it “evil,” an “atrocity,” and emblematic of the
“throwaway culture.”
The Archbishop continues to remind us that families and individuals cannot always do it alone.
The Church and other institutions, and positive social policies, are still needed. He reflects:
At their best, labor unions and institutions like them embody solidarity and subsidiarity
while advancing the common good. They help workers ‘not only have more, but above
all be more... [and] realize their humanity more fully in every respect’ (Laborem
Exercens, No. 20). Yes, unions and worker associations are imperfect, as are all human
institutions. But the right of workers to freely associate is supported by Church teaching
in order to protect workers and move them--especially younger ones, through mentoring
and apprenticeships--into decent jobs with just wages….
Supporting policies and institutions that create decent jobs, pay just wages, and support
family formation and stability will also honor the dignity of workers. Raising the
minimum wage, more and better workforce training programs, and smarter regulations
that minimize negative unintended consequences would be good places to start.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us about His calling and mission. Jesus proclaims (Luke 4: 1819):
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the
poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to
let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
We too are called to live out that mission by sharing “good news” with those who struggle each
day. Our services and ministries that help families and workers are rooted in that call and in the
Tradition of the Church. During this Labor Day celebration, let us give thanks for the many
gifts we have to share to provide help and create hope.
Brian Corbin
Sr. Vice President Social Policy, Catholic Charities USA

August 15, 2014
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56
Fr. Kevin Irwin provides a helpful historical background to today’s solemnity in Sunday
Worship: A Planning Guide to Celebration (New York, Pueblo Publishing Company, 1983:
Despite the rather recent declaration (November 1, 1950) of the
dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the origin
of the feast commemorating her assumption can be traced to
the fifth century Palestine, and the selection of August 15 as the
date for the celebration dates from the sixth century. The feast
became common in Rome in the seventh and eighth centuries
and spread to the universal Church in the eighth century. This
lag between liturgical observance and a dogmatic declaration
merely shows that the liturgy does not celebrate “dogmas”;
liturgical celebrations are expressions of piety which grew from
popular understandings and sensibilities, and not because of
Church decree. The best way to understand the liturgical
observance of any feast is to look primarily at its prayers and
readings, and not seek to impose on the language and genre of
worship the subtleties of dogmatic declaration.
On the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Catholic community celebrates
the “special place” that God has prepared for the one who bears Christ into the world. Mary has
the distinct and challenging honor to not only birth the one who will reconcile all things to
himself, but she will also help nurture him “in wisdom and age and favor” (Luke 2:52). In her
most famous prayer, the Magnificat (today’s Gospel), Mary shares with Elizabeth her own
understanding of God’s plan and purpose for redemption (Luke 1: 52-53), “He has thrown down
the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.”
We need to be able to recognize how Jesus understood his own divine mission through the
theological orientation and guidance provided by Mary his mother. His earliest public declaration
was very consistent with Mary’s vision when he identified himself with the passage from Isaiah
in which God sends his servant “to bring glad tidings to the poor” and “to proclaim liberty to
captives” (Luke 4: 18).
Mary is able to serve God by helping to shape Jesus’ divine mission. She journeys with him and
the apostles by bringing forth the Kingdom of God on earth. Her faith recognizes that amidst all
the challenges and suffering that she and her son will face for this divine purpose, God will never
abandon her. Today we recall how God brought Mary into the center of our own spiritual world
and how she continues to guide us in promoting this vision articulated so well in the Magnificat.

As disciples of Christ who venerate Mary and share her vision, let us allow ourselves to be
formed by her words. May we be conscious of how we will continue this divine mission in a
world that is desperately in need of the “Good News.”
John Gonzalez
Parish Social Ministry Developer, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
August 7, 2014
287th Anniversary of the Ursuline Sisters Mission in New Orleans
Have you ever been asked to leave your comfort zone and begin a new ministry or position in a
foreign land? We sometimes use the expression “Abraham move,” named after the Jewish
patriarch who left his home in Haran, despite his advanced years, to found a new nation in the
land of Canaan (Genesis 3).
My Wisconsin based religious community, St. Norbert Abbey, has begun two new foundations
since 1985, to serve the Hispanic community in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (1985) and to serve
the African American community in the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi (1990). Each outreach
began with all of our priests and brothers discussing whether we were able to “take on” these
additional ministries and included months of research, spiritual discernment, and site visits by
one of our members to several dioceses in the southwest and southeast.
Nearly 300 years ago, Ursuline Sisters in France, with a lot fewer financial and personnel
resources and limited 18th century transportation and communication tools, two priests, and one
religious brother boarded the Gironde for a five month voyage across the Atlantic to begin a new
mission in New Orleans. Their arrival on August 7, 1727, is recognized by both Catholic
Charities and the Catholic Health Association as the first organized effort by the Catholic Church
to establish human and health services in the present day United States of America. Their 18th
century efforts include the oldest continuously operating school for women and the oldest
Catholic school in the United States (independent of the students’ race, religion, ethnicity, or
economic status) and the first children’s orphanage and refuge for battered women.
The Ursuline Core Values and Ideals that inspired Ursuline Mother Marie St. Augustin
Tranchepain and her supporters in 1727 continue to guide these gallant woman today: spiritual
formation and faith development; respect for the uniqueness of the individual; development of
the whole person; development of a nurturing community spirit; commitment to peacemaking;
serviam, (“I will serve”) as a lived reality; academic excellence; and the ideals of courtesy,
loyalty and courage.
The Catholic Charities network and the Catholic Health Association celebrated their joint lineage
to the Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans in Chicago in 2002. Ursuline Sr. Carla Dolce reminded
those gathered in 2002 and reminds us today, “…We could be pioneering because we lived the
tradition of the Ursulines. Angela [Sr. Angela Merici, 1474-1540, Foundress of the Ursuline
Sisters] felt herself unconditionally loved; horizons had no meaning except for new
possibilities….You are our new pioneers. Be confident in yourselves and God and don’t let

operational impediments deter you from your ultimate mission. You are on the edge of a new
world none of us can imagine. We are excited to be even a small part of that future.”
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA
Sources
Harris, Mary Lee Berner. Email to the author “Ursuline Vision, Mission, Core Values and Ideals.” 1 August 2014.
Herro, Steven. “Anniversary of the Aug. 7, 1727 landing of the Ursuline Sisters in New Orleans. Online posting. 7
August 2012.
“Ursulines Honored at Closing Ceremonies.” Charities USA Third Quarter 2002: 23.

July 4, 2014
Independence Day
For me, July 4th will always be associated with something that happened in 1968. As
a five year old, I remember going with my dad on a hot day in June to a train station
in Philadelphia, where a large crowd of people stood silently on the platform. I asked
my dad if we were going to get on the train with all these people, and he said no,
we were waiting for a train to pass. It was carrying the body of a good man who
had been shot and killed. I remember asking him, “If he were a good man, why did
somebody shoot him?” Dad explained that sometimes when good people try to do
the right thing, they put themselves in danger of being hurt by other people who
don’t like them for what they are doing. That day, I saw the funeral train of Bobby
Kennedy go by, with the car carrying his body all draped in red, white and blue.
Some cried; others prayed. I wondered what this man was trying to do that made
someone kill him. Just a month later, as we celebrated Independence Day on July 4,
something in me forever connected the American flags waving in the front yards
around the neighborhood with that bunting on Kennedy’s train; somehow I
understood that what we were celebrating was so important that sometimes people
would die for it.
Much later I would learn that Robert F. Kennedy had promised to end the Vietnam
War if elected President, that he once said “...I believe that, as long as there is
plenty, poverty is evil (Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).” He was so troubled by the
abject poverty that he saw in places as different as Harlem and rural Mississippi that
he professed his vision of an America where such things cannot continue in the face
of our indifference, “It is not given to us to right every wrong, to make perfect all
the imperfections of the world. But neither is it given to us to sit content in our
storehouses, dieting while others starve, buying 8 million new cars a year while
most of the world goes without shoes. We are simply not doing enough (U.S. Senate,
July 21, 1966).”

America celebrates today as our national birthday, the advent of a new day of
freedom, equality, and opportunity for all people. Today we would do well to reflect
on the meaning of those words we all learned as children, “I pledge allegiance to
the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one
nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
These simple yet profound words spoken with hand over heart represent the heart
of what the signers of the Declaration of Independence embraced when they
“mutually pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
They understood what was at stake, as Philadelphia’s favorite son, Benjamin
Franklin, observed as he signed the declaration, “We must all hang together, or
assuredly we shall all hang separately.” I think those words capture what
Independence Day means – hanging together, being “one nation under God,
indivisible” because that is how God sees us, as one human family, one people
equal in dignity. That is the basis for our pledge, our sacred promise to uphold
liberty and justice not for some, not just for the privileged, not just for those like us
or those we like, but for ALL.
The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were a diverse lot who
held a shared belief, “… that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and
the pursuit of Happiness….” They were certain that our most cherished rights and
duties as human beings were given to each and to all of us by God, and thus not
subject to the changing whims of any political leader no matter how powerful, nor to
the fickle tides of public opinion or political party platforms. They held these truths
to be “self-evident”; this seems bold to claim today when so little is accepted by all
people as undeniable truth. Yet as Jesus once said, the truth is there to know and
understand for all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. That is the basic
premise of the Founding Fathers’ appeal to universal reason for their opposition to
tyranny and oppression: certain unalienable rights are grounded in “the Laws of
Nature and of Nature’s God.”
What’s more, July 4th is about recognizing our shared commitment to work toward
the common good, which is a basic tenet of Catholic social teaching. The United
States Catholic Bishops wrote, "While the common good embraces all, those who
are weak, vulnerable, and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral
test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst. In a society
marred by deepening disparities between rich and poor, Scripture gives us the story
of the Last Judgment [see Mt 25:31-46] and reminds us that we will be judged by our
response to the 'least among us,'" (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB
2007, #50). Catholic Charities agencies across the country daily and dutifully serve
as both a sign and instrument of genuine and heartfelt concern for those that Lady
Liberty so eloquently welcomes, “… your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to be free.” This is America at its best, with the vocation to charity and
justice as a hallmark of what makes us proud to be American.

For the celebration of Eucharist (literally, “thanksgiving”) today, the Church offers
the option of readings for a ritual Mass for our country, for those who serve in public
office, and for peace and justice. Among those choices is this excerpt from the
prophet Isaiah, “...The work of justice will be peace; the effect of justice, calm and
security forever. My people will live in peaceful country, in secure dwellings and
quiet resting places (Isaiah 32: 15-18).” The message is clear, echoing Pope Paul VI’s
famous words, “If you want peace, work for justice,” (Message for the World Day of
Peace, Jan. 1, 1972). So as we give thanks today - both in our prayers and our festive
celebrations with friends and family – may our appreciation for the blessings of
living in the United State of America be wed to an unwavering commitment to
uphold the lofty ideals upon which this great nation was erected. Let us join our
spirits to the aspirations of the collect (Opening Prayer) for Mass in the United
States today:
Father of all nations and ages, we recall the day
when our country claimed its place among the family of nations;
for what has been achieved we give you thanks,
for the work that still remains we ask your help,
and as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation,
grant that, under your providence,
our country may share your blessings
with all the peoples of the earth.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Edward J. Lis
Director of Mission Effectiveness & Communications, Catholic Social Services
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

June 29, 2014
Solemnity of Peter and Paul, Apostles
Acts of the Apostles 12: 1-11; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 17-18; Matthew 16: 13-19
“The Question Posed by Jesus”
The Good Shepherd, Jesus, reaches for us by any means possible. In the cases of Ss. Peter and
Paul, he reaches with a question. God asks questions throughout Scripture; to Adam, after the
Fall, He asks, “Where are you (Genesis 3: 9)?” To Peter, after the Resurrection, He asks, “Do
you love me (John 21: 15)?” To Paul, after Pentecost, He asks, “Why do you persecute Me (Acts
of the Apostles 9: 4)?” These questions are also for us—particularly on this, the feast of Ss. Peter
and Paul. We, as men and women, must respond with truth and forthrightness to Jesus’ question
to us. Our response, though, must be with our entire person—and this means responding with our
thoughts, our words, and our deeds.

This response is not really to satisfy Jesus, for He already knows the answer. This response is for
us. When we respond in truth with, “Lord, You know everything, you know that I love You,” we
can then love ourselves, as the greatest commandment tells us. When we acknowledge God’s allknowing love for us and accept it, we are then able to truly love ourselves. When we truly love
ourselves, we may truly love others. When we truly love others, ourselves, and God, we fulfill
the commandment.
This response means not only acknowledging our inmost thoughts to God, but also incarnating
that love to another. Both St.s Peter and Paul did this in specific ways. Peter, the Rock,
symbolizes the cornerstone of the post Christian community, as he was called by Christ to lead
his followers. Peter, who denied all connection to the Lord three times during Jesus’ passion,
repented, wept, and was forgiven. When St. Peter acknowledged His love to Jesus’ triplicate
question, he was then able to incarnate that love by looking into the eyes of a crippled man
outside the Temple and giving him what he had—the Name of Jesus (Acts of the Apostles 3: 110). The Name of Jesus is Love, for Jesus is God.
The response of St. Paul, on the other hand, was different. St. Paul’s response was one of
humility. His blindness of heart and mind became blindness in body, for he denied Christ through
his persecution of the Church, who is the Body of Christ. After St. Paul recovered from his
blindness, he went into the desert of Arabia in order to prepare for his mission. St. Paul’s zeal for
righteousness had then been transformed into proper zeal for the Kingdom of God. That zeal
would be zeal with others by conferring with Cephas (Peter). After this meeting with another, he
began to proclaim the Gospel to others, bringing them into the very Body of Christ he once
persecuted.
Why are these responses important? Personally, both my own birth name (Paul) and confirmation
name (Peter) have deep meaning for me. Peter, the “Rock,” represents the unity of the Church,
the solidity of her mission, and her solidarity with the entire world proclaiming the Good News.
His response to Jesus and the crippled man displays the unity of the Church to throughout space
and across time. Paul, the “Small One,” had a zealous humility that extended to the Gentiles, lit
the world aflame with true charity found in Christ and extended to all men and women. Like
these two saints, I seek to feed and tend the lambs and sheep of Jesus by incarnating love to
them, and to proclaim this love to all whom I encounter—and that is the reason I work at
Catholic Charities Fort Worth.
For Catholic Charities across the United States, our mission is to reduce poverty. We do this be
responding to the question that Jesus posed St. Peter, “Do you love me?” Our response is feeding
his poor lambs, tending his sheep, providing hope and joy to all individuals who come to our
doors. We reduce poverty by responding with love to each person we encounter. Catholic
Charities mission is in its very name. Catholic, for we are universal in scope, universal in reach,
and universal in the persons that we serve. Charity, for we possess a self-giving, self-sacrificing
love that has its origin in God Himself. Thus, when we are posed a question by another, we
respond joyfully with, “I work for universal, self-giving, self-sacrificing love.”
Paul Crnovich
Parish Relations Program Manager, Catholic Charities of Ft. Worth

June 27, 2014
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Deuteronomy 7: 6-11; I John 4: 7-16; Matthew 11: 25-30
When I was a little girl growing up in New Rochelle, NY, I attended St. Gabriel School and
Church. I loved going into the small old stone church, which was built by the Islins as their
personal family chapel, before it was donated to the Archdiocese of New York as a parish church.
In the back of the church was an alcove with an altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I
would frequently go and kneel before the altar, light a candle and gaze upon the heart of Jesus. I
was so impressed by this image and would imagine Jesus’ all encompassing love for me and all
of us with his arms outstretched. It became my favorite symbol of Jesus throughout my
childhood and into my adult life. I even purchased a statue of the Sacred Heart when I was about
8 years old at the Salesian Bookstore in town and have it still to this day.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and all throughout today’s readings we
hear about God’s love for his people. In fact, sacred Scripture is the greatest love story ever told
written by God for humankind.
In the First Reading, Moses tells the people “the Lord set his heart on you and chose you…
because the Lord loves you. In the Second Reading from 1 John, God asks us to love one
another as we have been loved. God is pure love and if we remain in love we also remain in God
and God in us. How assuring these words are to us. We also read that it is “not that we have
loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins…so we must love each
other (I John 4: 10).”
Today we are confronted almost every day with disturbing news in the media of wars and
tragedies. We encounter strife in our workplaces and possibly in our own homes. Relationships
are strained. People work too much. Children are overwhelmed with too many activities. We
try to help one another whenever we can but sometimes we can’t seem to find the time. How can
we survive such an existence? Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew’s Gospel when he says,
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon
you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light (Matthew 11: 29-30).” Jesus will help us find rest-replenishment and rejuvenation to continue his work on earth!
Let us reflect on these readings today and relinquish the things that weigh us down to the One
who loves us. Let us learn from the Master, who was sent to us by a loving God to show us how
to live in peace by being the love of God to others in our world.

I may not always succeed, but when I am weighed down, I continue to gaze upon that image of
Jesus with outstretched arms and his exposed heart, who reminds us of how much we are loved.
May we all find rest in Jesus, and continue to be God’s love in our world.
Fran Rajotte
Director of Advocacy and Social Concerns, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc.
Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist
June 24, 2014
Isaiah 49: 1-6; Acts of the Apostles 13: 22-26; Luke 1: 57-66, 80
Even though Jesus said, “…I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John;
yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he (Luke 7: 28)….” we also know that the
Nativity of John the Baptist is the only birth, other than that of Jesus, recognized in the Roman
Catholic liturgical calendar as a solemnity.
As we walk through life, each of us lives out many roles -- spouse, parent, friend, or counselor to
name a few. And let’s not forget our role as Christians. God has a special role for each of us in
his grand plan. Today’s readings showcase Christians that starred in memorable roles, roles that
were crafted for them before they were born.


David was just a boy, surely too young to play a big role in God’s plan. But God knew his
heart and made him the king of his people
Elizabeth and Zechariah were thought to be barren, surely too old to have a major part in
God’s plan. But God used their age to send a strong message the nothing is impossible
for God and that their son was to be something special.
John the Baptist was the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets. He was the
frontrunner, the advance publicity man for Jesus. He was eccentric and unconventional,
an unlikely herald, but God knew the passion John would bring to his role and that he
would know when it was time to decrease so Jesus could take the lead. He performed his
role to perfection.

Working with God yields rich meaningful roles; he’s the ultimate director. He knows the big
picture; he knows us and just how to use our talents to let our light shine. And in today’s
Gospel, we read that Elizabeth and Zechariah departed from the norm by not naming their son
Zechariah, but rather John, forecasting that their son would be different.
As we work to reduce poverty in the United States, “What more is God asking us to do?” Maybe
it’s organizing a food co-op with local farmers. Maybe it’s seeking out jobs for those who need
work. Maybe it’s encouraging those on the margins that God hasn’t forgotten them, offering
hope as they continue working the system. Our challenge is to listen to where God is calling us
and take that direction.
The characters in today’s readings said YES to God’s casting call and his direction enabled the
grand plan to unfold and salvation to be brought to the world. The same rich role awaits you.
Will you say YES to God’s casting call?

Deacon Scott Haner
Member of the CCUSA Parish Social Ministry Section; Catholic Community of St. Patrick Louisville, KY
June 22, 2014
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14b-16a; I Corinthians 10: 16-17; John 6: 51-58
Perhaps my First Communion is so memorable because my oldest brother Jerome corrected me
after consuming the blood of Christ for the first time, “Don’t wipe your mouth off with your shirt
sleeve.” 
My friend Helen is a lifelong Catholic and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and
Catholic social activist. After a disagreement with a Church authority, she once resolutely shared
with me, “We’re not leaving. We have the Eucharist.”
Did Helen realize the impact of her proclamation as a commentary on today’s Gospel
(“….Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living
Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have
life because of me….[John 6: 56-57]”). Helen imparted to me the strength provided to her by
body and blood of Christ. It is real food that sustains her to continue to live the life of Christ as
no other force can.
Retired Archdiocese of Milwaukee shepherds Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Bishop
Richard Sklba wrote “Eucharist Without Walls: A Vision of the Church for the Year 2000.”
They wrote in part, “…We are Eucharist in the way we love, challenge, and support one another
in living our faith in God. We are Eucharist when we become Christ’s presence daily to our
family members, our neighbors, our co-workers—to all whom we encounter in every realm of
our lives….become the living symbol of Eucharist without walls.”
We are fortunate to live within the frames of our Catholic Charities agencies and parishes. Every
day, we are privileged to share the presence of Jesus Christ with those seeking a national
homeland, relief from natural disasters, shelter, food, emotional or spiritual counsel, safety from
abusive relationships, and or the teaching of the life of Christ. We are the bearers of the Body
and Blood of Christ without walls.
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA
June 15, 2014
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Exodus 34: 4b-6, 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13; John 3: 16-18

I’m honored to write this reflection on the Trinity. It is truly one of the great mysteries but also
an important feast for the Church. When I reflect upon the Trinity, I’m always struck how the
early Church came to realize that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
They had experienced the Father through their ancestry of the Old Testament and their belief that
their Creator had made a covenant on Mount Sinai and made them His chosen people. It took
them a while, but certainly after the Resurrection, they recognized that Jesus was not just a
teacher or prophet, but was and is the Son of God. At the Last Supper, Jesus promised he would
send an advocate, the Paraclete, who would give them words to speak and the courage to make
Jesus known to any and all willing to listen. From the time of Pentecost, that Spirit guided them
and all their efforts to share the presence of Jesus with others. So they came to recognize the
three persons and presence of God through their own personal experience. The opportunity to
experience the wonder of God’s goodness came to them through the experience of God as
Creator, God as Savior and God as Sanctifier.
How do we experience God? And, more importantly, how do our clients experience God through
us? We are God’s hands, ears, eyes and mouth in making His presence known, particularly to the
vulnerable and needy in our midst. On this great Sunday of the Church year, we celebrate
relationships: a God who is Triune, a God who loves us unconditionally, and a people of God,
called to reach out who make sure all are included in our ministry and love. It is hard to
comprehend, but in fact, we experience the Trinity and then share it each and every day through
the work that we do. According to the I John 4: 16b “God is love and that he who abides in love,
abides in God and God in him.”
Enjoy giving the gift of love, God’s presence to all you meet this week.
For further reflection:
1. Can you think of an experience over the past few weeks when God has clearly used you
to make His presence known through your ministry?
2. Are you able to see God, not only in those you serve, but also in your co-workers?
3. If you had to describe the Trinity to those you serve, how would you share that great
mystery with them?
Monsignor John Enzler
President/CEO , Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
February 8, 2014
Optional Memorial St. Josephine Bakhita
“St. Josephine Bakhita was born in southern Sudan in 1869. As a young girl, she was kidnapped
and sold into slavery. Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and Karthoum, she was treated
brutally by her captors. She did not remember the name she was given by her parents. Bakhita,
which means “fortunate one,” was the name given to her by her kidnappers.

“In 1883, she was bought by an Italian diplomat who sent her to Italy to work as a maid for the
daughter of a family friend studying with the Canossian Daughters of Charity. It was there that
Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing”
who God was. In 1890, she was baptized and received the name Josephine.
“Later, the Italian family came to take their “property” back to Africa. Josephine expressed her
desire to stay. When the family insisted she go, she remained firm, later writing: “I am sure the
Lord gave me strength at that moment.” With the support of the superior of the Canossian Sisters
and the Cardinal of Venice, she won her freedom and later entered the novitiate. For the next 50
years she lived a life of prayer and service as a Canossian Sister before her death in 1947.
“St. Josephine was canonized in 2000. There is a grassroots movement to designate her as the
patron saint of kidnapped and trafficked persons.” (U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human
Trafficking, “Prayer Service for an End to Human Trafficking”)
Why is the life of St. Josephine of particular significance to our Catholic Charities network? The
2013 Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey reported that 33 agencies served 156 victims of
domestic trafficking and 26 agencies served 422 international trafficking victims. In 2013,
Catholic Charities also produced the report “Providers of Services to Human Trafficking.”
May we pray today for the intercession of St. Josephine to benefit the victims of trafficking and
human slavery AND the ministry of our Catholic Charities colleagues and others who are called
to address what Pope Francis has called, “…a vile activity, a disgrace to our societies that claim
to be civilized….”
St. Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured untold hardship
and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in
your encounter with Christ and his Church.
O St. Bakhita, assist all those who are trapped in a state of slavery; intercede with God
on their behalf so that they will be released from their chains of captivity. Those whom man
enslaves, let God set free.
Provide comfort to survivors of slavery and let them look to you as an example of hope
and faith. Help all survivors find healing from their wounds. We ask for your prayers and
intercessions for those enslaved among us. AMEN. (United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops, Migration and Refugee Services)
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA
January 31, 2014
Memorial of St. John Bosco (“Apostle of Pastoral Charity”)
(Editor’s note—The Catholic Charities Network wishes all of the priests, brothers, and sisters of the Society of St.
Francis de Sales [Salesians] and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians [Salesian Sisters] a happy founder’s day.

We stand on the shoulders of giants, not the least of whom was St. John Bosco, who flourished 75 years before the
founding of CCUSA. And did you know that CCUSA is collaborating this year with Don Bosco Cristo Rey School,
administered by the Salesians and the Archdiocese of Washington, by hosting two student assistants who provide 24
hours of office assistance every week?)

On the occasion of the centennial of Don Bosco’s (St. John Bosco is often referred to as “Don”
Bosco, “Don” being an Italian form for “Father”) in 1988, Pope John Paul II designated him as
the “Father and Teacher of Youth.” The saint from Turin in northwestern Italy is known around
the world for the work he founded on behalf of poor and abandoned young people as well as for
unevangelized peoples.
In the same year of his ordination, 1841, Don Bosco began catechizing youths from the streets of
Turin, a city undergoing rapid growth and industrialization amid political turmoil. He had
already met juveniles in the city’s jails, and he made it his goal to keep other youngsters from
going to jail by turning them into “upright citizens and good Christians.” Catechism lessons were
followed by finding them good employment as apprentices, laborers, and shop clerks. Realizing
the need for schooling, Don Bosco opened a night school.
After securing a permanent home for his “oratory”—the program of work, play, and guidance
that he was running under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales—he opened a hostel for orphans
and migrants. To provide an environment safer both physically and morally for his apprentice
blacksmiths, bookbinders, and tailors, he undertook to build his own shops at his oratory. That
was soon followed by classrooms so that the young students staying with him wouldn’t have to
go into the city to their tutors.
In all his work, Don Bosco enlisted the assistance of priests and lay people to teach catechism,
provide work and study opportunities, and support his enterprise financially. He appealed to
them by calling the salvation of the young one of the noblest works of Christian charity as well
as one of great advantage to society. Even the anticlericals running the government supported
him.
Don Bosco impressed upon his boys, also, the need to practice charity toward their neighbors. He
founded a mutual aid society among them so that sick or injured workers could be cared for. He
was one of the founders of Turin’s branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and involved his
older boys in that. When cholera devastated the city in 1854, he sent his boys out to assist the
sick and dying, assuring them that as long as they were in the state of grace they would be safe
(and they were).
Both public officials and Pope Pius IX urged him to secure the future of his pastoral work by
founding a society to make it permanent. From among his own young men he gathered the first
members of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, or Salesians, in 1859. Today the Salesians are
present in 130 countries and are the second-largest religious order in the Church. With St. Mary
Mazzarello he founded the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, or Salesian Sisters, in 1872;
they are now the largest congregation of religious women in the Church.
Don Bosco had once thought about becoming a missionary. That never happened. But the
missionary ideal induced him to send some of his best Salesians to foreign lands, beginning in

1875: to give pastoral care to Italian immigrants as well as to evangelize people who had never
heard the Gospel. Around the world Salesian men and women have established missions that
include churches, schools, youth centers, hostels, medical clinics, and more—works of both
spiritual and material charity. They have also provided safe havens in times of trouble, e.g., for
people displaced after Haiti’s terrible earthquake, for refugees from warfare and violence in
Congo, Syria, Central African Republic, and South Sudan.
All that began, Don Bosco said, with a Hail Mary and a catechism lesson. It has been driven,
since 1841, by a zeal for the total good of people, especially the poorest and neediest of God’s
children.
Father Michael Mendl, SDB
Editor, New Rochelle Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco, New Rochelle, NY
January 20, 2013
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
…Jesus told a parable one day, and he reminded us that a man went to hell because he didn’t see
the poor. His name was Dives. He was a rich man. And there was a man by the name of Lazarus
who was a poor man, but not only was he poor, he was sick. Sores were all over his body, and he
was so weak that he could hardly move. But he managed to get to the gate of Dives every day,
wanting just to have the crumbs that would fall from his table. And Dives did nothing about it.
And the parable ends saying, "Dives went to hell, and there were a fixed gulf now between
Lazarus and Dives."
There is nothing in that parable that said Dives went to hell because he was rich. Jesus never
made a universal indictment against all wealth. It is true that one day a rich young ruler came to
him, and he advised him to sell all, but in that instance Jesus was prescribing individual surgery
and not setting forth a universal diagnosis. And if you will look at that parable with all of its
symbolism, you will remember that a conversation took place between heaven and hell, and on
the other end of that long-distance call between heaven and hell was Abraham in heaven talking
to Dives in hell.
Now Abraham was a very rich man. If you go back to the Old Testament, you see that he was the
richest man of his day, so it was not a rich man in hell talking with a poor man in heaven; it was
a little millionaire in hell talking with a multimillionaire in heaven. Dives didn’t go to hell
because he was rich; Dives didn’t realize that his wealth was his opportunity. It was his
opportunity to bridge the gulf that separated him from his brother Lazarus. Dives went to hell
because he was passed by Lazarus every day and he never really saw him. He went to hell
because he allowed his brother to become invisible. Dives went to hell because he maximized the
minimum and minimized the maximum. Indeed, Dives went to hell because he sought to be a
conscientious objector in the war against poverty…. (See Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

“Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution,” National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., March
31, 1968.)
Monique’s life as advocate began as a high school senior in Washington D.C. in 1985. A
marcher in her school’s band, she joined her classmates in the Martin Luther King Day parade.
During their bus ride, they passed through a downtown corridor that had not yet recovered from
the riots inspired by Dr. King’s assassination 17 years before; the impact was not lost on them.
Joyful high school seniors discussed the pros and cons of nonviolent struggle and sang the song
created by Stevie Wonder just for this day, “Happy Birthday to You.” They were honored to be
residents of the first city to recognize the life and accomplishments of this great man by
proclaiming his birthday a holiday. They gained strength and inspiration from his life story.
Plans were hatched to help convince the rest of the country to follow their holiday lead.
Last summer, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s March on Washington.
Though the 100,000+ person assembly at the Lincoln Memorial was not intended to specifically
highlight Dr. King, it was Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, one of the final features of the
day, that is most remembered today.
In 2014, we have the honor to serve in Jackson, Mississippi for Catholic Charities, Inc.,--Diocese
of Jackson (Mississippi) and in Alexandria, Virginia for Catholic Charities USA. Fifty years ago
this month, President Lyndon Johnson declared the United States War on Poverty. As Catholic
Charities staff, we reflect on Dr. King’s comments on poverty from his speech “Remaining
Awake Through a Great Revolution.” He did not sugar coat words when speaking out against
poverty (or racism or the Vietnam War, either). How have we taken Monique’s drive for
advocacy born on Martin Luther King Day, 1985 to help Catholic Charities reduce poverty in
America, 2014?
Our Catholic faith reminds us that we deepen our relationship with God most significantly when
we enter into relationship with those who are poor. To paraphrase Dr. King, may God endow all
of us with the strength to seize the opportunity “to separate the gulf between ourselves and the
Lazarus’ ” that we meet in our ministry through our agencies and parishes.
Monique Davis
Director of Parish Based Ministries;
Catholic Charities, Inc.—Diocese of Jackson
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic
Charities USA

January 2014
Poverty Awareness Month
(Editor’s Note: For a number of years, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has marked January as
“Poverty Awareness Month.” Visit povertyusa.org for resources to help you, your agency, and your congregation
increase you knowledge of the state of poverty in the U.S.)

Words are a powerful tool used on the playground of life. Growing up in western Nebraska,
there were many different words and sayings I would hear from the adults around me when
speaking about poverty--“God helps those who help themselves” or maybe, “It’s just part of
God’s plan.” When I was a child, I would consider these words at face value and not really think
about the meaning behind each word or phrase. It was not until I started to question motivations
and the words used that I began to think and talk about people who live in poverty differently.
In full disclosure, I’m taking my cues from Pope Francis these days. He continues to share with
the world his own understanding of how to engage with our neighbors. “Poverty that is learned
with the humble, the poor, the sick and all those who are on the existential peripheries of life.
Theoretical poverty is of no use to us. Poverty is learned by touching the flesh of the poor Christ,
in the humble, the poor, the sick, in children (“Address of Pope Francis to the Participants in the
Plenary Assembly of the International Union of Superiors General,” May 8, 2013).”
I am more familiar with “theoretical poverty” than with poverty of the poor, the sick and those
who are marginalized. I studied poverty in grad school and have chosen a vocational course that
allows me to engage with my neighbors, yet usually from a distance. So what makes me think I
can share words on poverty---Pope Francis’ or mine? I can do this, and you can do this, because
we are moved beyond the numbers and statistics of poverty. We know that when we are told 46
million people are living in poverty in the United States, our neighbors are suffering, our
neighbors are struggling. We are moved beyond numbers, to a word, COMPASSION.
This is the word that must direct us towards engagement with our neighbors in our communities.
Compassion is defined as the sympathetic consciousness of another’s distress, together with a
desire to alleviate the burden or distress. We wish to alleviate the burden of food insecurity, or
the distress of a low-wage job. There are many issues we wish to alleviate. “You tell us that to
love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in
every person the face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely. And you are, dear
brothers and sisters, the face of Jesus (“Visit at the Homeless Shelter ‘Dono di Maria’: Meeting
with the Missionaries of Charity,” May 21, 2013).” Pope Francis is calling each of us to be
engaged, to interact with the word compassion and to move beyond the “theoretical” into the
world. Our concrete actions are born under the word compassion.

What are the words you heard growing up to talk about people who were living in poverty?
What are the words you use today to talk about poverty? Do you think it makes a difference?
What are the concrete actions you are making to move beyond “theoretical poverty”? How do
you show compassion to people in your community?
Genevieve Mougey
Poverty Education & Outreach Manager; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
January 5-11, 2014
National Migration Week
“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines
upon you,” Isaiah 60:1 (from First Reading for Epiphany of the Lord, January 5.
2014).1
Just as the Christmas lights in our neighborhoods, cities, and malls are taken down
and stored, the first reading in this Sunday’s liturgy reminds us that the splendor of
the Lord still shines upon us.
As the New Year begins, and a new work week commences, we will again hear in
South Florida, where I live, the loud sounds of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Many
of them are operated by undocumented workers, people who live year round in
legal shadows.
Last year I hired a landscape worker to mow the grass in my front and back yards
and trim the edges and hedges. Since this was a full day’s work, at midday I invited
him to have lunch. I asked him about his family. “My wife and my three children are
in Guatemala,” he said. He was undocumented. He explained that he could not
earn enough in his country to be able to build them a house. He was using the
money he earned here to build them a house there. He had crossed the desert
twice. “I miss my family greatly,” he said, “I wish I could be with my children as
they grow up.”
My undocumented landscape worker story is repeated over and over with different
variations throughout the United States in many fields--construction, hospitality
industry, and agriculture, to name a few. Yesterday, very appropriately, began the
observance of National Migration Week with the theme “Out of the Darkness.” It is
high time that the 11 million people who contribute to our society in the shadows be
allowed to come out into the light. After all, the splendor of the Lord that Isaiah so
forcefully announces in this Sunday’s liturgy is already shining upon them.
For Consideration/Action:

1

Editor’s note: This Sunday’s liturgy is a guidepost for our prayer this entire week, just as we commemorate
National Migration Week [January 5-11)] this entire week. It is no wonder that we celebrate both the Epiphany and
National Migration Week at the same time.

1. Join others through the USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign by engaging
Congress this week to pass comprehensive immigration reform in early 2014. Send
en electronic postcard on Jan. 7, telephone Congress on Jan. 8, and apply social
media on Jan. 9. Click here for complete details.
2. Continue the observance of National Migration Week 2014 in the coming months
at your Catholic Charities agency, church, and home by regularly visiting the website
of the U.S. Bishops Justice for Immigrants campaign, justiceforimmgrants.org.

Elena Muller Garcia
Parish Social Ministry/CRS/CCHD Office, Catholic Charities Diocese of Palm Beach

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