"Consider This... Catholic Charities, Hope for all Seasons"

During my time in the seminary, we had various Field Education assignments in which we were commissioned to help out with various ministries throughout the Diocese.  One of my placements was working for the Central Intake Office of Catholic Charities in downtown Buffalo for a year.  Each Tuesday, together with the social workers there, I remember how we received several persons from all walks of life who presented with various needs.  For some, it was trouble having their basic needs met like Food and Clothing or needed a bus pass as they had no transportation of their own.  For others, more serious matters presented themselves.  I remember working with clients fleeing with their children from Domestic Abuse, doing advocacy for medical bills and prescriptions, two folks came in having lost everything in a fire, one woman was pregnant and looking for help keeping her child when her family wanted an abortion.  There were GED programs being held upstairs while I was helping out, and we did some referrals to job training sites.  I remember being networked with other agencies who were able to help out with utility bills, but I remember also a great need back then was with regard to housing, and how there wasn’t much help available in terms of assistance in this regard, as the government system generally functioned only when people hit rock bottom and lost everything that resituating them in a new home to get them out of homelessness became a drawn out reality.  I imagine it is only worse today.  It was eye opening to see the many needs of our own next-door neighbors here in Buffalo.  It was also good to see how Catholic Charities knew how to truly care for the people there, was integrated into the community, and knew where best to connect people to the resources they needed. 

I also want to give a shout out to Mr. Albanese, who is a counselor provided to our school through the services of Catholic Charities.  We know the needs of students in this day and age are ever evolving, and it is part of our mission to take care of the whole person.  His help as part of our team has been invaluable to helping our students to become the best-version-of-themselves.

This is but a small sampling of what Catholic Charities does, and the hope it provides to so many here in Western New York.  We welcome Patricia Fogarty, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at Catholic Charities, who will be joining us at the Masses at St. Mary’s this coming weekend, March 18 and 19, so that she can share with us the good works of the Church through Catholic Charities today. 

So indeed, it’s time for the annual Catholic Charities Appeal once again this year, and I would like to Appeal to your good will.  Last year, we met our goal, and it is my understanding that we are well on our way to it again this year - you will begin to see reports on our progress towards our goal in the upcoming bulletins.  All the same, the participation in the Catholic Charities appeal by the parish as a whole was not very high with the number of households who donated to Catholic Charities only a mere 17.6% of our registered parishioners.  As I stated last year, “I understand that there are good and varied reasons which may make someone unable to support this appeal to the degree that they would like: the rising costs of living, giving to other charitable causes, mistrust of the Church…  All the same, it is a central tenet of our Catholic faith to make sacrifices and to look out for the needs of the poor as a matter of priority regardless of our own circumstances.”  Let us each commit to doing our part, no matter how big or small (remember the Widow’s mite, Mark 12:41–44, Luke 21:1–4).  Our collective contribution this year will go a long way towards helping the many, many people Catholic Charities serves.