2015 Christmas Appeal
Dear Friends of Catholic Charities,
Pope Francis writes, “Living with faith and joyful hope” will give true meaning to the pain and brokenness we are confronted with in our society. As Thomas the Apostle experienced when confronted with the wounds of Christ, embracing the merciful side of the church, we too can witness that same healing and hope. This is Pope Francis’ overall goal for his Holy Year of Mercy, beginning December 8th.
During his recent U.S. visit, Francis directed bishops, “May the Door of Mercy be opened wide in our dioceses, our parishes, our homes, and our hearts.” He challenged political and financial leaders to bring mercy to the “brokenness” of human life, especially those in poverty. However, as Rev. Larry Snyder, former president of Catholic Charities USA, notes, “To stop there would be to miss a greater message. Those deemed worthless or thrown away are not only the poor”…they are also those who “are mentally challenged, are suffering addiction, who need forgiveness and reconciliation.”
As we anticipate the Year of Mercy, we ask who are the broken brothers and sisters within our human families. It is the people on the fringes of society, despised and discarded. It is those, right here in our own communities, suffering emotional trauma, psychological wounds, abuse, and brokenness of the heart and home. Yes, as a spiritual leader, it was this human brokenness the Pope decisively sought out when he consoled a crowd of homeless men and women, including mentally ill people, victims of domestic violence, and substance abusers during his recent visit to the U.S. For it is these wounds of the spirit that can break our hearts, our relationships, and even our very faith.
Pope Francis’ plan for putting mercy to work is to heal brokenness through concrete acts of charity, “I have asked our Church in this Jubilee Year to rediscover the richness encompassed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.” And that is our mission here at Catholic Charities – to share the love of Christ by performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. That is the work we do every day. Our marital therapy teaches couples to bear wrongs patiently and forgive injuries willing. Our Child Advocacy Center shines light on the brokenness and wounds of child sexual abuse with tender affection and protects the life and dignity of children. Our Transportation services help the sick. Our professional counseling programs counsel the doubtful and comfort the sorrowful. Our prison based substance abuse services visit the imprisoned and help to heal the brokenness of the addicted. Our Foster Care & Adoption and Roadmap to Graduation services shelter the homeless with safe places to live.
Too often we see others wounds as weaknesses, so we abandon them. When really, the fact that we are broken should not hold us back, it should set us free by witnessing healing and hope. With your donation, we heal human brokenness by touching the wounds that Pope Francis asks us to touch. That is mercy. With your donation we heal the minds and hearts of those we encounter in charity, remembering the example of Christ.
That is hope.
May God bless you and your family this Christmas and all throughout the New Year.
Doug Beiswanger, President Sue Lewis, Executive Director
Catholic Charities Board of Directors Catholic Charities