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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
April 30, 2006
New Life Through Catholic Social Justice

    Every year we have the Catholic Charities appeal.  Every year we take out our check books and write a check in the amount we feel the organization “deserves”.   There may be many factors that come into play when we consider our donation.  We consider our budget, our donations to our charities etc.  But most of all, we take into account the many and varied stories we have heard about the church, its priests, lay volunteers etc.  The result is a bit like the Oscar nominations.  Most often, the awards go the films that were produced in the latter part of the year simply because the people remember them best.  And so it is with our donations.  If we have recently been upset by something in the news we write a smaller check or make a smaller pledge.

    Perhaps we need to regain our perspective on this topic.  Catholic Charities is a Social Service Organization that has been around for approximately 275 years in the United States.  Although the practice of Charity has been around since the inception of Christianity, and more local chapters began with the presence of the Catholic Church as early as the 16th century in Florida, the organization sees itself as having originated in 1727 when the French Ursuline Sisters opened an orphanage in New Orleans.  From the beginning, Catholic Charities has focused its energies on the care of children and their families.  The Social Service organization established headquarters in many of the major cities along the east coast.  The services provided homes and education for children who had lost their parents to disease and other tragedies.

    In the mid 19th Century, with the rise of immigration, the demand for Catholic Charities involvement challenged the organization.  Without abandoning the children, Catholics were asked to help yet another group of vulnerable children of God, the immigrant.  In the 20th century  the element of providing for the elderly was added.  And now, the organization has stretched out its arm to those needing legal aid, counseling, and emotional support for all in need.  Support groups for people suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism, Aids, unwanted or unplanned pregnancies all come under the umbrella of Catholic Charities

    The New Hampshire chapter of Catholic Charities has been in existence since 1945.  For sixty-one years we have taken care of God’s less fortunate children. And despite everything else that goes on in the church, Catholic Charities continues to answer the door to the needy and the disadvantaged whether physical, emotional, or financial. The message of the Gospel continues to be heard and practiced through the generosity of we, the people, the Body of Christ. 

    We cannot predict what new service will be needed in the 21st Century.  We can only hope that Catholics everywhere will continue to hear the cry of the poor and those in need in order to enable the organization to remain well and active in their mission of service. This is the organization that helps us to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.  Through this agency we feed the poor, clothe the naked, . . .  Can we afford to say No to the Gospel challenge? 

 
Lorette P. Nault