Sunday, December 13, 2009

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for week of December 13, 2009

Catholic Charities. Providing Help. Creating Hope.

VISION: Believing in the presence of God in our midst, we proclaim the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person by sharing in the mission of Jesus given to the Church. To this end, Catholic Charities works with individuals, families, and communities to help them meet their needs, address their issues, eliminate oppression, and build a just and compassionate society.

MISSION: Rooted in the Mission of the Diocese of Youngstown "to minister to the people in the six counties of northeastern Ohio . . .(and) to the world community", we are called to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.

GOALS: Catholic Charities is devoted to helping meet basic human needs, strengthening families, building communities and empowering low-income people. Working to reduce poverty in half by 2020.

KEY VALUE: Hospitality

WHAT WE DO: Organizing Love. "As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community" (Deus Caritas Est, par. 20)

On Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent, Cycle C) we are greeted with this Sunday's proclamation from St Paul's Letter to the Philippians : Rejoice...say it again Rejoice always. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday: A time to rejoice in the knowledge that God is near. In today's Gospel, we sense that there is great expectation that maybe John the Baptist might be the Messiah. John points to another one who is near and coming. The crowds around John ask him "what shall they do?" in preparation for the coming. John reminds the tax collectors and soldiers that they should do what they know is right: don't cheat; don't complain. He tells the crowd “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”

In Catholic Charities we too rejoice in the knowledge that God is near. We help each other to fulfill that call of St. John the Baptist to provide food, shelter and clothing to those in need. Your donations help support the work of our agencies to care for nearly 400 persons who call each day. You support of talent, treasure and time help Catholic Charities to be signs of hope to people.

Reflection from Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate: " A vocation is a call that requires a free and responsible answer. Integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples: no structure can guarantee this development over and above human responsibility. The 'types of messianism which give promises but create illusions' always build their case on a denial of the transcendent dimension of development, in the conviction that it lies entirely at their disposal. This false security becomes a weakness, because it involves reducing man to subservience, to a mere means for development, while the humility of those who accept a vocation is transformed into true autonomy, because it sets them free. Paul VI was in no doubt that obstacles and forms of conditioning hold up development, but he was also certain that 'each one remains, whatever be these influences affecting him, the principal agent of his own success or failure.' This freedom concerns the type of development we are considering, but it also affects situations of underdevelopment which are not due to chance or historical necessity, but are attributable to human responsibility. This is why 'the peoples in hunger are making a dramatic appeal to the peoples blessed with abundance'.. This too is a vocation, a call addressed by free subjects to other free subjects in favour of an assumption of shared responsibility. Paul VI had a keen sense of the importance of economic structures and institutions, but he had an equally clear sense of their nature as instruments of human freedom. Only when it is free can development be integrally human; only in a climate of responsible freedom can it grow in a satisfactory manner.." (Caritas in Veritate, par 17).

N.B. Note: Please consider joining our new Twitter account, CCDOY, for current updates and calls to action that we can all use.

Some important date(s) this week:

MONDAY DECEMBER 14. St. John of the Cross. (1541-1591) John is a saint because his life was a heroic effort to live up to his name: “of the Cross.” The folly of the cross came to full realization in time. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34b) is the story of John’s life. The Paschal Mystery—through death to life—strongly marks John as reformer, mystic-poet and theologian-priest. Ordained a Carmelite priest at 25 (1567), John met Teresa of Jesus (Avila--October 15) and like her vowed himself to the primitive Rule of the Carmelites. As partner with Teresa and in his own right, John engaged in the work of reform, and came to experience the price of reform: increasing opposition, misunderstanding, persecution, imprisonment. He came to know the cross acutely—to experience the dying of Jesus—as he sat month after month in his dark, damp, narrow cell with only his God! Yet, the paradox! In this dying of imprisonment John came to life, uttering poetry. In the darkness of the dungeon, John’s spirit came into the Light. There are many mystics, many poets; John is unique as mystic-poet, expressing in his prison-cross the ecstasy of mystical union with God in the Spiritual Canticle.


This unique exhibit of fair trade gifts, coffee, jewelry, baskets, Christmas ornaments and other items will be ongoing in the Office of Religious Education at the Diocesan Offices at 225 Elm Street, Youngstown, until December 23, 2009. Please feel free to stop in and shop for quality products provided through Catholic Relief Services and A Greater Gift, a non-profit organization of SERRV International. Every purchase helps the artisans and farmers who create or grow the items, maintain a sustainable income for their families. For online shopping visit:

Sharing Hope In Tough Times: Catholic Charities Responds to Families Facing Economic Crisis

Reflection: Let us follow the command of today’s Gospel and share our surplus with those in need; give at least one item from your closet to charity this week.

Prayer Intention: That all who have abundance may share with those in need.


December 2009
General: That children may be respected and loved and never be the victims of exploitation in its various forms.

Mission: That at Christmas the peoples of the earth may recognize in the Word Incarnate the light which illuminates every man and that the Nations may open their doors to Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Corporal Works of Mercy: The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit those in prison
Bury the dead

See our website at for links to the our ministries and services.
For more information on Catholic Social Doctrine and its connection to our ministries, visit my blog at:

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