Saturday, December 19, 2009

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for week of December 20, 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 (Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle C) we read in the Gospel of Luke about the Visitation between Mary and her once barren cousin Elizabeth. At their greeting, Elizabeth proclaims her joy and warmest welcome. Even her yet unborn child, John the Baptist, leaps for joy knowing of the Presence. John will dedicate his life to herald this Presence of the Promised One. We read in the prophet Micah that this Promised One "shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace."

In Catholic Charities we continue to be that welcoming place when anyone comes to our doors. Each person, as made in the Image of God, echoes that Presence, in that Jesus himself said that whenever you gave a least one of these something to eat or drink, you were serving and welcoming Him -- the Divine Presence among us (see Matthew 25). There is a beautiful icon of the Visitation which represents hospitality at its best. At Catholic Charities we remain that place of hospitality where we welcome each as a child of God.

Reflection from Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate: "Besides requiring freedom, integral human development as a vocation also demands respect for its truth. The vocation to progress drives us to “do more, know more and have more in order to be more'. But herein lies the problem: what does it mean 'to be more'? Paul VI answers the question by indicating the essential quality of 'authentic' development: it must be “integral, that is, it has to promote the good of every man and of the whole man'. Amid the various competing anthropological visions put forward in today's society, even more so than in Paul VI's time, the Christian vision has the particular characteristic of asserting and justifying the unconditional value of the human person and the meaning of his growth. The Christian vocation to development helps to promote the advancement of all men and of the whole man. As Paul VI wrote: 'What we hold important is man, each man and each group of men, and we even include the whole of humanity'. In promoting development, the Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, nor even on the merits of Christians (even though these existed and continue to exist alongside their natural limitations), but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed. The Gospel is fundamental for development, because in the Gospel, Christ, 'in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals humanity to itself'. Taught by her Lord, the Church examines the signs of the times and interprets them, offering the world 'what she possesses as her characteristic attribute: a global vision of man and of the human race'. Precisely because God gives a resounding 'yes' to man, man cannot fail to open himself to the divine vocation to pursue his own development. The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development. This is the central message of Populorum Progressio, valid for today and for all time. Integral human development on the natural plane, as a response to a vocation from God the Creator, demands self-fulfilment in a 'transcendent humanism which gives [to man] his greatest possible perfection: this is the highest goal of personal development'. The Christian vocation to this development therefore applies to both the natural plane and the supernatural plane; which is why, 'when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose and the ‘good' begins to wane.'" (Caritas in Veritate, par 18).

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:

FRIDAY DECEMBER 25. Christmas. On this day the Church focuses especially on the newborn Child, God become human, who embodies for us all the hope and peace we seek. We need no other special saint today to lead us to Christ in the manger, although his mother Mary and Joseph, caring for his foster-Son, help round out the scene.
But if we were to select a patron for today, perhaps it might be appropriate for us to imagine an anonymous shepherd, summoned to the birthplace by a wondrous and even disturbing vision in the night, a summons from an angelic choir, promising peace and goodwill. A shepherd willing to seek out something that might just be too unbelievable to chase after, and yet compelling enough to leave behind the flocks in the field and search for a mystery. On the day of the Lord’s birth, let’s let an unnamed, “un-celebrity” at the edge of the crowd model for us the way to discover Christ in our own hearts—somewhere between skepticism and wonder, between mystery and faith. And, like Mary and the shepherds, let us treasure that discovery in our hearts.


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: Your time and attention are the best gifts you can give your family; it costs nothing but its worth is priceless.

Prayer Intention: That Christians will reach out to each other with the gifts of time and attention during this holy season.


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:

No comments: