Sunday, January 3, 2010


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 (The Epiphany of the Lord) we read in the Gospel of Matthew about the visit of the Magi from the East who came to bring gifts to the Son of God (see modern icon: We can detect the cynicism in King Herod's request to the Magi that he be told the location of the newborn "King of the Jews" so he could offer his "homage." Herod wanted to kill this Light to the World. A dream informs the Magi to ignore Herod's cynicism and they take another route home. Whenever we have an encounter with God, we too are transformed and "take another route." In the second reading from St. Paul, we note that the Son of God is a revelation to all of humankind. But we also note that even amid this glorious moment of Epiphany to the world through the Magi, the Psalmist reminds us that this King, "shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save."

In Catholic Charities we have to counter the cynicism of our culture that wants to forget or blame the poor. We must be a light in our community, based in our belief in the Son, reminding us to care for our brothers and sisters -- especially the poor and struggling -- who live near us and throughout the world. We are that sign of encounter with God that helps people, and ourselves, become transformed. Catholic Charities does this by living out our mission of serving, advocating and convening.

Reflection from Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate: "Finally, the vision of development as a vocation brings with it the central place of charity within that development. Paul VI, in his Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, pointed out that the causes of underdevelopment are not primarily of the material order. He invited us to search for them in other dimensions of the human person: first of all, in the will, which often neglects the duties of solidarity; secondly in thinking, which does not always give proper direction to the will. Hence, in the pursuit of development, there is a need for 'the deep thought and reflection of wise men in search of a new humanism which will enable modern man to find himself anew'. But that is not all. Underdevelopment has an even more important cause than lack of deep thought: it is 'the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples'. Will it ever be possible to obtain this brotherhood by human effort alone? As society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers. Reason, by itself, is capable of grasping the equality between men and of giving stability to their civic coexistence, but it cannot establish fraternity. This originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is. Paul VI, presenting the various levels in the process of human development, placed at the summit, after mentioning faith, 'unity in the charity of Christ who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all'" (Caritas in Veritate, par 19).

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:

Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice is the theme of the 2010 National Migration Week, held January 3 - 9. The observance began over 25 years ago by the bishops to be a moment for Catholics to take stock of the wide diversity of the Church and the ministries serving them. Catholic Charities provides outreach ministries to newcomers and offers help for persons and families trying to normalize their lives here in the United States through our Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services. For more information, visit the US Catholic Bishops' web site on Migration.

MONDAY January 4 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. She opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage. All this she did in the span of 46 years while raising her five children. While in Italy with her dying husband, Elizabeth witnessed Catholicity in action through family friends. Three basic points led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. Many of her family and friends rejected her when she became a Catholic in March 1805.
To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore. From the beginning, her group followed the lines of a religious community, which was officially founded in 1809.
The thousand or more letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her spiritual life from ordinary goodness to heroic sanctity. She suffered great trials of sickness, misunderstanding, the death of loved ones (her husband and two young daughters) and the heartache of a wayward son. She died January 4, 1821, and became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) and then canonized (1975). She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

TUESDAY January 5 St. John Neumann (1811-1860) John Neumann was born in what is now the Czech Republic. After studying in Prague, he came to New York at 25 and was ordained a priest. He did missionary work in New York until he was 29, when he joined the Redemptorists and became its first member to profess vows in the United States. He continued missionary work in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, where he became popular with the Germans.
At 41, as bishop of Philadelphia, he organized the parochial school system into a diocesan one, increasing the number of pupils almost twentyfold within a short time.

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

Keep those kids warm! This weekend, the Feast of the Epiphany, continues the Catholic Charities’ Keep the Kids Warm campaign. This effort, now in its second year, raises funds to provide utility assistance to families with children. Utility assistance requests have more than doubled at our Catholic Charities agencies since 2005. For more information, visit

Thank you to those parishes and parishioners who participated providing gifts, food, and other items for Catholic Charities’ clients this Christmas season. May God bless you for your compassion and generosity.


Young people and Social Communications Media
General: That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society.

Christian Unity
Missionary: That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel.

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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