Sunday, October 9, 2011

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 (Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year  A we read in the Gospel of Matthew we hear another parable about the Kingdom of God.  Jesus talks about a wedding feast in which he invited many notable people.  They decided not to come; they even used violence against those who reminded them of their obligation.  The master revokes their invitation, and sends out his servants to the highways and byways to find others to come to the feast.  In the reading from the Prophet Isaiah, we read about the time when all tears will be wiped away, and the abundance of God will be resplendent.

In Catholic Charities ,  we bring people into the Presence of God every time we encounter each person.  Though we do not have unlimited resources to provide for persons and families seeking help, we do open the doors and welcome each person in.  We share whatever resource we can with those in crisis; we advocate for them; we help them plan for the future; we give a reassuring smile.  Mostly, we share the abundant love of God with each person and family.  

Reflection from Church Documents and Official Statements

Catholic Teaching and the Death Penalty

Catholic teaching offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment. It begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victims and offenders. It affirms our commitment to seek justice, comfort and support victims and their families, while acknowledging the God-given dignity of every human life, even for those who do great harm. Catholic teaching on human life is rooted in the belief that all life has inherent dignity and is a gift from God that must be respected and defended from conception until natural death.

In his encyclical The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II challenged followers of Christ to be “unconditionally pro life.” He reminded us that “the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform” (Gospel of Life, 27).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that “the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means” (CCC, 2267). The test of whether the death penalty can be used is not the gravity of the offense, but whether it is absolutely necessary to protect society. The Catechism adds that today “the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity „are very rare, if not practically non­existent‟” (CCC, 2267).

In 2005, the Catholic bishops of the United States issued, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death. In the document the bishops stated that the gift of life must be respected and protected; “that every life is a precious gift from God (see Gn 2:7, 21-23) and that we are all created in God‟s image and redeemed by Jesus Christ, who himself was crucified.  They acknowledged that sentences such as “life in prison without parole” provide non-lethal alternatives and called for an end to the use of the death penalty in the United States, stating “it is time for our nation to abandon the illusion that we can protect life by taking life.”

Ending the death penalty would be one important step away from a culture of death and toward building a culture of life. (United States Catholic Bishops, 2005. A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death)

Some important date(s) this week:

See website for biographies of Saints and Blessed celebrated this week.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 15.   St. Teresa of Avila  (1515-1582) Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. She was born before the Protestant Reformation and died almost 20 years after the closing of the Council of Trent.
The gift of God to Teresa in and through which she became holy and left her mark on the Church and the world is threefold: She was a woman; she was a contemplative; she was an active reformer.
As a woman, Teresa stood on her own two feet, even in the man's world of her time. She was "her own woman," entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer. A holy woman, a womanly woman.
Teresa was a woman "for God," a woman of prayer, discipline and compassion. Her heart belonged to God. Her ongoing conversion was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing purification and suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged, opposed in her efforts at reform. Yet she struggled on, courageous and faithful; she struggled with her own mediocrity, her illness, her opposition. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer. Her writings on prayer and contemplation are drawn from her experience: powerful, practical and graceful. A woman of prayer; a woman for God.
Teresa was a woman "for others." Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. She traveled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.
Her writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers.
In 1970, the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored.


October is Respect Life Month.  Catholic Charities is committed to working to protect and enhance human dignity and life through all of its services and ministries.  One area in which we promote human dignity is through our collaboration with the Ohio Employee Ownership Center  at Kent State University.  ESOPs, cooperatives and other forms of business support and development aim to create decent jobs and helped these business to grow.  

 PAPAL INTENTIONS:   October 2011

General Intention: That the terminally ill may be supported by their faith in God and the love of their brothers and sisters.

Missionary Intention: That the celebration of World Mission Day may foster in the People of God a passion for evangelization with the willingness to support the missions with prayer and economic aid for the poorest Churches.

Corporal Works of Mercy:  The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor
  1. Feed the hungry
  2. Give drink to the thirsty
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Shelter the homeless
  5. Visit the sick
  6. Visit those in prison
  7. Bury the dead

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