Archive for the ‘Seasonal Message’ Category

Christmas Blessings from Catholic Charities

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

By Marianna Reilly

December 13, 2011 — We invite you to watch a special Christmas message from our executive director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. In this video, he reflects on the inspiring story of Christmas, which to those of us at Catholic Charities, reflects the faces of the people we are honored to serve. When we reach out to those in need, we have the chance to experience an even greater season of peace, of joy and of hope.

Archbishop Dolan and Christine Quinn Call on New Yorkers to Feed the Hungry

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

At Catholic Charities’ Annual Thanksgiving Meal Distribution in Harlem, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan called on all New Yorkers to respond to a sacred duty to feed the hungry and care for our neighbors in need. Read Archbishop Dolan’s official statement on hunger in New York here, and listen to him call upon all New Yorkers to help during this time when so many are suffering:

Our Call to Feed the Hungry — Not Only at Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21st, 2011

By Tom Dobbins, Jr.

November 21, 2011 — One of my favorite spots in the city is on the banks of the Hudson River — approximately 5 blocks west of where Wall Street has been being occupied. There, you’ll find New York City’s memorial to the Irish famine that lasted from 1845 to 1852 – a tragedy that began with a blighted potato crop and was exacerbated by political inaction.

One-third of the people living in Ireland at that time – one half million – died of starvation, and another third – of whom I am a living descendent – emigrated in a great diaspora to any ports that would welcome them all over the world. The memorial is beautiful: a rugged half-acre of cantilevered landscape thickly planted with native Irish flora and plants growing in fallow fields, along with the remains of an authentic, famine-era Irish cottage. Accounts of historical and contemporary sentiments about worldwide hunger are etched in the base of glass and broadcast from an audio installation. While raising awareness about an event that happened long ago, the space also encourages visitors to address the causes of hunger world-wide.

Catholic Charities Thanksgiving Meal Distribution

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities New York, giving food to a Catholic Charities client at our annual Thanksgiving Meal Distribution

Hunger has been in my thoughts a lot lately, primarily because for the past week I have been participating in the “Food Stamp Challenge,” a campaign sponsored by “Fighting Poverty with Faith” – and of which Catholic Charities is a partnering organization. The goal for participants in the Challenge is to live for one week on the benefit given to those on Food Stamps – approximately $31.50 per week, or $4.50 a day. Here in New York City, that money doesn’t go very far.

My meals for the week consisted mostly of oatmeal, brown rice, frozen vegetables and on-sale chunk light tuna. Except for a Saturday night treat of a 10-piece McNugget, I pretty much stuck to the challenge, winding up with just under $5 left over week’s end.

The experience reminded me of when I visited Tanzania with Catholic Relief Services last September, and lived off a diet of white rice and sauerkraut. It would have been obscene to complain about the food I was given after witnessing the food assistance work done by Catholic Relief Services in the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa.

The Food Stamp Challenge comes at a time of great challenge to our nation and its moral commitment to feed the hungry. The Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is working on a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars; the day that this deficit reduction plan is due is – ironically – the day before Thanksgiving. Many are concerned that food stamp assistance might be a target for massive funding cuts.

The U.S. Bishops and Catholic Relief Services are both now advocating with Congress and the Administration to ensure that hunger-related assistance is not compromised in the deficit-reduction debate.

For Christians, feeding the hungry is not some peripheral “nice thing” that we should do if we’ve got the time – it’s literally part of our “final exam” that Jesus told us about on the Sermon on the Mount, along with clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and caring for the ill. In fact, Pope

Benedict XVI went so far as to say: “liberation from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete manifestation of the right to life, which – despite its having been solemnly proclaimed – is often very far from being fulfilled effectively.”

It’s up to us to ensure that what has been solemnly proclaimed is effectively fulfilled. While the rest of the world’s attention is focused on the 99% fighting the alleged evils of the top 1%, with the 53% somewhere in the middle, let’s be sure that our attention is focused on the 15% of Americans who live below the poverty level (and the much larger percentage of our impoverished brothers and sisters in the rest of the world).

Easter: A Celebration of New Life

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
In a special video message, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities New York, reflects on the significance of Easter as the central celebration of the Christian faith. It is this celebration of new life, he says, that is at the heart of the work of Catholic Charities, which brings the hope of new beginnings to those in our community who are suffering and in need of help.

An Easter Message from Catholic Charities New York
from Catholic Charities New York on Vimeo.

“Easter is the central feast of our Christian faith, and in a certain sense it really is what is at the essence of Catholic Charities, because it is about new life.

We work with people who tragically have experienced much suffering in their lives. But what we do at Catholic Charities is to say that there is hope, there is possibility of transformation, and as we celebrate Easter we have an incredible confirmation that even the most tragic suffering can be transformed in to new life – whether it be a family that is homeless, a family who is struggling from breakup, whether it is a child who tragically has been neglected or even abused.

Easter gives us great hope, and enables us to recommit ourselves to rebuilding the lives of those who come to Catholic Charities seeking help.”

What is the Meaning of Lent?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Watch a special video message on the meaning of Lent, from us at Catholic Charities.

What is Lent? from Catholic Charities New York on Vimeo.

Lent is a very spiritual time. An important part of the spirituality of Lent is not about looking inward, but looking outward — and not merely upward to God, but outward to sisters and brothers who are in need.

Almsgiving — charity — is one of those traditional practices that is part of the most solemn religious season of Lent.

Catholic Charities draws its inspiration from the need to look at our sisters and brothers in need, and to see in that a great work that recognizes the image of God in our neighbors in need, and seeks to do that inspired by our faith — but not limited by our faith. For we reach out to those of all religions, we reach out to those of no religion.

The single criteria we have is: Is there a need that we can meet?

Lent is the best time for us to renew our efforts to meet the needs of New Yorkers who need our help.