Archive for the ‘Seasonal Message’ Category

Daily Lenten Challenge

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Lenten crossThroughout the Lenten season, check in with Catholic Charities New York for creative ways to engage more fully with the 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Check this post daily during the week for updated tips and inspiration for how to make the most of Lent. Leave comments below to share how you are doing with your Lenten commitments, and with these daily challenges.

For extra support, sign up to receive these daily messages via email here.

April 2 ~ Adopt a Family. Looking to make a difference in the world by the end of Lent? Adopt a family in need through the St. Nicholas Project. By supporting this project, you provide critical social services year-round to families in need in our community.

March 30 ~  Be frugal. Each dollar saved can help a child who is truly hungry. $5 can help us:

…feed one hungry child for 2 days

…provide a family with 3 days of fresh fruits and vegetables

…feed a mother and her child for one day

March 29 ~ Give to a thrift store today. Donate old housewares to a charity thrift store, like the Catholic Charities Community Services Thrift Store, and help support the homes of our neighbors in need.

March 28 ~ Help someone smile today. Integrate a few small — perhaps even anonymous — acts of kindness into your day. What will you do? Share your story in the comments field below this post.

March 27 ~ Remind yourself of your Lenten pledges today, and take some time to re-ignite your commitments. There are many ways to give back through Catholic Charities.

March 26 ~Pray for those who generously serve our neighbors in need within our 90 agencies throughout the Archdiocese of New York.

March 23 ~ Provide a meal for those suffering from hunger today. Donate food or volunteer at a food pantry near you. Last year, Catholic Charities provided 6.5 million meals for the hungry.

March 22 ~ Practice Patience. Take the time to answer questions with extra patience and thoughtfulness today. Be kind to strangers who stop you for directions. Be generous to a coworker in need of assistance.  Learn about the compassionate services Catholic Charities provides every day for those in our community with special needs.

March 21 ~ Pray for those who are homeless, for families in the shelter system, and for those who are searching for a home. Take action to help the homeless by volunteering with our Junior Board’s Midnight Runs.

March 20 ~ Welcome and Support Immigrants and Refugees. Know someone who has a question about immigration or refugee services in New York? Make a note to direct them to the Catholic Charities Immigration Hotline for free, professional consultation. Today, the immigration hotline answered 119 calls for help and advice in 18 different languages. The Catholic Charities Immigration Hotline: 212-419-3737 or 1-800-566-7636 (Toll-free in NYS)

March 19 ~ Pray for the unemployed in our community. Catholic Charities helped 7,900 people with job training and placement this past year.

March 16 ~ Take an active role in our political process. Learn about ways to advocate for a just society, and how Catholic Charities works to make this possible.

March 15 ~ Pray for families today. Each year, our agency network helps more than 3,300 families stay together.

March 14 ~ Learn about your Community

Today, put aside some time to learn more about your community. In what ways are your neighbors in need? In what ways can you help? Learn your state’s or your neighborhood’s hunger statistics — you might be surprised.  And check out the services that provided by our 90 agencies. There is one near you, working hard each day to help your neighbors.

March 13 ~ Join a Group

The best way to adopt a habit of generosity and selflessness is to surround yourself with like-minded people. Join a community of leaders dedicated to charity.

Cardinal’s Committee for Charity

The Catholic Charities Junior Board

March 12 ~ Make Your Commitments Mobile

Make the most of each day in Lent – even in the midst of a busy life. Check out this list of web-based and mobile resources to help you keep prayer, fasting and almsgiving central to this sacred season.

March 9 ~ Make a Small Sacrifice

On this Lenten Friday, sacrifice the cost of a small or large indulgence today to help feed a family in need. Instead of a latte and pastry, a $10 can provide fresh produce for a hungry family. Instead of dinner at a restaurant, a $50 gift can provide safe shelter for a mother and her children. 

March 8 ~ Support Fair Trade

While shopping for yourself or your family, buy fair trade products when possible. This ensures that workers are paid a fair wage and that sustainable production practices are being followed. Buying fair trade coffee is an excellent – and easy – place to start. Catholic Charities supports international social justice across the globe.

March 7 ~ Find Ways to Give Back

Use your talents to support a meaningful cause. The Catholic Charities Junior Board provides opportunities for leadership and service.

March 6 ~ Welcoming Newcomers

Be kind and generous to your New York neighbors. Learn about Catholic Charities’ heritage of welcoming immigrants and refugees.

March 5 ~ Resolving Crises

Give emotional support to someone in need today. Talk to a friend in need or write a letter – anything to show that you care.

Catholic Charities provides compassionate and professional therapy  to more than 3,000 individuals each year.

March 2 ~ Nurturing Children

Spend some time today talking to a child in your life. Pray that he or she has the opportunities necessary to succeed in life and reach their full potential.

Each year, Catholic Charities helps more than 4,000 children reach their potential through day care and Head Start programs.

March 1 ~ Catholic Social Teaching

Learn about Catholic Social Teaching, and how we are called to help others. Be a part of Catholic Charities’ advocacy for social justice and human dignity.

February 29 ~ Help your neighbors

Help a neighbor in danger of eviction preserve their home by directing them to help at Catholic Charities. The team at Catholic Charities prevents eviction for more than 4,800 families each year, and helps an additional 17,000 individuals in need find emergency shelter, transitional housing, or permanent affordable housing. Learn more.

February 28 ~ Pray for Others

Pray for those in our community who are struggling to live even the most modest lives. For a glimpse into the life of one of your neighbors in need, read about a man we are helping to support his family and achieve a better life.

Little to Show for Strong Work Ethic and a Degree

February 27 ~Building New Habits.

Today, adopt one small daily or weekly selfless habit that you will pledge to continue throughout Lent, and make good deeds part of your everyday life.

Follow us on Facebook to participate in the Catholic Charities community online, and share your voice with us.

February 23 ~ Where do you volunteer?

Make a Lenten goal to serve our community. If you already volunteer, try to increase your service hours this season. If you don’t volunteer, joining Catholic Charities’ diverse volunteer corps is a good way to start. You can explore a variety of our volunteer opportunities online.

February 22 ~ Ash Wednesday

Watch a special Ash Wednesday video message from Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan.

Inspired by Faith: An Ash Wednesday Reflection from Catholic Charities Executive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

February 22, 2011 — Ash Wednesday began for me on the West Side of Manhattan across from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.  For 80 years, St. Francis of Assisi parish has provided simple meals to hundreds of New Yorkers each day.

Cardinal Dolan at the St. Francis Food Line on Ash Wednesday 2012

Cardinal Dolan hands out food on Ash Wednesday morning at the St. Francis Food Line in Manhattan.

Today was much like others.  More than 300 hungry men (mostly) and women – known and called by name – received a simple meal to begin their day.  Today was also special because Cardinal Dolan, only back from Rome yesterday, helped to distribute meals this morning.  He pointed out that this is the right way to begin Lent.  He quoted from Ash Wednesday’s scripture readings: this is the type of fasting that the Lord desires – sharing your bread with the poor.

Lent provides us the opportunity to reflect on the all too present reality of suffering in the lives of those we help.  Day in and day out, the dedicated women and men of Catholic Charities work not merely alleviate this suffering, but to transform it.  This is done with limited resources and in an increasingly difficult environment that threatens not only those we serve, but also the organizations that provide this help.  Now more than ever we need each other’s support and prayers.

There are three traditional Lenten practices – prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  While sometimes seen as a burden, this season of Lent and these practices are also a gift.  Take the opportunity to pause and break the ordinary and necessarily hectic rhythm of your personal and professional lives to reflect and draw inspiration from the mysteries of our faith and tradition – and the relationships that provide strength.  In fasting, we touch our own self and focus on what we truly need.  In almsgiving – which takes so many different forms – we touch our human sisters and brothers with whom we share the same divine Father.  In prayer, we draw closer to the God whose love for us never ends.

A blessed and grace filled Lent.

Sincerely, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

We invite you to watch this special Lenten message from our executive director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, and learn about how to approach the upcoming weeks as a time of renewal.

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.