“The freedom of religion that we experience in the United States sometimes makes it difficult for us to realize that this principle does not exist in many parts of the world. In many countries, Christians are the minority and often the victims of persecution. Over the years, Catholic Charities has successfully represented victims of religious persecution, thus potentially saving their lives if they had been forced to return to their home countries.”
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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that “life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’”
Today, as they celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Interfaith Day of Service, 80 Catholic and Jewish teens from Westchester are giving an answer.
Forty youth from St. Peter’s Parish in Yonkers and Holy Rosary in Port Chester will join 40 youth from UJA-Federation to provide a meal and activities for 300 persons in need at the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester.
The day starts early for these 80 teens as they set up, prepare and serve midday meals. They will also offer art and crafts activities for children attending the event.
The day then ends as youth lead an ecumenical period of reflection; an opportunity to build community while raising hunger awareness.
The event is part of Feeding Our Neighbors, an interfaith campaign to replenish food pantries and soup kitchens that serve those in need.
“What are you doing for others?” Rev. King asked.
The 68th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas luncheon hosted by Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity brought in a record-breaking $1.5 million to support Catholic Charities programs that help thousands of needy women and children of all religions throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese.
“The event represents values that are at the heart of Catholic Charities,” Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said. They include “the Christian faith that motivates our work, the dignity of each individual of every religion or no religion and the solidarity that bridges differences for the sake of doing good.” Read more in Msgr. Sullivan’s current JustLove blog post.
Honorary chair Anna Murdoch-Mann teamed up once again with luncheon chair, Mary Higgins Clark and corporate chair, Joseph E. Spinnato at the event held on December 18 in the Grand Ballroom of The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
Elizabeth Ailes, board member of Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, owner of the Hudson Valley Freedom Press received the Christmas Angel Award from his Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York Rosanna Scotto, Co-host of Good Day New York, served as mistress of ceremonies. Elizabeth Ailes is the wife of Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes,
Cardinal Dolan, Honorary Chairman of the luncheon, along with Nancy Waters of the Ladies of Charity, presented the Spirit of Saint Nicholas Award to Pat and Lou DiCerbo.
The luncheon included performances by noted Soprano Jamie Barton and the Our Lady of Pompeii School Chorus from New York City. Students from St. John Chrysostom School presented a tableau, narrated by Cardinal Dolan with a reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan offered the Invocation.
“In a day and age when lists to Santa Claus include iPads and game consoles , Catholic Charities St. Nicholas Project is much more basic,” reports Carol D’Auria from 1010 WINS Radio in her live report this week from Kmart at Astor Place.
Cardinal Dolan says volunteers with Catholic Charities (that hosted the event) don’t shop for toys but for things that people really need like socks, coats and pajamas.
“We are at our best; we are acting the way God our father intends us when we give ourselves away in love and service to somebody else and that’s what Christmas is all about.”
This volunteer said the list of needy families is growing. “We have over 200 more individuals to shop for this year than last year and it’s a really amazing way to reflect on what’s really important around the holidays.
Each shopper spent $200 for a family of four.
“I love the fact that some tiny, simple thing that I’m doing is maybe going to help keep somebody warm and bring a smile to some kid’s face underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan tells the New York Post.
by Alice Kenny
Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.
Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand. He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place where he could realize his dream of working as a photographer and thrive.
For a long time, his plan seemed to work. But then Hurricane Sandy struck and stole nearly all he had.
Electrocuted when the storm flooded his basement apartment, Mr. Taskashi lost his health and home.
As a pianist tapped holiday tunes and New Yorkers in need munched on complimentary lunches, Catholic Charities distributed all the ingredients necessary for a Thanksgiving feast to more than 400 persons in need at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center in Harlem on November 26. Each guest received a turkey and all the trimmings: potatoes, yams, stuffing and more.
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan gave his blessing on the event as he called attention to the plight of hungry New Yorkers.
- This year, Catholic Charities served over 6 million nutritious meals to New Yorkers in need.
- Join us in Feeding Our Neighbors this Thanksgiving season.
“Thank you for inviting me to volunteer today to distribute Thanksgiving dinners. It went very smoothly and the people that received the turkey’s really appreciate everything that Catholic Charities did for them. It was a very special morning for me, and the volunteer team was great. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving” – Diane Thompson