by Jan Lewis
This weekend, many of you will have a special presenter visiting your parish to give a personal perspective on the Archbishop’s Call to Share.
In some parishes that speaker will be a staff member or volunteer of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Catholic Charities is blessed to be a recipient of the gifts that you choose to give through this annual appeal and we look forward each year to being able to share some of our stories with you.
These staff members and volunteers, whether they are Catholic or not, have each in their own way responded like Samuel to a call they have heard; they have chosen to serve God through serving others. When a toddler is crying, it is a teacher at St. Benedict’s Early Education Center in Kansas City Kan., that gently comforts them and wipes away their tears. When a dying man faces the reality of the end, it is a chaplain from Catholic Community Hospice that gives him the spiritual encouragement to ease his fears. A hungry homeless man finds bread for the day at one of our Emergency Assistance Centers because a faithful volunteer went out of his or her way to stock the shelves that morning. A displaced child finds a safe home through the efforts of our foster care workers and the families they recruit and train.
Whether it is a Topeka dad reuniting with his children after an incarceration, a Lawrence couple working to strengthen their relationship through Marriage for Keeps, a frightened refugee arriving to start a new life in America or an immigrant coming out of the shadows to seek a path to citizenship, Catholic Charities staff and volunteers are there to help. When someone is in need, their response is always, “Here I am!”
But they cannot do this work alone; they cannot do it without your help. As baptized Christians, we no longer live our lives for ourselves. Rather, we are called to live for others and to make the love of Jesus Christ manifest through our actions. As Catholics, we have the catechism of our church and rich social teachings to guide us. We are to respect all life, to work for justice and to place the needs of the poor and vulnerable first . . . not last. Why?
As a wise priest once shared with a rich man, the poor are our salvation. It is in how we treat and care for the least among us that we will be judged.
As you discern your gift to the Archbishop’s Call to Share, I hope that you listen to God’s call and respond with generosity. Let your response bring the love of God to the least among us and bring hope to the hopeless.