by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
May is a special month in the church’s liturgical calendar that promotes devotion to Mary as our spiritual mother.
This weekend, our culture also celebrates mothers and the importance of their vocation for our families and society.
May is also Foster Care Awareness Month. In 2019, the archdiocese established a foster care task force. Every child, as a precious gift from God, deserves a loving family and a stable home life.
Sadly, each day in Kansas, children are removed from their homes by no fault of their own for safety reasons. Often, these children — from babies to teens — have been separated from their parents because of safety, abuse, neglect or the inability — at least for a time — for their parents to care for them.
Sometimes, children just need a safe place to live while the adults in their life work through a temporary crisis.
Currently, there are more than 7,000 foster care children in Kansas — each with a heart, soul and name. There are only 2,000 foster homes in Kansas. More than 1,000 children are living in group homes in Douglas, Wyandotte and Johnson counties.
Every day, five to 10 children in Johnson and Wyandotte counties are doing one-night placements while they await a long-term foster family.
The national statistics for youth who age out of foster care without a family are: one-third will become homeless and one-fifth will become incarcerated.
Sadly, many of these young people will become victims of human trafficking. The ages of children in Kansas needing a foster home are: 4% under 1; 30% 1-5; 20% 6-10; 24% 11-15; and 21% 16-18.
The church is called to be an important part of the solution for these children. The Gospel summons all Catholics to engage in the corporal works of mercy. Foster parents literally give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, shelter for the homeless and care for the poor.
Not every family is called to be a foster family. However, if only 2% of Catholic families became foster homes, we could make a huge difference in the lives of children in Kansas and essentially end the foster care crisis.
It is my hope and desire that every parish would raise up one or more families to become foster homes. Each week during Lent, Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa provided information about the need for foster care and how individuals and families can help.
Currently, eight couples from Holy Trinity are exploring the possibility of serving as foster parents. I urge all of our parishes to do something similar.
Because of some of the unique challenges foster families encounter, they need the prayers, encouragement and practical support of the entire parish community.
If you are interested in helping your parish promote a foster care ministry, I encourage you to contact Debra Niesen at our archdiocesan pro-life office.
You can find additional information on our archdiocesan foster website under the pro-life ministry page, or directly at: www.archkcks.com/foster. And to those of you who are currently fostering, we invite you to connect with us via the website so that we can share resources, pray for you and help support you if needed.
St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, is a special patron for foster care parents. During this year dedicated to St. Joseph, we can call upon him to assist us in our efforts to meet the needs of children and youth in our archdiocese. We can all do something to surround the children in the foster care system with love and compassion.
I ask every member of the archdiocese to pray the prayer below every day during the coming week. At the end of the week, ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what Our Lord is calling you to do to help the children of Kansas:
“God, our Father, through the loving sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ, you have given a home to us and all the forsaken. Give us the eyes of Christ to see the vulnerable children and families in our midst. Give us hearts that break for what breaks the heart of Jesus. Encouraged by the example of St. Joseph, foster father of Our Lord, enflame us with the compassion of your Holy Spirit to make our homes and parishes places of love, support and protection for kids in crisis and their families. Amen.”
Statement by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
In support of Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone’s pastoral letter “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You” | May 3, 2021
I commend and thank Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for his pastoral letter, “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You.” Archbishop Cordileone correctly identifies legalized abortion as “the axe laid to the roots of the tree of human rights” and as a symptom of a “severely disordered society.” Archbishop Cordileone makes a compelling argument for:
1) the legal and scientific case for the protection of the unborn child as the foundation for all other human rights;
2) legislators and public figures who advocate and promote abortion’s availability share in the moral culpability for the evil of abortion;
3) the reception of holy Communion while rejecting one of the church’s most fundamental moral teaching is dishonest;
4) Catholics in public life who advocate for abortion create scandal by encouraging others to do evil.
The tone of Archbishop Cordileone’s pastoral letter makes clear his earnest desire for the immediate and eternal welfare of all those entrusted to his care. Archbishop Cordileone provides a tightly reasoned rationale why the protection of the unborn remains a preeminent priority among many other important concerns for upholding the dignity of each and every human person. I urge the people of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas to read prayerfully “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You.”