Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit

Inside Catholic Charities
Ken Williams is the executive direc- tor of Catholic Charities.

by Ken Williams

St. Michael the Archangel School in Leawood recently completed “Kindness Week.” The entire school ended a week of showing kindness to one another by spelling out “Be Kind” on the school’s athletic field.

My 10-year-old said she was standing in the letter N as she showed me the picture that was taken by a drone. The students then distributed hand-painted rocks, each with a “reminder to be kind” message after Mass that Sunday.  

I liked the idea so much, I thought I would share some “acts of kindness” that occurred at Catholic Charities recently.  

One of our case managers noticed a young man wiping away tears as he stood near the bread rack in our Emergency Assistance Center. She cautiously approached him and asked if she could help. He shared that he had just been released from an alcohol rehabilitation center. He said he was raised Catholic and graduated from a Catholic high school.

During his walk to the nearby homeless shelter, he noticed our sign that said “Catholic” Charities. He said he felt something pushing him inside. The two prayed together for a while and thanked God for bringing them together at that specific moment in the day. Our case manager provided him with food and other items from our food pantry and invited him back the next day to hopefully chart a new course for his life.

Sometimes it just takes a willingness to get involved to make a big difference. It didn’t take much. In fact, our case manager’s primary job was to just listen and pray on that day. A simple act of kindness was just what this young man needed.

We received a call from an 85-year-old woman who said she wanted to do something to help others. She explained that she had received homemaker assistance from our Catholic Charities In-Home Support program during the past year and now she wanted to do something for someone else.

We told her about our Friendly Visitors program where we connect those that are homebound with a friendly visitor. These friendly visits sometimes occur face to face, and sometimes by telephone. It so happened that we had received a call recently from another elderly woman who was clearly suffering from loneliness. She had no one to talk to. She needed a friend. The two now talk weekly and have forged a great friendship.

What a great reminder to us all that — regardless of our current circumstance, our age, our schedule, our physical limitations, or even our mood — we can always show kindness to others.    

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self control” (Gal 5:22).

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