Still time to give to the CCA

We have a little more than a week before the end of the Catholic Charities Appeal for this year (it ends on June 30). To those who have already made their pledge or donation to the Appeal, thank you for your generosity.

St. Gregory of Nyssa reminds us of our responsibility to help the poor. “Do not despise them, those who lie idle, as if for this reason they were worth nothing. Consider who they are and you will discover wherein lies their dignity: they represent the Person of the Savior. And this is how it is: for in His goodness the Lord gives them His Own Person so that through it, those who are hard of heart and enemies of the poor may be moved to compassion.” 

The Old Testament predictions of the Messiah’s coming predicted that He would change our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh (Ez 36:26). St. Gregory said that when we are truly charitable from the heart, then that transformation is occurring. “Be generous with these brothers and sisters, victims of misfortune. Give to the hungry from what you deprive your own stomach.”

The saint reminds us that what we are giving does not really belong to us. “Do not think that everything belongs to you! There must also be a share for the poor, God’s friends. In fact, the truth is that everything comes from God, the Universal Father, and that we are brothers and sisters and belong to the same lineage.”

If you have not already made a donation to the Appeal, please do so before the June 30 deadline.  You can do so either through your parish or directly to the Appeal’s headquarters (P.O. Box 1470, Fall River, Mass. 02722; phone: 508-675-1311; fax: 508-676-6591, online:

Bishop Edgar da Cunha, S.D.V., challenges us: “The Catholic Charities Appeal should not be seen as a burden to any of us, but rather an opportunity to give thanks, to share our gifts with one another and to serve each other.”

He said that we should speak about the Appeal to other people and “tell them to find grace and joy in sharing their resources with the less fortunate, with those who are struggling to feed their families, find shelter, have a job and security for their future.”

Forty-seven percent of the Appeal goes towards social services and child care. This includes the work of the Church on the diocesan level to give direct services to the homeless or those in danger of becoming homeless, to other people in financial need, and the work of the Church in child protection. Throughout the diocese there are a variety of large and small homes run by Catholic Social Services, taking care of people in various situations — and enabling them to grow in their care for themselves. Your generosity helps that to happen.

Twenty-four percent of the funds from the Appeal go to pastoral endeavors. This includes the work of the diocese in promoting the Pro-Life message and bringing healing to people via Project Rachel; the Catholic campus ministries at the colleges across the diocese; the programs to support families, especially in preparation for Marriage; and the weekly television Mass on Channel 6 (Sundays at 11 a.m.).

The apostolate to the sick received 18 percent of the Appeal funds. This helps to ensure that when in the hospital Catholic patients will be visited and offered the Sacraments of Holy Communion, Anointing of the Sick, and Reconciliation. Speaking to the bishops of Malawi in 2014, Pope Francis said, “The service which the Church offers to the sick, through pastoral care, prayer, clinics and Hospices, must always find its source and model in Christ, Who loved us and gave Himself up for us (cf. Gal 2:20). Indeed, how else could we be followers of the Lord if we did not personally engage in ministry to the sick, the poor, the dying and the destitute? Our faith in Christ, born of having recognized our own need for Him Who has come to heal our wounds, to enrich us, to give us life, to nourish us, ‘is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 186). I thank you for being close to those who are ill and all the suffering, offering them the loving presence of their Shepherd.”

Thanks to your generosity, the sick do have this loving presence there in their moment of need.

The remaining 11 percent of the Appeal funds go to the educational endeavors of the Church on the diocesan level (this is not funding parish schools or parish Religious Education programs, but helps to coordinate the needed collaboration across the length of the diocese and to guide the parish ministry of education according to Church teachings, so that it might be more and more effective).

In writing to the laity and clergy of the diocese, Bishop da Cunha said, “My hope and fervent prayer is that your work on behalf of the 2015 Catholic Charities Appeal will help us realize our great potential to give witness to Christ’s promise that He will not abandon us.”

Our generosity helps us to witness to that by making available the money necessary to allow the Church to be present to people in need in the above listed ways. May God help us to be cheerful givers, knowing that our generosity will bring consolation and hope to someone else. 

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts