This July 4th Weekend: Pledge Allegiance to One Another

The following message was sent to our Catholic Charities network for the 4th of July weekend.

Capitol of the United States

Capitol of the United States

Allow me a word of appreciation and thanks for all you do to make our world a better place – each, in your own way, as trustee, staff, volunteer, donor, or friend. 

I attach my own picture of the Capitol of the United States from the visit I made two days ago with Catholic Charities people from throughout NYS to visit with members of Congress and convey to them the need to enact policies and budgets that give due consideration to the needs of the poor and vulnerable.  Included among our discussions were Catholic Charities’ wide areas of concern: children and youth, those with addictions, the hungry and families needing affordable places to live, immigrants who are feeling particularly anxious and those dealing with emotional and physical challenges.

In light of this visit, and as we approach the 4th of July weekend, I am reminded that the title of the Declaration of Independence is both accurate and partially misleading.  It is accurate in that it is a declaration.  And, it is true that it declared the colonies’ independence from England.  Yet, the title can also be misleading because it fails to capture the values embedded in its non-severable concluding paragraph: God, honor, and solidarity:

“And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Continue reading

Tune In to JustLove to Hear About One Human Family: Food for All Week of Action

David and Darcie

L-R: David Beckmann and Darcie Nielsen

This weekend on JustLove, Msgr. Sullivan speaks with David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World. They discuss Bread for the World’s campaign against domestic and international hunger. Also on the show is Darcie Nielsen, Director of Live the Fast, Inc. Nielsen and Msgr. talk about Live the Fast’s online community and how it helps people grow in faith.

Affordable Housing Needs the Catholic Community’s Continuing Partnership

Haven Plaza 2The topic of housing was covered extensively in the media this past week.  The focus has been the announcement of New York City’s plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.

For those who work with low-income individuals and families, there is perhaps no more pressing need.  Families have the most difficult time finding decent housing they can afford.  Too many families are forced to make choices among essentials – food, rent, or medicine.

It was also good that the work of the Catholic Church over the past four decades in building and constructing affordable housing was recognized.  Of the many positive things the Church has done to help weave the fabric of NY and make our town more compassionate and just, housing may be one area under-recognized.  Arguably, our work with at-risk children and youth, our emergency food programs and immigrants, is better recognized.  However, this week housing was at the forefront.

I was fortunate to be able to hear the Mayor speak so positively about this work. I had the chance to say a few words about how the strength of this work has been the result of the diverse parts of the Church that have engaged in it – charismatic clergy, talented and expert laity, religious communities, parishes, community based organizations and Catholic Charities, in all five boroughs.  Sometimes this gets unwieldy, but when put together, it is a contribution flowing out of our common values that each person is made in the image of God, worthy of dignity and respect and having their basic rights met – and that housing is one of those basic human rights.

The ambitious, complex and critically needed plan of New York City to build and preserve affordable housing does need the continued partnership and energy of the Catholic community.  Once more this is a critically important role we play in building a more just and compassionate society.

It was good to hear the tremendous work of so many recognized this week, to spotlight some of it, and to express hope and commitment that this legacy continue and deepen into the future.