• Commentary

    Drum Major Institute Prayer Service Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    5th Avenue Presbyterian Church * Sunday January 14, 2108 * 4:00 PM Invocation – Msgr. Kevin Sullivan Almighty God, Creator & Savior; it is good that you gather us for these moments of hope and solidarity. They sustain us in a world too often devoid of these life-giving virtues. Thank you the blessed legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: a lofty heavenly dream of justice, wedded to gritty earthly action. We rejoice for the many acts of service and volunteering to be carried out this weekend. But, Lord, help us to not so raise up these deeds of caring that we domesticate Dr. King’s memory by failing to call…

  • Strengthening Families and Resolving Crises,  Strengthening Families and Resolving Crises

    This Week: The Glass is More Than Half Empty

      This week the glass is more than half empty for me! After the devastation caused last week by natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and by the student stabbings in the Bronx, I, like so many others, am deeply pained. I spent a good part of this week working on how Catholic Charities of NY might be of support for the individuals and families suffering in Puerto Rico.  Some of my time was spent talking with elected officials and staff in Washington D.C., other time with nonprofit and business leaders. Both the sadness and resolve was intense.    Particularly strong prayer and solidarity goes out to one of our…

  • Strengthening Families and Resolving Crises

    Responding in Charity to Successive Storms

    Kim Burgo & Fred Parrella On this episode of JustLove Monsignor Sullivan will discuss both the recovery efforts taking place in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, as well in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. He will speak about the changing context of marriage and family. Calling in to the studio is Kim Burgo Vice President for Disaster Response Operations for Catholic Charities USA. She will be talking about the impact that Hurricane Harvey has had on coastal Texas and its surrounding areas as well as the impact that Hurricane Irma has had on the Florida how Catholic Charities USA is helping local Catholic Charities agencies respond to…

  • Commentary

    A Visit to the Dominican Republic – Final Thoughts

    Before moving onto the addendum, I say a genuine word of thanks to our partners in these three visits: Maestro Cares, GOYA and Altagracia Apparel.  Without them the trip could not have happened.  More importantly we will deepen these partnerships as Catholic Charities celebrates our Centennial and launches our next century of providing help and creating hope.  Above all, I salute and recognize the excellent work of Catholic Charities’ Director of Government and Community Relations, Luz Tavarez, who organized, coordinated the whole trip so effectively and also documented it in video, audio and photo. Special thanks to Catholic Charities Communications & Marketing team, especially Paul Costiglio and Fanny Gomez, for…

  • Commentary,  Dominican Republic Visit,  JustLove

    Villa Altagracia – Apparel Factory & Workers – Day 4

      The day began with three generations of the Hodge family, 11 of us, and luggage, crowded into a mini-bus for a two and a half hour trip from La Romana to Villa Altagracia in San Cristobal, located outside of Santo Domingo. The driver had an interesting approach that included driving ten miles in the wrong direction, slowing down on open highways and speeding up in crowded city streets. Oh well. 

  • Commentary,  Dominican Republic Visit,  JustLove

    Our Visit to Hogar Niños de Cristo – Day 3

    Today, we spent the day with 36 boys and young men who now call Niños de Cristo and their dedicated staff their home.  We were joined by Donnie Hodge and his wife Ana.  Donny is the owner of Altagracia Apparel.  I’ll write more about this tomorrow after we visit his “fair wage and working conditions” factory in Villa Altagracia and talk with some of the families whose lives have been changed because of these jobs.    Sadly, some children cannot be raised and nurtured safely with their own families for many different reasons.  Niños de Cristo provides the “family” for about 40 of these youth in the Dominican Republic.  This…

  • Commentary,  Dominican Republic Visit,  JustLove

    Our Visit to the GOYA Plant in Santo Domingo – Day 2

      Our generous partner in feeding hungry New Yorkers, GOYA Foods, invited us to tour its plant in the Dominican Republic.  This provided an opportunity to see one of their busy factories that employs about 500 people. In addition to seeing the hard working men and women on the floor of the plant we also met the factory administrators. We also saw the finca (land) where gauyabas (guava) are grown.  I was accompanied on the tour by the director of quality control, a chemical engineer, charged with complying with regulations of both the Dominican Republic and the United States. He said most of the product from this factory is shipped…

  • Commentary,  Dominican Republic Visit,  JustLove

    Catholic Charities Joins Goya Foods and Maestro Cares in the Dominican Republic – Day 1

      In partnership with Goya Foods and Maestro Cares, singer Marc Anthony’s non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life for  orphaned children throughout Latin America, Catholic Charities visits the Dominican Republic to learn more about the children and the work of Maestro Cares. Msgr. Kevin Sullivan illustrates his first day on the island. Stay tuned throughout the week for more updates from the trip. Listen Now  

  • Commentary

    Take A Step Back This Summer

    These are very good weeks to remind others and ourselves that society is broader than government and politics. Sometimes rather than engage its best to “shake the dust from our feet.”  There is plenty of room and need to concentrate on family, work, self, friends, relationships and anything or anybody that can advance love, faith, peace, hope, reconciliation, goodness, growth, happiness, etc.  You get the point.  We can’t always avoid confronting what is wrong, yet, sometimes the best approach is to pause, take a step back, not get caught up in the nonsense and possibly risk the contamination of distraction from what is really important. I’m thinking this is one…

  • Commentary,  Protecting and Nurturing Children and Youth,  Strengthening Families and Resolving Crises

    In Honor of 4th of July Family Picnics & BBQ’s

    One aspect of the administration’s executive order on the travel ban against nationals from certain countries merits special 4th of July attention, viz. what is a bona fide family relationship? After the recent Supreme Court decision[1], the administration issued guidelines that interpreted a bona fide (real) family relationship to include parents, children and siblings. They left out grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and cousins. They also initially excluded fiancées, but then subsequently included them. By that action alone, the administration demonstrated that there is discretion in the interpretation of a bona fide family relationship.