“A Question for Dessert?”

by Mary Alessio—Director of Advancement

I recently had dinner with someone who was intrigued by the mission of Catholic Charities. My friend posed this question:  Why does Catholic Charities take care of those who are not Christian?  In all honesty, this was a “heavy” dessert question when I would have preferred a little crème brulee.  But, it just shows that God puts us in positions to live the mission of Catholic Charities 24/7 and I felt humbled to offer my response.   

As we all know from the Gospels, Jesus did not limit his ministry and saving grace to only the Jewish people. He did not condition his healing, compassion, and love to certain groups or tribes of people.  It was open to all, without exceptions.

The stories of the centurion, the woman at the well, the Canaanite woman, and the Good Samaritan are all examples of non-Jews blessed by Jesus or whose example of compassion and caring is held as a model for us.  Jesus’ saving grace was there for all – regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, or faith tradition, in the words of Catholic Charities’ branding message.

Years ago my Irish Catholic Mum gifted my brothers and me with a series of books (In Conversation with God, by Fransisco Fernandez Carvajal).  I’ve always held dear a particular section that addressed my dinner companion’s question:  

A Christian’s calling makes us open and respectful to others, one who is able to reach an understanding with the most diverse kinds of people, regardless of their age, their cultural background, their personality, their character or their circumstances. The Holy Spirit acts where there is unity and true charity. Our task as Christians entrusted to us by God is not to exclude anyone; we do not leave any soul out of our love for Christ.

I am humbled and honored to have served many whose faith traditions differ from mine. I hold their friendship dear and they are family to me. I routinely receive loving texts at Christmas and Easter from friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist.

In closing, our primary value at Catholic Charities is:  Made in God’s image and likeness, every human life has dignity.  No exceptions!  

Love your way~

Mary Alessio