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“A Child Shall Lead Us”—3rd Grader Valentine Reflection—You Be You

During a time in history when divisiveness seems to be breaking relationships rather than building relationships we are reminded by this young child to embrace a spirit of inclusivity and love for all. What we have in common far outweighs that which makes us different. And those unique differences are part of the beautiful picture this child paints for us. This is a reflection (untouched) in the words of a granddaughter of a beloved couple who are great friends and loyal donors of Catholic Charities efforts. It was a gift to me and I am passing it along to you this Valentine’s Day!

“Truly I tell you,” He said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt. 18:3-4

(~Mary Alessio-Director of Advancement)

January 23rd, 2019|Categories: News & Announcements|

The Next World Day of Prayer Is March 1, 2019

On March 1, 2019—People Worldwide Will Again Unite in Prayer

Recognizing that prayer and action go hand-in-hand, women know joint prayer can be effective. Planning for World Day of Prayer, 2019, at both the national and global levels are in full swing. The next WDP is March 1, 2019. This very special day is celebrated on the first Friday in March each year. This is a worldwide movement of Christian women that began in the U.S. and Canada in the 19th century, and became worldwide in 1927. The continuing motto for this very special day is “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action”. This day is no longer celebrated only by women; many men and children participate, too. Each year, on this day, Christians of many cultures, traditions, and races, in over 170 countries around the world unite in prayer.

“There are countless ways throughout the day where we can take a moment and pay attention to God. Momentary aspirations, a quick thought sent heavenward, a look of love.
Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God.” ~ Msgr. Charles Pope

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”  ~Martin Luther

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” ~ Mother Teresa

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” ~Billy Graham

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” ~ 1 John 5:14

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~ Max Lucado

January 21st, 2019|Categories: News & Announcements|

Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Responding with Love in a Polarized Society

Join us for the Social Justice event, “Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Responding with Love in a Polarized Society”

When: Saturday, Feb. 2 8:30 am – 1 pm

Where: Pax Christi Catholic Church 4135 -18th Ave. NW, Rochester, MN 55901 McCauley Hall, lower level

What: the 6th Annual Holy Spirit/Pax Christi Social Justice Morning of Reflection, presented by Tom Parlin, our Diocesan Social Ministry Director

The day includes coffee & rolls for breakfast and also lunch. There is no cost but there will be an opportunity for a free will offering. To determine lunch needs, RSVPs appreciated: hspaxsocialjustice@gmail.com or call Pax Christi at 282-8542 or Holy Spirit at 280-0638.

All are welcome!

See the event flyer

January 17th, 2019|Categories: News & Announcements|

Embrace 2019 with Joy, Faith, Love, and Determination 

Dear Friends,

We live in turbulent and unsettling times. We seem to speak more of what divides us instead of the underlying values that unite us. We can all too readily become vindictive, harsh, and petty. At Catholic Charities, our staff and volunteers strive to be a counterpoint to the tone and tenor of our times. We strive to double down on our mission, which is to serve the poor and marginalized, advocate for social justice, and call all people to the ministry of Christ. Combining that determination with great joy, faith, and love, we embrace both the challenges and opportunities of 2019. What follows is an update on our programs as we begin the new year. …  See the full article

January 14th, 2019|Categories: News & Announcements|

Sr. Norma Pimentel (Rio Grande Valley—Catholic Charities) — Letter to the President

Welcome to the border, Mr. President

By Sister Norma Pimentel
January 9 at 7:02 PM

Update, 11:45 a.m. Jan. 10: Sister Norma Pimentel is now scheduled to meet with President Trump on Thursday during his trip to the border, according to Brenda Nettles Riojas, diocesan relations director for the Diocese of Brownsville.

Dear Mr. President,

We welcome you to our community here in South Texas along the Rio Grande, which connects the United States to Mexico. I wish you could visit us. Our downtown Humanitarian Respite Center has been welcoming newcomers for the past four years.

When families cross the border, they are typically apprehended by authorities, held for a few days and released with a court date to consider their request for asylum. After they are released, we receive them at our respite center. By the time they find their way to our doors, most adults are wearing Border Patrol-supplied ankle bracelets and carrying bulky chargers to keep those devices powered up.

Helping these families has been our work since 2014, when tens of thousands of people, primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crossed into the United States through the Rio Grande Valley Sector, creating a humanitarian emergency in our community. Before the respite center opened, dozens of immigrant families, hungry, scared and in a foreign land, huddled at the bus station with only the clothes on their back, nothing to eat or drink, and nowhere to shower or sleep. They waited hours and sometimes overnight for their buses.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley first opened the center at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen and worked collaboratively with city officials and other faith denominations and nonprofits, such as the Salvation Army and the Food Bank, to provide newly arrived immigrants with some basic necessities. We have moved to a bigger facility since.

Every day of the year, from morning to evening, families coming over the border are welcomed at our center with smiles, a warm bowl of soup, a shower and a place to rest. Most families are exhausted and afraid, carrying little more than a few belongings in a plastic bag. They come in all forms and at all ages. Few speak any English. Most are in great need of help. Some days, we see 20 people. Other days, it’s closer to 300. In recent weeks, it has been very busy. Some stay a few hours, but many spend the night before heading on to new destinations. Since we opened, more than 100,000 have come through our doors.

We work closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rio Grande Valley Sector, and our team has cultivated a culture of mutual respect and dialogue. Our center staff, in communication with the Border Patrol, prepares to receive groups of immigrants who have been released. We try to meet the need. It is vital that we keep our country safe, and I appreciate the work of the men and women in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection who are vigilant as to who enters our country. I pray for them daily.

Mr. President, if you come early in the morning, here is what you will see: The families who have spent the night are tidying up their sleeping spaces. Some are sweeping, some are helping prepare breakfast, and some are getting ready for their bus departure to other places in the United States. You will see volunteers arriving to offer a hand either preparing hygiene packets, making sandwiches, cutting vegetables, preparing the soup for the day or sorting through donated clothing. Others may assist with the intake or help a mother or father contact family living in the United States. People come from all over the state and beyond to help.

Later in the day, you will meet some of the children who are playing in our small play yard and the mothers and fathers who are watching over them. Some will be resting, as for many of them this is the first place since they left their home countries where they feel safe.

In the evening, another group of volunteers arrives to cook and serve a simple dinner of pizza or tacos, beans and rice, Sometimes local restaurants donate the dinner. Either way, the families who will remain for the night have a meal and prepare to sleep. In the morning, we send them on their way, a little better off but armed with a sign (that we give them) that reads: “ PLEASE HELP ME. I DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH. WHAT BUS DO I TAKE? THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!”

I am energized each day by the families I meet, especially the children. I am energized as well by the volunteers. They come from our local communities but also from across the United States. We witness daily how, working together, people of all faiths can focus on helping the person in front of us. Regardless of who we are and where we came from, we remain part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.

As the Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, bishop of our diocese, says, “We must put human dignity first.”

Sr. Norma’s letter appeared in the Washington Post on January 9,2019

January 14th, 2019|Categories: News & Announcements|