Transforming Love and Faith into Service

Spring is in the air and I am thinking of my Mom.  I have countless memories of my mother, but today I am remembering a damp and rainy, spring day when my brother, Patrick, and I walked in the door expecting our customary hug, followed by “How was your day?” Little did we know Mom had been gazing out the window and witnessed my brother and me fail to defend a friend in need.  We actually didn’t do anything hurtful or hateful; we simply remained silent and walked away. We just didn’t care. My Irish Catholic mother was not too pleased with our actions. On this particular occasion Mom resembled the perfect combination of John the Baptist’s force of authority calling me to repent and my beloved St. Francis gently guiding me in the right direction. Mom lined us up against the refrigerator. I can still feel the fridge magnet holding one of my prized pictures next to the GE symbol pinching my back.  We were about to hear how incredibly painful it is to act with Indifference.

 I remember us sheepishly gazing at each other.  Mom had told us in the past about the importance of having an “informed conscience.”  We often heard her say God will not judge all people the same, because some don’t have the benefit of knowing better.  It was on those days that mom informed our conscience; I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and chime…la..la..la, so that Mom’s words might not sink in.  I thought that if I didn’t know better, I might get a “free pass” from God.  On this particular day, Mom proceeded to tell us how important it was to care and to value the life of others; especially those that are bullied, oppressed, and persecuted.

As the years have passed, I’ve realized just how poignant Mom’s words were to us. I’ve witnessed the greatest heartaches when someone could truly have made a difference, but chose to remain silent and indifferent. Indifference kills hope. Indifference destroys one’s spirit. That spirit of hope is the motivation and foundation that one builds their life upon. It creates endurance and strength. Hope is essential to life. If one has hope, they can endure the hardships that come their way; overcome the pain. Ironically, when you destroy the hope in another, you often perpetuate the indifference that contributed to that feeling of hopelessness in the first place.

I am thinking of my Mom and so many other mothers that instill hope in our lives and inspire compassion this Mother’s Day. I am thankful she lined us up at that refrigerator door and made sure our fingers were out of our ears in order that we could hear her words. I am thinking of all the times my brothers and I asked my Mom what she’d like for Mother’s Day and she responded, “Just love each other.”

We at Catholic Charities are mindful that it is your support that empowers our lives and allows us to transform love and faith into service. It is because you care that we are “providing help and creating hope.”  We carry you with us each day while we help children in need, families in crisis, vulnerable adults and seniors, refugees and immigrants, unmarried mothers and their unborn children reach their full potential, regardless of race, faith tradition, or ability to pay. May God bless you for all you do on behalf of those we serve.  Thank you for your kindness and support!

Submitted by:

Mary Alessio
Director of Advancement
Catholic Charities