Updated: Jan 23
Because of the closer bonds between peoples of different cultures and ethnicities over the whole world and in our communities, we are today witnessing a need for a widening of the role of the common good. It is the role of society to allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily. Society must also take into account the needs and legitimate aspirations of the human family as a whole.
At the same time, there is a growing awareness of the dignity of each human person. He and she ought to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuine human life: for example, food, clothing, housing, support in following a vocation and raising a family, the right to education, work, and worship.
"We are today witnessing a need for a widening of the role of the common good."
Society and its role in human development must not be left solely dependent on governmental intervention. In practice, long-term effectiveness of human development comes from the private sector and organizations built on faith initiatives. Catholic Charities of Southern Colorado is one such entity, offering resources to serve those whose needs are not otherwise met, regardless of their social standing or faith preferences. The mission is simply “to empower people to live whole and healthy lives to reach their fullest potential by providing them with pathways to build skills, knowledge, and opportunities.”
Among the 12 evidence-based programs which are serving 2580 individuals and families, note especially the crucial benefits of several programs which strengthen families in distress. Catholic Charities works with parents of small children to create a safe, stable, and supportive home environment. There is a Fatherhood Program to support fathers in building healthy communications, problem solving and co-parenting skills with an emphasis on nurturing father-focused behavior. Other hands-on family counseling includes parental, financial, and Life Skills training and, when necessary, emergency assistance. For those individuals on Social Security SSI or SSDI, this may include paying bills and expenses.
"Catholic Charities of Southern Colorado is one such entity, offering resources to serve those whose needs are not otherwise met, regardless of their social standing or faith preferences."
Another crucial initiative is the ReHire Colorado program, a transitional jobs program that stabilizes individuals and families having lost employment with earned income in transitional, training jobs. Trainees receive assistance towards getting on their feet, extending their education, and finding stable employment. Veterans, including those with service-related disabilities, are given a helping hand. An additional 350+ immigrants every year are assisted through Catholic Charities, in finding housing, work, maintaining green cards and moving towards permanent residency or citizenship, if desired.
In March 2020, Catholic Charities began a community-wide food distribution program to assist families during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of many volunteers, they aided approximately 11,500 families with more than 350,000 pounds of food, 150,000 diapers and other necessities. The listing of works and the dedication of staff are untold stories of blessings to our community. And so, now, with all this in mind, a brief announcement and request for your support.
According to our shared responsibility for the common good, and to give access to what is necessary for living a genuine human life—food, clothing, housing, support in following a vocation and raising a family—to the nearly 17% of southern Coloradans who live below the poverty line--Catholic Charities is hosting an evening benefit: Espiritu! Music That Moves the Soul, on February 10 at the Pueblo Convention Center. The program features the musical performances of Fr Carl Wertin, Fr Edmundo Valera, and, yes, me. (I play the piano.) Check out the Catholic Charities website to obtain tickets or make a contribution as the Spirit moves you. Come one, come all!
May God Bless you and your families this New Year, and bring success to the work of our hands!
+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo
Image by jcomp on Freepik
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