January 12, 2018

Our Works of Charity / David Bethuram

Embrace a journey of service, ring in 2018 with joy, hope and love

David BethuramHappy New Year from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis! As I reflected on “ringing” in the new year, I was reminded of the tradition of ringing bells in our Church. As Catholics, we ring bells to create a joyful noise during Mass. Church bells are also used to call attention to announcements being made, to remember an event, to signal an alert for safety, or simply to mark the time of day.

As we “ring” in 2018, what do we want to celebrate, to accomplish and to focus on? What will the bells ring for in your life?

At Catholic Charities, we’re ringing in the new year with “joy.” We celebrate the dedicated men and women in our many programs and ministries serving the frail, the poor, the forgotten and the struggling. We rejoice in their continued commitment to the ministries of charity, and we celebrate their many achievements in 2017.

We’re also ringing in the new year with “hope.” In the face of unforeseen challenges, we know we must be the source of hope during difficult times. It is our calling as the hands and heart of Jesus in our world today. We look forward in hope as we continue to address the needs and struggles of the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. I am often reminded of the memorable lines beginning A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Sharing this true story, from our own era, of two communities side by side where we live, one can be seen as experiencing the best of times and the other—quite the opposite.

We are challenged to go beyond the first glance of a community experiencing the best of times to seeing “another city” among us—of people trapped in pockets of persistent poverty. Look into the shadows and side streets, and you find frustration and hopelessness, along with a daily debilitating level of stress that tears families apart.

Christ’s message is clear: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” When you support the work of our charity ministries like Catholic Charities or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, we live that message. We help the most vulnerable and at-risk, thousands of your neighbors—people battered by homelessness and lack of employment, strained by a lack of resources and education—with many more unserved.

Finally, we’re ringing in the new year with “love.” Pope Francis reminds us that when we love one another, we are loving and serving Christ. Now, the pope is calling us to share a journey with our neighbors—all our neighbors, not only those who live near us, look like us, speak like us or pray like us. Our neighbors include many of the world’s most vulnerable people—migrants and refugees fleeing war, poverty and persecution; people who seek only basic needs and a path forward. Just like us, they are children of God, deserving of dignity and love. We as a Church are answering the pope’s call to encounter and walk with these migrants and refugees in support and solidarity.

Yes, the bells are ringing for Catholic Charities in 2018—let’s ring them far and wide! We invite you to bring your passion and light, your care and commitment. Embrace a vision that strengthens families—and enables Indiana’s poor to become rich in self-sufficiency.

Thank you for embarking on this journey of service with us in the new year!
 

(David Bethuram is executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Charities. E-mail him at dbethuram@archindy.org.)

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