Saturday, April 7, 2012

A story for Easter that touched my heart

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Guest Post from Father John
President and CEO of Catholic Charities

Dear Friends, 

I greet you on the eve of our most celebrated day of the Christian calendar, Easter!

Originally, I began writing this simply to wish you a blessed Easter and say thank you for your support and prayers, but just last week one of my division directors shared an especially touching moment I’d like to relay.

At our Anchor Mental Health facility in northeast Washington, we see more than 900 adults living with some form of mental illness. Often, these are people who have experienced a significant drop in quality of life, lacking the assistance of professional staff and proper medication management. Others are homeless and often live on the outside of our society, nearly invisible.

A woman who was homeless came in to Anchor, covered from head to toe in dirt and extremely ragged clothes. As you might expect of someone who had spent a lot of time living in the streets, she smelled very strongly. Her hair was twisted into knots and she was in need of a hot shower and medical attention for a number of skin rashes.

As she spoke with a staff member, she burst into tears. “No one will come near me or talk to me. I’m so lonely.” Without hesitation, the staff member embraced her in a long hug, telling her, “I’m right here with you. You’re not alone.”

To me, this is perfect for Easter Sunday. It reminds me of the Scripture where Jesus broke all customs and reached out in love and physically touched those with leprosy. It is how Christ treats all of us – he greets us and embraces us, no matter what. He reminds us, even as he faced and overcame death, that none of us are alone.

To see that translated each day at Catholic Charities is a humbling experience, and I am grateful to be part of such a vibrant and incredible outreach of the Church.

May you have a very blessed Easter Sunday!