Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This Week I...

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This week I am thinking hard about the countless staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to deliver our mission at Catholic Charities. 

After what seems to have been a very busy Spring with lots of agency activities and a number of talks and presentations by me for various groups, I’m looking forward to Summer and it’s unofficial beginning next weekend, including Memorial Day on Monday. While our offices don’t follow the school calendar, many of our activities still revolve around families whose children have the Summer off, and many who celebrate graduations during this season. It is also a time to refocus and recharge. 

I wonder how many of the team are feeling after a very busy Spring, as I try to put myself in your shoes. So many of them are a frontline presence for the people who come our way. What is it like to be a caregiver all day long to someone with developmental differences? What is it like to have session after session with those who have behavioral health issues? How do you cope with people in our shelters who are dealing with social issues beyond your competence (i.e. addictions, mental health or legal issues)? What is it like to try to help hundreds of people who are now frightened by immigration policy changes that are constantly in the news? How do you feel when trying to provide dental and medical care knowing that issues are far more serious than an individual can afford? How do you cope with someone who has lost their job or who comes here for asylum and can’t find work?

Each situation mentioned above is real. The team finds ways to help people whose struggles are seemingly beyond imagination and at times it affects their states of mind trying to give “help that empowers and hope that lasts.” We all have pressures, but I think many times, their pressures are far more difficult than mine. It is important to stay true to the common goal of helping those in need gain access to opportunity and hope. As we approach the unofficial beginning of Summer and look ahead to June, I hope everyone can find some time to recharge your batteries, take some vacation and enjoy the beautiful weather. This time to refocus is necessary if we are going to continue helping people to the best of our ability. 

Let us all—no matter whether you are an official member of the team or a supporter or someone just interested in making a difference in the lives of others-- rejoice in our common efforts to help our community. For me, it is a ministry, never a job. I take great comfort in believing the same is true for you, too.