The following is an excerpt of a piece written by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles:
This past weekend, we marked the second annual World Day of the Poor, established by Pope Francis.
There are many kinds of poverty, material and spiritual.
For some in our community, poverty means loneliness; they need someone to talk to, to make them feel they are worth something to someone. For others it is a lack of education; they need someone to teach them or mentor them, to show them the way.
One of the hopes I have for my ministry is that we can tell all the stories of the good works that are being done in our communities.
We hear so many stories of pain and tragedy. This is the stuff of our daily news.
But every day in every one of our communities, another story is being told. It is a story of people giving to others, serving those in need; it is the story of people showing love and kindness in small and often hidden ways.
Our Office of Life, Justice and Peace has been compiling some numbers and it is amazing.
Allow me to just share a few numbers from 2017:
- St. Vincent de Paul served more than 220,000 people at 143 parishes, providing emergency housing, rent assistance, furniture, and more.
- The Cardinal McIntyre Fund provided more than $300,000 in emergency assistance for families in crisis.
- The St. Francis Center in Downtown Los Angeles served more than 100,000 people, providing meals and supplies from its food pantry.
- Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children provided emergency shelter and transitional residences for more than 1,200 mothers and their children.
LA Catholics make an impact. That is the truth! And it is the name of a new initiative we have begun here to encourage more of us to get involved in volunteering our time to serve those in need.
The Life, Justice and Peace Office has put together a long list of volunteer opportunities — from helping children with special needs to serving the sick and the elderly, working with the homeless, feeding the hungry, and helping pregnant women and infants.
I urge you to check out our new website — lacatholics.org— and get involved. It is our beautiful duty to serve the poor. And as the saints remind us, in serving the poor we have a privileged encounter with Jesus Christ.
Full story at Angelus News.