My dear friends in Christ,
In the United States, one out of every six people lives in poverty. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the Church’s response to assist and empower the poor and help them move toward independence and economic security. The annual CCHD collection funds programs which reach out to those living on the margins and provides them with a hand up, not a hand out.
New this year Pope Francis has designated November 19 the World Day of the Poor, a day which calls us to encounter those on the margins and to work to put our faith into action. The Holy Father reminds us that there is a difference between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves. (World Day of the Poor message, no. 1) It is a reminder we hear in next week’s first reading where “A holy person uses the gifts she has been given, ‘reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.’” (PRV 31:20)
Next weekend, November 18-19, is the date of the annual CCHD collection in our parishes. This national collection is the primary source of funding for the CCHD’s anti-poverty grants and education programs aimed at fostering a culture of life and hope in communities across the nation. Twenty-five percent of funds collected remain in our diocese to support the projects and programs of local organizations. Last year’s collection raised nearly $34,000 and helped fund eight programs, including the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP!) through Community EnCompass in Muskegon and Salvation Army’s Congregational Partnership which assists homeless families in obtaining long-term housing and creating a secure future.
Your support of this collection makes a difference for people living in poverty in our diocese and across the United States. Please prayerfully consider how you can give to the CCHD this year. For more information about the collection and those it supports, visit www.usccb.org/cchd/collection.
Thank you for joining us to support families and communities living in poverty.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of Grand Rapids