Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

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The late Henri Nouwen once wrote that “prayer is not a pious decoration of life but the breath of human existence.” Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic Priest left a prestigious Harvard professorship to serve as the pastor of L’Arche, a place where people with developmental disabilities live in Christian community. It is at L’Arche where after many years of searching Nouwen found what he was looking for, true community. A place where transformation happens.   A place where, through simple human interactions touched by a God of mercy, he learned to see the world differently and experience life in a new way. Not as a series of hurried and anxiety-ridden tasks, what many of us know as normal, but an intentional life full of compassion and connection.Every week hundreds of people come to Catholic Charities looking for food. Some we see every month, a signal that they are stuck in an unjust cycle of poverty from which they cannot emerge. Others experience episodic need, they are in between jobs or they have unexpected expenses. And most of these families have to make difficult decisions each day; will they pay to keep the power on or will they buy groceries? They bring more than hunger
I knew right away she was homeless. All the usual signs were there. She had on layers of tattered clothing. She was surrounded by bags of items that she held close. The expression on her face was that of anger. She snapped at the fellow food pantry visitors that moved in on her space in the makeshift waiting room. She carefully positioned herself in the corner of the room away from others. She almost curled herself up in a ball in the chair while everything about her presence screamed self-protection. When she told volunteers that she wasn’t going to fill out any form to get food, I knew God had sent her to us for a reason.  I carefully moved into the situation by intentionally respecting her space boundaries. Her name was Sophia and she had been homeless for six years. She had an address but it was a homeless address and people respected that the room in the abandoned building was hers. No one messed with her there. She managed to maintain an “off the books” job at a local store. Sofia explained, “They know my mind is different and they don’t care because they know I’m reliable. They know
The mission of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), established in 1943, is to carry out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies.   CRS also serves Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world. In the Diocese of Charlotte, the coordination of CRS programming takes place out of Catholic Charities’ Office of Social Concerns and Advocacy, whose director serves as the CRS diocesan liaison, appointed to that role by Bishop Peter J. Jugis. This diocesan based work is assisted by the CRS Southeast regional office in Atlanta, Georgia, a team of volunteers from the Diocese of Charlotte who serve on an advisory committee, and many parish and school Rice Bowl coordinators. CRS resources can be found at CRS has also produced special resources to celebrate the Year of Mercy, located at Contributions to CRS are made through the Lenten Rice Bowl, Work of Human Hands fair trade sales, and Helping Hands events. Each of these programs have educational components integrated with prayer to nurture a deeper commitment for those

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National Adoption Month November is National Adoption Month! Did you know that these famous people were adopted? •           Maya Angelou •           Tim McGraw •           Gerald Ford •           Sarah McLachan •           John Hancock •           Nancy Reagan •           Faith Hill •           Eleanor Roosevelt •           Jesse Jackson •           Babe Ruth •           Steve Jobs •           Dave Thomas •           Nelson Mandela •           J.R.R. Tolkien  Catholic Charities has been facilitating adoptions in North Carolina since 1948. Families have been united through domestic and intercountry adoption throughout the years. Currently, Catholic Charities provides support to birth and adoptive parents throughout the entirety of the process, from pre-placement to post-placement, and beyond.  Here are some helpful hints on terminology when referring to adoption: Appropriate: Less Appropriate: Birth parents Real parents My child Adopted child Child in need of a family Adoptable child Parent Adoptive parent Court termination Child taken away Deciding to parent your child Keeping the baby Individual who was adopted Adoptee   “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, and penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou   By Mishaun L. Mitchell, MSWAdoption/Pregnancy Support Social Worker
One of the many privileges I have directing Catholic Charities’ Office of Social Concerns and Advocacy is getting to know firsthand many wonderful organizations and grassroots programs, with their incredibly dedicated staff, that are on the frontlines battling poverty in communities across the Diocese of Charlotte. This opportunity arises because the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Program in the Diocese of Charlotte is coordinated by Catholic Charities’ Office of Social Concerns and Advocacy. This program offers non-profit organizations, including parishes of the diocese, opportunities for grant funding thanks to the generous support of parishioners who donate through the annual CCHD National Collection. Thanks to last November’s CCHD Collection, our diocese was able to send $108,436 to the national CCHD office at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C., as well as sponsor a grants program with the $36,145 reserved for local use in the Diocese of Charlotte. The CCHD collection raises funds for these grants, with 75% of distributed funds going to support national grants and 25% of distributed funds supporting grants for non-profits in the Diocese of Charlotte. It is at this time of year, mid-way through the fall season, that parishes are gearing up
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