Saving one baby every week—and their families

Date 01.12.15

Saving one baby every week—and their families

(Larry's column appeared in the Jan. 12 edition of the Denver Catholic Register)

You have been part of an amazing life-saving mission—and we have much more work to do.

Lighthouse Women’s Center, located in Denver across the street from a massive Planned Parenthood abortion facility, will soon record the 100th baby born to women served at Lighthouse. Since March 2013, we have averaged one precious baby a week, born to moms who have bravely chosen life—sometimes against incredibly tough odds.

Now it’s our turn to be a light in their lives. On Saturday, Jan. 31, A Beacon of Hope Gala will be held at Wings Over the Rockies in Denver. We’re planning to have more than 1,000 people in attendance and to raise more than $1 million for Lighthouse and Women’s Services.

I hope you can join us that evening and encourage you to visit ccdenver.org/gala to buy tickets. The deadline is Jan. 24. But if you can’t make it that night, there’s another way to participate by donating the cost of a ticket (at that same website link) to support the wide range of services provided by Catholic Charities to moms in need.

At Lighthouse, those services include free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, counseling and connections to needed services. Through the Gabriel Project, moms can get free diapers and material needs to care for their newborns and young children. At Father Ed Judy House, we provide shelter for single women with children, many of whom are victims of domestic violence. Our Respect Life Resources office works through schools, parishes and other venues to educate about the dignity of all life from conception to natural death. Project Rachel provides comprehensive counseling to post-abortive women and men.

We all know that families, particularly those struggling to get by, are under tremendous pressures. What can be done? Lighthouse and Women’s Services, through Catholic Charities, is showing what’s possible.

When a woman comes to Lighthouse in a difficult situation—pregnant, possibly alone, anxious and dreading the future—the care we provide is intended to serve her, save her child and rebuild her family. If we turn our back on them, we discard the future families of America and we can’t afford to do that. And Catholic Charities can’t afford to choose between saving the unborn and our social ministries that provide food, shelter and sustenance to the needy. They are one and the same. A life is a life. And life begins at conception.

A need to give, a need to receive

Date 12.17.14

(Larry's column appeared in the Dec. 17 edition of the Denver Catholic Register)

Our mission at Catholic Charities is to serve Jesus Christ by serving those with the greatest needs: our brothers and sisters who may be hungry, homeless and suffering. But it’s probably those with a need to give who have a greater hunger than those with a need to receive. Think about it. Don’t we all have a need to give? When someone receives a sandwich, or a place to sleep, they’re really giving the giver an opportunity to connect with Jesus Christ. 

The corporal works of mercy are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. Isn’t that what we’re all asked to do by Jesus Christ at one point or another in our lives? The spiritual works of mercy are to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, and to pray for the living and the dead.

Catholic Charities is about sharing the love and mercy of Jesus Christ in order to serve givers and receivers, from conception to natural death. We have a wide variety of ministries that serve 50,000 people a year throughout the Archdiocese of Denver. We have five child-care centers, with The Mariposa Early Childhood Education Center to open in 2015. We have five shelters, with a sixth one, the Holy Rosary Center for Women, opening soon. Regina Caeli Clinical Services offers counseling and mental health services. Lighthouse Women’s Center cares for pregnant woman—and is located across the street from an abortion clinic.

I invite you to join us at Catholic Charities. Pray for us. Volunteer at serve.ccdenver.org. And as you’re making year-end charitable donations, consider making an unrestricted tax-deductible gift to Catholic Charities. Our mailing address is 4045 Pecos St., Denver, CO 80211. Or, go to our website at www.ccdenver.org and click the red box that reads, “Donate to Change Lives,” and give to “Our Greatest Need.” You may also give restricted gifts to Catholic Charities that may provide greater tax benefits through the Child Care Tax Credit and Enterprise Zone Tax Credit. See the adjoining table for more information.

I wish you and your families a blessed Advent and a merry Christmas.

The most charitable act in the world

Date 11.18.14

The most charitable act in the world

(Larry's column appeared in the Nov. 18 edition of the Denver Catholic Register)

A man at Samaritan House said recently that the homeless shelter helped him find a job by providing “a place to sleep, a place to shower, a place to get groomed for a job interview (and) a sack lunch to take” for the day.

That’s what we do at Catholic Charities.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us for all eternity.

That’s why we do it. 1Serving Jesus Christ by serving others is at the heart of our many ministries.

At Samaritan House in downtown Denver, we put more than 350 people to bed each night, amounting to more than 125,000 nights of shelter a year. Our other shelters include St. Joseph’s Home for Veterans, Father Ed Judy House for women and children, The Mission in Fort Collins and Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley. We plan to open Holy Rosary Center for Women, a temporary shelter, in Denver.

Our shelters provide not just a place for those experiencing homelessness to sleep, but a way to get back on their feet, to regain their dignity, self-reliance and self-respect; to become contributors to society. And hopefully, to give back to others.

Our mission begins with Jesus Christ and that’s why our new Catholic Charities’ logo begins with the crucifix. The crucifix is the most charitable symbol in the world, because the ultimate charitable act is to give yourself completely for others, as Jesus Christ did.

I humbly ask you to join us in this service, however you feel called to participate. As Thanksgiving draws near, and then the Advent season that leads to Christmas, our hearts naturally open to the needs of others. Below are three things you can do right now. However you participate, it will be greatly appreciated by the people who need it the most.

Three things you can do right now:

– Sign up to serve. Visit our volunteer portal here and see for yourself the many needs that exist in our areas of Family and Child Care Services, Women’s Services, and Housing and Shelter Services.

– Buy an extra turkey and bring it to Samaritan House at 2301 Lawrence St. in Denver. Phone: 303-294-0241. Or, if you’d prefer to make a financial donation directly, click on the “Help the Homeless” banner atop our website at www.ccdenver.org.

– Donate $100, $250, $500 or more to Catholic Charities on Colorado Gives Day Dec. 9. Better yet, go to www.ccdenver.org right now and click on the Colorado Gives Day banner to pre-set that donation.

Celebrating 25 Years of Hope, Growth and Gratitude

Date 11.07.14

Celebrating 25 Years of Hope, Growth and Gratitude

The community is invited to a reception celebrating Catholic Charities’ 25 years of providing services to Larimer County and the surrounding region. This silver anniversary reception will be held November 18, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Parish Hall, 5450 South Lemay Avenue in Fort Collins.

Catholic Charities will honor Sister Mary Alice Murphy — who was vital in creating Catholic Charities’ homeless shelter, The Mission — as well as current and past board members, staff and countless volunteers who together have made it possible to help so many neighbors in their time of need. In addition to The Mission, which also provides community meals, Catholic Charities provides services to seniors and emergency assistance that helps people pay for utilities and transportation.

Although Catholic Charities’ presence in the region dates back more than 40 years, the creation of The Mission as a permanent shelter with office space marked the real beginning for Catholic Charities in Larimer County. The shelter opened in 1989 after a three-year fundraising effort spearheaded by the board, staff and a group of volunteers led by Sister Mary Alice Murphy. Its roots lie in a soup kitchen operated by Catholic Charities at St. Joseph’s School combined with emergency shelter in a borrowed building.

From its start, The Mission has benefited from strong support from not only Catholic parishes but from all faith communities, businesses and individuals in northern Colorado. At the grand opening, Sister Mary Alice said, “The Mission has become a beautiful example by the fact that it is not the work of just one person. Many, many people have made that a reality.”

Last year, that reality resulted in The Mission providing 26,000 nights of shelter to over 1,100 individuals and serving 73,000 meals. Add that to the 400 seniors helped by Catholic Charities in Fort Collins and Loveland and the emergency assistance provided to hundreds of individuals and families, and it is plain to see the need for services still exists in the region.

To RSVP, please call (970) 484-5010 or e-mail Catholic Charities at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Donations can be made at http://www.ccdenver.org/themission

Gospel of Life Conference took on the culture war

Date 11.07.14

Commentary by Lynn Grandon, director of Respect Life Resources and of Lighthouse Women's Center for Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver

We are so grateful for the leadership of these holy men at our conference today. Bishop Etienne spoke words of encouragement to health care workers, who often have to stand daily for moral truths and give loving explanations for Catholic thought in regards to medical practice and diagnosis. Colorado state Attorney General John Suthers was serious and sober as he laid out the current climate within our state regarding moral concerns. Everyone appreciated his succinct and honest assessment of difficult topics, and his obvious desire to honor natural and moral law. Our evaluation forms were full of praise for Dr. Kreeft’s brilliant performance as a “fallen angel," complete with a set of red horns from a Halloween store. The “upside-down” message on how Christians ought to behave to be effective in our culture was utterly prophetic. We knew that he was weary from air travel that morning from Boston – so we asked, “Are you up for questions?" His delightful response was, “Oh yes, that’s the fun part!” And an incredible, insightful, profound and powerful time it was!

The following is an excerpt from Cindy Brovsky's article in the Denver Catholic Register

While the United States faces serious attacks on religious freedom Catholics must develop a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ and fight the cultural war with truth, love and prayer, said renowned Catholic author Peter Kreeft.

“Since you are fighting Christ’s war use Christ’s weapons,” Kreeft told about 250 participants at the Gospel of Life Conference Oct. 25 at Risen Christ Parish in southeast Denver. “What are the weapons? Not power, not pragmatism, not political pandering. Christ could have used all of those weapons and won the world. He would have marched on Rome and become the new Cesar. Instead, he let himself be crucified by Caesar. It sounds crazy but he won something better than the world, he won heaven and he asks us to join his kingdom not Caesar’s.”

Read the full article here.

 

Fight for life with Jason Jones Jan. 31

Date 10.17.14

Fight for life with Jason Jones Jan. 31

(Larry's column appeared in the Oct. 15 edition of the Denver Catholic Register)

I’ve written previously about “The real war on women: a life of poverty.” Here’s the reality: “The culture asks women to contracept. Then, when they become pregnant, it asks them to abort. If they don’t abort and keep the child, many times they are ostracized from their family or violently abused by a partner. They are often left to raise their child completely alone.”

Now meet someone who, like Catholic Charities, is on the front lines, fighting for life. If you saw the 2006 pro-life movie “Bella,” you may already be familiar with the work of Jason Scott Jones, a producer of that film and others. He’s also the author, with John Zmirak, of the recent book, “The Race to Save Our Century.”

Jones will be the keynote speaker at the Beacon of Hope Gala on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Wings Over the Rockies, benefiting Lighthouse and Women’s Services of Catholic Charities. We raised $500,000 at the previous gala, which was sold out. I urge you to buy your tickets now through www.ccdenver.org/gala. Money raised will help support a range of women’s services, including Lighthouse Women’s Center, which has saved more than 50 lives of babies in its first two years in operation across the street from Planned Parenthood.

“If we cannot care for the most vulnerable members of our family, the child in the womb, then who can we care for?” said Jones by telephone recently. He himself experienced that tragedy. After he and his high-school girlfriend discovered she was pregnant, he entered the Army in order to support them. When he was in basic training in 1989, said Jones, he received a phone call from her telling him that she had been coerced into having an abortion.

Jones went on to become a pro-life activist, working at Hawaii Right to Life, in politics and for Human Life International. His focus now is using media to change hearts and minds, illuminating Catholic social teaching on the dignity of the human person.

“Why Catholic Charities and, to me, pregnancy centers are so important is they are a safety net for the most vulnerable members of our communities, which is mothers and their pre-born children,” said Jones, a Catholic convert.

Jones met his wife, they married in 2005 and live in Hawaii. They have seven children. He has an amazing vision for a new culture of life, including a short film, “Crescendo,” that will be online this week. Producers with Jones include Pattie Mallette (the mother of Justin Bieber) and Eduardo Verastegui, the star of “Bella.”

“My goal with this project was to create a monument to the incomparable dignity and beauty of the human person that would transcend time and culture,” said Jones in a statement.

Please join us and Jason Jones in the fight for life at the Jan. 31 Beacon of Hope Gala. And if you can’t attend, please give generously to support our work.

Domestic violence happens. Then what?

Date 09.23.14

Domestic violence happens. Then what?

Wendy's column can be found in the Denver Catholic Register, Sept. 23 edition.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is a crime. Perpetrators need to be prosecuted.

Then what? Often, in our inability to understand cruelty and violence, we look away from the victim. We put space between the victim and ourselves, questioning why she didn’t do what we would … judging her. I would never let him do that to me, we think. However, if she were your daughter, your sister or your mother, you would want compassion.

At Catholic Charities, we treat domestic violence victims with compassion. One of the ministries we offer is called the Father Ed Judy House, which serves moms who are homeless and survivors of domestic violence. In 2012-2013, 96 percent of the families we served in our alumni program were still in stable housing three years post-shelter. Why? Because we offer compassion, not judgment.

Similarly, Catholic Charities offers a network of services throughout northern Colorado. We meet people in crisis, nurture families and provide safe shelter. We offer concrete resources that rebuild lives and allow people to reclaim their dignity. We are called to meet the poor and those in need; we are called to offer compassion and the love of Jesus Christ.

Domestic violence is complicated; the effects of trauma are tenacious. The staff at the Father Ed Judy House is trained to address the secondary issues that accompany domestic violence. From emotional challenges such as nightmares, anxiety and depression, to functional challenges such as repairing credit and finding child care; these are the hidden trials that can be exhausting to survivors.

When I was the program director at the Father Ed Judy House, I often sat with women in the evening and listened to their stories. I was both outraged and crushed to learn how cruel people are to each other, especially in the guise of love. One mom shared how her husband hid their newborn child in a dumpster behind the house to terrorize her. Another explained how her husband used to place a bullet under her pillow every night – ritually – with the admonition that if she woke up the next morning, it was because he let her. And I will never forget when one young mother described how her perpetrator would line up their children, tie her in a kitchen chair facing them and then beat her.

Without understanding what they have experienced, it would be easy to judge. Many women cope with abuse by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, hiding in the closet hoping that tonight they and their kids will be safe. At Catholic Charities, we move past the judgment and move forward with solutions.

When a mom moves out of the shelter into housing, the Father Ed Judy House offers an alumni program. As they transition into the community, we stay with them by offering case management, counseling and peer support for as long as they need. So, if the perpetrator threatens them again, we are there. If they need help with child custody, restraining orders, other legal issues, we are there. If they feel lonely and isolated, we are there.

Catholic Charities offers many opportunities for you to help. Join us as we respond to domestic violence. Acknowledging the layers and complexities, I will say that the mothers I spent time with at the Father Ed Judy House are some of the most courageous women I know. They deserve our compassion.

 

Wendy Oldenbrook is director of Marketing and Communication for Catholic Charities Denver. She is the former program director of Catholic Charities’ Father Ed Judy House.

Help moms and infants with 100,000 diapers

Date 09.17.14

Help moms and infants with 100,000 diapers

(Larry's column appeared in the Sept. 16 edition of the Denver Catholic Register)

One of the greatest needs we have at Catholic Charities — at the five Gabriel Houses that serve new moms and on the family floors of our shelters — is diapers. So we have launched a drive to gather 100,000 diapers for newborns and infants by the end of October. We’re at nearly 30 percent of our goal and we need your help.

The Bottom Line Diaper Bank is led by volunteers through Catholic Charities. Diapers, as any parent knows, are very expensive. To provide diapers to children, whose parents are struggling financially, is a critical need. And when we look at the landscape of those we are serving, a fast-growing homeless population is young single mothers with children.

We’ve launched this drive to help families provide for their children a basic element. Please dig deep and help us collect 100,000 diapers for distribution to the needy.

There are two ways to participate. You can go online at www.ccdenver.org/diaper to donate cash, which will allow us to buy diapers directly. All donations made through the website will go to purchase diapers. For every $25 contributed, we can buy about 100 diapers for distribution.

If you would like to buy the diapers yourself in order to make an in-kind donation, go to the same website link, www.ccdenver.org/diaper, to make arrangements. We appreciate your help and I know the families served will be grateful.

In the future, we intend to incorporate our diaper drives through the parishes, so people can drop off diapers directly there and we can pick them up. We’re also reaching out to all the Knights of Columbus councils throughout northern Colorado and asking them to conduct two food drives, two diaper drives, a coat drive and a back-to-school drive for charity, through the parishes. We want to get people focused on participating in these charitable activities through their parishes. We welcome your participation.

Visit Catholic Charities online at www.ccdenver.org or call 303-742-0828 to learn more, volunteer or make a donation.

To make a donation to the 100,000 Diaper Campaign, go to www.ccdenver.org/diaper.

St. Rose of Lima 5th Graders Visit Catholic Charities Immigration Services

Date 09.15.14

St. Rose of Lima 5th Graders Visit Catholic Charities Immigration Services

On a Spring day in May of this year, more than 20 students, their teacher and their chaperones filed through the doors of Catholic Charities in Denver to take a tour of the Immigration Services Department and to engage in one final discussion about immigration, human rights and the services being offered by Catholic Charities, in order to understand some of the real-world ways these issues are affecting the very community within which they live and learn.

The students were finishing up a three-week intensive unit where they learned about the International Declaration of Human Rights, read the novel Esperanza Rising by: Pam Munoz Ryan, prepared informational brochures aimed towards providing helpful hints to arriving immigrants, and participated in various debates and discussions on the progression of both human rights and immigration throughout history.

As part of their learning experience, Cheryl Martinez-Gloria was invited to their classroom to give a presentation on the basics of immigration law in the United States. Their teacher, Ms. Sarah Nardozzi believes that the presentation really provided a forum for her students to further their understanding of immigration from yet another angle and to continue to develop their own opinions and ideas about the current state of immigration in the United States.

Many of Nardozzi’s students are from immigrant families themselves and almost all speak a second language at home. While their class is taught primarily in English, Ms. Nardozzi makes a conscious effort to foster bilingualism and to give value to the varied backgrounds of her students as she believes that it gives them unique insights and enriches the classroom platform for learning.

For the final project of this unit, the students published a hardcover book entitled: “Facing the Border: Telling Immigrant Stories through Poetry,” a compilation of stunning portraits and powerful poems which they dedicated to any and all immigrants in need of hope and comfort.

The students unveiled the book on their tour of Catholic Charities, and announced that they decided to donate $4 of the proceeds of each book sold to Catholic Charities Immigration Services. To purchase a copy of this book, please click here.

We'd like to extend a special thank you to Saint Rose of Lima Elementary School, Ms. Nardozzi and the entire 5th grade class for their enthusiasm and their unfettered hope for a better global society.

By: Brittany Roy
Immigration Counselor

 

*For information about our Immigration Services, please click here.

CBS Denver: Catholic Charities Diaper Bank helps supply need for Colorado families

Date 09.11.14

CBS Denver: Catholic Charities Diaper Bank helps supply need for Colorado families

Kathy Walsh, of CBS Denver, visited the Gabriel House on Sept. 10, reporting a story on Catholic Charities 100,000 Diaper Drive. For more information about our diaper drive and how to donate, visit: www.ccdenver.org/diaper

To read the full article, click here, and see the full video, below.

 

‘It’s still not over’

Date 09.10.14

Flood victims find solace, ongoing recovery year after devastation

‘It’s still not over’

When the rain falls down around his home, Joe Montez can’t sleep.

A year ago when it rained, rivers swelled and flash floods swept the Front Range region ravaging homes and displacing thousands, including Montez and his family.

Without warning, 6-foot-high waves of water from the Platte River deluged their Weld County property on Country Road 52 and left them stranded, forced to sleep the night on the raised railroad tracks nearby.

“It’ll be with us forever because of the fear,” said Montez, 59, a Vietnam veteran. “When it rains you can’t sleep, because you don’t know.”

There was no way to anticipate heavy rains causing severe flooding in September 2013 would reach historic levels earning it the title of a 1,000-year rain and a 100-year flood. More than 18,000 residents were evacuated, and 1,621 homes destroyed, according to state agencies.

Read more at The Denver Catholic Register

Written by: NISSA LAPOINT, September 08, 2014

Photo Credit: Nissa LaPoint/DCR

Making a gift of your life

Date 08.13.14

Making a gift of your life

(Larry's column appeared in the Aug. 13th edition of the Denver Catholic Register)

Look to the Middle East and so many of our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ are fighting for their way of life, their faith and even their lives. Christians across the globe are being persecuted and tortured just because they believe in Jesus Christ.

What can we do?

“First, we need to express our solidarity with our fellow Christians in the Middle East through material and spiritual support,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila wrote recently in the Denver Catholic Register. “We must pray and fast for our enemies and their change of heart as Jesus commands us in the Gospel.”

Meanwhile, many thousands of unaccompanied children have poured over the southern border into the United States.

What can we do?

“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, that these children be welcome and protected,” said Pope Francis in July in a statement to the Mexico/Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development. “These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”

In our own communities, we see what Blessed Mother Teresa, from her book “A Simple Path,” once described as “not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality.”

What can we do?

At Catholic Charities, we welcome the stranger, body and soul, through our many ministries.

“Just talking to someone makes all the difference in the world,” I said recently on EWTN’s “Heroic Media” program. “We see the effects of that … where these people have nobody to talk to and they have nobody to share their lives with. And when you do, and the smile appears on their face, and all of the sudden you find out the rich history that this person brings and all the beauty and the glory and the dignity that that human being has — given to them by God — you’re blown away by it. Everybody has a beautiful story, if you let them tell you what it is. It’s just taking the time. …That’s charity.”

So what will you do?

As summer winds down and we look to the beginning of the school year, take a moment and offer a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for his great gift of salvation. And ask: what does it mean to be Catholic, to lead by example, to make a gift of your life?

In Response to the Child Refugee Crisis on our Southern Border

Date 07.21.14

In Response to  the Child Refugee Crisis on our Southern Border

"In this humanitarian crisis, let us not forget that these immigrant families and children are human beings. They are children of God and must be treated with dignity and respect, care and compassion."

(Sister Norma Pimentel, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, San Juan, Texas.)

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver is working with other Catholic Charities agencies to help address the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border of the United States. A representative of Catholic Charities’ Immigration Services for Denver is assisting our sister agencies.

 

The Disaster Operations team from Catholic Charities USA “has been responding to this crisis since early June, providing a range of support to our local agencies such as working with government agencies to find shelter that can properly house children, finding bilingual volunteers and certified social workers, and collaborating with other U.S. Catholic Church organizations and service providers to identify and work towards long-term and short-term solutions to this crisis.”

 

Regardless of the reasons for this crisis, these children need our help now. Please contribute generously so that we may serve others with mercy and compassion, guided by the light of Jesus Christ.

 

https://secure.qgiv.com/for/ccdenver/restriction/RefugeesandImmigration/

Two Catholic ministries partner for Denver’s poor

Date 07.16.14

Denver Catholic Charities and Society of St. Vincent de Paul trade resources in mutual commitment to poor, homeless throughout Denver metro area

Two Catholic ministries partner for Denver’s poor

In their ongoing commitment to connect “those with a need to give and those with a need to receive,” Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver happily announces an expanded partnership with the Denver metro area’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), a fellow Catholic organization equally committed to the Church’s call to charity.

About St. Vincent de Paul Society

Inspired by the living witness of St. Vincent de Paul, a 16th century saint renowned for his remarkable service to the poor, members of the Society provide door-to-door service to the needy and suffering residing within their local community. The international Society’s network is organized into small, parish-based conferences of Catholics specially committed to the Vincentian mission.

Society members travel in groups of two for scheduled home visits with the person or family in need and, after giving them the opportunity to share the details of their situation, determine together if and how the Society may be of service.

“Our motto within the Society has always been, ‘No works of charity are foreign to [us],” says Chris Strassburger, executive director of the SVdP’s Denver Metro Council.

“It might be buying someone food or clothing or crucial prescriptions,” continues Strassburger. ”It might be assisting with basic utility bills for protection against the elements. Or, it could be driving someone to a job interview because they don’t have a car. It’s truly amazing, the stories I’ve heard about how our volunteers help people in their moment of need.”

Partnering with Catholic Charities

In 2011, Catholic Charities’ Emergency Assistance ministry began partnering with two SVdP conferences in Aurora – one at St. Pius X Parish and the other at St. Michael the Archangel Parish. Since that time, Catholic Charities has donated over $50,000 in rent and utility assistance funds to the conference.

In recent months, Catholic Charities has expanded this partnership from two to all 27 parishes currently hosting a SVdP conference within the Denver Metro Council, and committed to sharing up to $60,000 in emergency funds before the end of 2014. Beyond financial assistance, Catholic Charities has also begun assisting the SVdP ministry on a routine basis with clothing and other needed material goods.

“Catholic Charities is committed to partnering with other Catholic organizations to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” says Wendy Oldenbrook, Director of Marketing and Communication at Catholic Charities. “Working with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Knights of Columbus and parishes throughout the archdiocese allows us to amplify our collective impact, increase efficiencies and support the grassroots efforts of dedicated volunteers in our community.”

Strassburger agrees.

“Through this partnership, we can help even more men, women, and children in our community to get past a short term hurdle that life has thrown them,” he adds, “and help them to better themselves for the long term.”

Beyond assisting Catholic Charities with ensuring the personalized distribution of material needs to those in need, the SVdP has also demonstrated their own support for like-minded Catholic Charities ministries. On a monthly basis, the SVdP conference at St. Michael the Archangel Parish has collected, on average, over 250 pounds of donated food to be delivered to Catholic Charities Little Flower Food Pantry in Aurora.

A unified mission for the poor


As the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Denver, Catholic Charities connects those with a need to give and those with a need to receive, in three interlocking areas: Women’s Services, Family & Child Care Services, and Housing and Shelter Services.

Like Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul believes that charity extends far beyond material help.

“Sometimes the thing for which our clients are most grateful is our willingness to sit with them, to listen to their story with compassion, and to assure them that they aren’t alone,” says Strassburger.

Neither Catholic Charities nor the Society make any religious distinction in who they serve. Firmly rooted in prayer, Christian Gospel values and in the social teaching of the Catholic Church, they recognize every charitable encounter as an encounter with the face of Jesus Christ.

 

Call to Charity: Contraception Deception

Date 07.15.14

Call to Charity: Contraception Deception

(Larry's column appeared in the July 16 edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)

I read recently about a “remote control contraceptive chip” and wondered: where does it go after that, when is enough enough?

Sex is a beautiful, amazing thing. And the Catholic Church is an amazing proponent of it, within marriage, when it’s honored for what it is, which is a beautiful act of creation given to us by Jesus Christ and God our Father.

Charity begins when we stop objectifying our spouses. It begins when we stop forcing one another to contracept. It’s in not sleeping with your spouse-to-be. This has to go both ways. Men and women have to take responsibility.

That’s where charity begins. When we do that, then we will start to be charitable in a way that matters with the people we love the most. And when you’re charitable with the people you love the most, guess what happens? Then you’re charitable to other people, whom you may not love quite as much or know quite as much. But then you’ll start to understand charity and then you’ll start to share it.

All these things are being ripped away from us in society as the family breaks down before our eyes, in large part because of the contraceptive, narcissistic, commercialization of sex.

And who pays the price? Women in poverty.

In remarks to the Knights of Columbus, to young people at Theology on Tap and on EWTN, I’ve discussed aspects of this sad scenario. First we ask women to contracept. If that contraception fails, we ask them to abort. And if they decide not to abort, then what happens? At Catholic Charities, we have a bird’s eye view of this. They may be ostracized and suffer domestic abuse from their partners, who don’t want them to keep the child. If they live with their parents, who don’t want them to keep the child, then they’re kicked out of the house, which leaves them homeless.

So now they’re pregnant and they’re homeless and they have no one who loves them to care for them.

That is a human tragedy. And it won’t be solved by remote control.