Greeting All Staff & Board Members:
I pray for you all every day and I am so happy to share some updates from my trip to DC, including attendance at the White House Welcoming Ceremony and Mass with Pope Francis at the National Basilica of Immaculate Conception. This Mass was a canonization occurring for the first time on American soil of a new saint, Junipero Serra. Central to the visit by Pope Francis was his message of hope and mercy. He emphasized again and again how we are all one “common people”, created in the image and likeness of God and we are present on one “common land” also created by God to be preserved and shared by all God’s people. The attention by the media was just incredible and I must say that at every moment of my time in his presence the Joy and Happiness of the Gospel and the Joy and Happiness of all people was at pinnacles never experienced in my life. Catholic Charities, and those who are poor, hungry, refugees and in prison, garnered incredible attention this past week. We ALL must be so proud to work for Catholic Charities, as this was his theme throughout his time with us last week. Three items are included for you to read and share at your pleasure on this past week:
1) Attached is a beautiful writing on Saint Junipero Serra, referencing the entry and growth of Christianity in America and influence of the America’s patroness saint Our Lady of Guadalupe. He was THE defender of human rights for Native Americans and was the world’s first voice for protection of the natives and all suffering in the newly colonized America’s against misguided rulers.
2) Please feel free to visit Catholic Charities and my own Facebook site to see incredible postings and pictures of my time in DC:
3) A letter below for Sr. Donna Markham, President/CEO of CCUSA to us as Catholic Charities Directors on her own personal meeting with Pope Francis and the incredible attention given by Pope Francis to Catholic Charities in DC, NY and Philadelphia. Also contained in her note is a link to all the talks given by Pope Francis.
I pass all the Blessings I received onto to each of you in your work of MERCY serving the poor and vulnerable. Thank you again for your inspiring service.
Note from Sr. Donna
I hope you are recovering from the incredible experience we had last week with Pope Francis. In addition to being present when His Holiness visited DC Catholic Charities as lunch was being served to homeless people by Msgr. John Enzler and volunteers, I was privileged to be present at our CC agency in East Harlem when Msgr. Kevin Sullivan welcomed the Pope and introduced him to refugee and immigrant families. As I was present at many events, people told me repeatedly how much they value the work done across the country by Catholic Charities. Whether politicians, legislators, donors, clergy or common folk on the street, I was the recipient of the incredible gratitude people have for you and for all we do.
By the time Friday evening rolled around, I was resigned to the fact that I would not have an opportunity to meet Pope Francis. His goodness, deep spirituality and kindness affected me personally and I count that as nothing but grace–even thought I did not meet him. Then, to my utter surprise, Archbishop Auza, Nuncio from the Holy See to the UN, came up to me at CC in E. Harlem and asked if I could be at the Holy See Mission Saturday morning at 6 am. I would have an opportunity to meet Pope Francis privately there before he left for Philadelphia. I was speechless.
When I met him, I expressed my gratitude to him on behalf of all of you, my deep appreciation for his raising to people’s awareness the plight of our marginalized and suffering sisters and brothers in our country. Then, I promised that we would hold him in our prayers with much affection. I received his blessing and felt that blessing was really for all of you, not simply for me. It was a very special encounter that was quite emotional for me as I represented you in the presence of this holy man.
I will include with this message a link to the transcripts of all the talks given by the Pope during the Papal Visit.
Blessings on your ministry,