| By Father Dwight Ezop

Take Time to Read About the Good Works of Catholic Charities

In a recent conversation with my dad, he remarked that he felt that perhaps the most important thing we can do as Christians is to live the two great commandments given to us by Jesus: Love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and with all our strength, and love others as we ourselves are loved by God. To my dad, these words of Jesus give us the best description of how we are to live our faith on a daily basis. I know that my dad has taken Jesus’ words to heart throughout his life, but they have had special meaning to him in the later years of his life, when his time is not encumbered by work, and he has the freedom to live those words out in the best ways he can each day. To him, it is the second great commandment that provides him with myriad opportunities to live his faith in concrete ways that touch the lives of others. I admire his commitment and desire to continue to live in this way, even as he has surpassed the age of 86.

Living our faith both individually and collectively in such a way as to share the love of Christ is indeed one of the most important and life-giving things we can do. Providing food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, clothing for those who have none, comforting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, assisting the grieving, burying the dead and welcoming the stranger are among the corporal (bodily) and spiritual works of mercy to which Jesus calls us daily. Certainly, we can accomplish such works on our own or working with others. It is also good to remember that there is a whole host of dedicated people who minister in the name of Jesus and in our name across the diocese to offer such assistance in these and many more ways.

As a person of faith, as a priest and as a pastor, I cannot begin to adequately describe the importance and the power of the work done by all the folks associated with Catholic Charities across the 10 counties of our diocese. In a very personal way, their work has made my life possible.

I am one of hundreds of people whose adoptions were handled through Catholic Charities. Without their work and dedication, I have no doubt that my life would have been very different.

As a priest and pastor, I have always been glad to know that I could refer folks to Catholic Charities when they were in need of a good counseling resource  ̶  as an individual, as a couple, or even as a family. The professionals at Catholic Charities provide good resources to assist couples preparing for marriage. More than once I have been able to connect couples with a desire to foster or to adopt children with programs sponsored by Catholic Charities and its professional staff.

One aspect of the work of Catholic Charities that many people are not aware of is their ongoing and very successful efforts at resettling refugees and immigrants. Through the years, Catholic Charities has helped thousands of individuals and families to settle in Michigan and begin the work of establishing a new, safe, secure and productive life here. The work accomplished by Refugee Services of Catholic Charities has changed the lives of so many and has helped to enrich many mid-Michigan communities.

Take some time to meet Jabar and Aaron. They are but two examples of the countless number of people whose lives have been forever changed by the hard work and dedication of folks who minister in our name and in the name of Jesus each day through the good works undertaken by Catholic Charities agencies across our diocese. They remind us of the very concrete reality of what it means to love others as we ourselves are loved by God. And so, our journey in FAITH continues.