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Advocating in Albany for Our Neighbors — Your Lenten Reflection

Catholic Charities of New York Leadership in Albany, February 2024

When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
–Mark 15:39

On the final Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week.  During these days, we journey with Jesus on his way to the cross and anticipate his Resurrection on Easter.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem on a donkey — symbolizing his arrival in service and peace.  From reading Scripture to attending special liturgies, there are many ways to commemorate Holy Week.  These practices help us to understand the way of the cross, teaching us what it means to follow Jesus.

What does it mean to take up his cross?  In the example of Jesus, we pour ourselves out in sacrificial love, serving God and neighbor.

At Catholic Charities of New York, this idea is ingrained in our history and mission of providing help and creating hope, and in our work of serving the basic needs of the poor, troubled, frail, and oppressed of all religions.  We help our neighbors as we would like to be helped — as if our family was in need.

In addition to the direct relief and human services that we provide to the most vulnerable people across New York, we create systemic change through our advocacy efforts at the city, state, and national levels.

We know that public policies can help individuals and foster the common good for all; we also know that they can have the power to inhibit the advancement of the dignity of individuals and families.

We look at public policy through the prism of the human person — and propose policies that alleviate human suffering.  This work is non-partisan.  We work with any and all in goodwill to further our legislative priorities.

Last month, our leadership team visited lawmakers in Albany to do just that. From supporting additional investments in supplemental nutrition programs like SNAP and the restoration of the expansion the Child Tax Credit, to reducing the rent burden on senior citizens and the passage of A.6868 into law to address skyrocketing rents for the poorest New Yorkers, our focus is on the people of New York.

Justice and compassion guide us in our advocacy of government.  Our society needs to be more just and more compassionate.  Systemic change begins with policy — and us, all of us together.

In prayer and reflection during Lent, we have learned to provide help and to create hope for our neighbors in need.  We are not alone in this mission.  We have one another.  And most importantly, we have God.  God is always with us.

A blessed Holy Week to you and your family!

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