Looking back and looking forward are perennial New Year’s themes. This year, as every year, there is much to regret and decry and much to celebrate and applaud. In looking to the new year through the prism of Catholic Charities I also see similar themes — hope and worry. I worry that too many of our neighbors continue to struggle to meet basic needs. The concrete ones are obvious — food and shelter. Catholic Charities will help thousands of families next year to maintain or obtain decent affordable housing. We will help tens of thousands to put nutritious meals on their tables at the end of the month when cash runs out from meeting other household expenses.
And then there are other important needs, yet maybe less tangible — a loving family and a decent education. In 2024, Catholic Charities will help thousands of families to stay together or be reunited. We will help thousands of teenagers to stay in school, graduate, and embark on a career. This gives me hope. I am also hopeful and thankful because so many generous folks like you support Catholic Charities in helping New Yorkers in need. Thank you.
But I also worry that too many families and youth fall between the cracks and do not get the help they need. I worry that there is too much hate and mistrust of one another. I worry that global violence and wars causing immense suffering and pain far away will spill over into hate and anger in our own New York communities.
Perhaps, we may not be able to directly impact these immense global problems, but we are not helpless…
In the new year is it too much to ask that each of us commit individually through our words and deeds in our own spheres — to be instruments of healing, and not hurt, kindness, not meanness, love, not hate? In the midst of troubling realities let us allow the Lord’s promise to be heard clearly:
“Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)
With deep gratitude,
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan