The Archdiocese of New York includes Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, as well as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties. That covers a lot of ground and includes over 5.8 million people.
Prior to March of 2020, when the Archdiocese, along with much of the northeastern United States, was hit incredibly hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, there was little need to monitor the needs of every single one of those 5.8 million people. But since then, the very methods that made CCNY available to those in need have had to change, to broaden, because need itself has broadened so much.
Whether you choose to look at the Coronavirus through the lens of lives lost, or jobs lost, financial wellbeing or support structures, confronting this suffering has been and continues to be, the greatest challenge of our lifetime. But through it all, heroic people risked their health and took on the burden of worry to make sure they were in the places doing the things in service to any and all neighbors.
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan who is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has had the unenviable task of organizing the charity’s response to this pandemic. But as he will be quick to tell you, the ones chosen to face this task with him are the nothing less than heroic – they who give of their heart and soul, through the framework of Catholic Charities.
In the “St. Joseph the Worker” mass, a mass dedicated to the workers of Catholic Charities, Monsignor talked about the many essential workers in hospitals and public services, but gave special attention to Catholic Charities workers. The many individuals who work long hours, keep company with the suffering, and who dedicate themselves to bring light and transformation to others’ lives. They unload trucks, serve meals, visit the sick, and do whatever needs to be done. They have embraced the changes that became necessary during the pandemic, and as need increased, they gave more of themselves.
In the Monsignor’s own words, and in the spirit of gratitude and acknowledgment to those many people who serve through Catholic Charities, comes an important, new public service announcement:
“Catholic Charities’ workers, you wear no distinctive uniforms, no scrubs, no stethoscopes, no badges. You wear the same clothes as your neighbors. Our color, race, ethnicity is as diverse as those we serve. Dedicated workers like you bring professionalism and compassion that is literally saving lives.”
If you are in need of help, go to GETHELPNEWYORK.ORG to find it.