My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
The origins of Thanksgiving Day come to us from Colonial times when tradition has it that the Pilgrims and the Native Indians rejoiced after a plentiful harvest. There are various interpretations of this tradition, however, I always say that the fact is that is the way it should have been. If it was not that way, it is unfortunate.
Truly, this is the ideal that has been put forth to us during this Thanksgiving time – one of cooperation, racial harmony and solidarity. We are in need of what our original founders came to believe as the foundation of a just society.
As we approach this Thanksgiving, each one of us can give thanks for the personal graces which we have received from Almighty God. As a society, however, we recognize that we can always improve the works of justice.
We were deeply grateful for the visit of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the United States this September. Through his words and actions, he inspired us to find ways to reach out to the poor. Every year on the last Sunday of November, a national collection is taken up in our parishes for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Clearly, the CCHD attempts to alleviate poverty in America and defend human dignity.
Pope Francis has asked that we become a Church for and of the poor. There are structural issues of poverty that are being addressed in the Diocese of Brooklyn, not only by the funding of local grants, but also by the national grants that have been given this year to our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens for a total of $345,000. Our Diocesan collection last year was $178,324, and so we received back more than we sent because of our great need here in Brooklyn and Queens.
The projects funded this year went to groups fighting for economic justice, such as Faith in New York and workers’ rights, such as Brandworkers International. Many of the grants went to job creation initiatives for those recently released from prison, such as Milk Not Jails, and for immigrants: Brooklyn Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative, Golden Steps Elder Care, and the Working World Cooperative. One grant supporting the only credit union for low-income communities in Queens – East River Development Alliance.
In return, we can put out into the deep by offering whatever we can to alleviate poverty and increase respect and dignity through your generosity to the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. It is greatly appreciated.