The horrific events that took place in Charlottesville, VA, last weekend, and their continuing aftermath, are a sad reminder that hatred is very much alive in our society.
How, in the year 2017, can we still be dealing with these divisive issues? How, more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, can we still have headlines about racism and violence? I don't understand... I hope I never will.
At Catholic Charities of Tennessee, our approach to the services we provide our neighbors in need is based on a fairly simple message... we offer Acts of Love, Goodwill and Kindness. It is pretty simple, there are no asterisks to this; there are no "except for" clauses. We provide Acts of Love, Goodwill and Kindness to any who may come to us asking for assistance.
Yes, we are a ministry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville. Yes, our foundation is built on the precepts of Catholic Social Teaching. We don't ask those who come to us to identify their church...or if they even go to church. Our charge is to serve those in need. Period.
We serve our neighbors in need regardless of their faith tradition (if any), their race, their sex, their age, their country of origin, or their nationality. If someone comes to us in need, we go to work figuring out how we can help, how we can make a positive difference in that person's life.
We aren't out here alone, though. There is no possible way that we could do what we do, regardless of how we do it, without the tremendous support we receive from this community. For that, we are eternally grateful.
We are a small part of a much larger part of this community that really cares about those living among us who are dealing with life impacting issues...a woman dealing with a crisis pregnancy, a family facing the prospect of homelessness, a preteen trying to work through his parents' broken marriage, clients working with our workforce development program to strive to gain employment that will really provide self-sufficiency for their families, refugees simply looking for a safe place to live and raise their children, and seniors who want to be able to remain living in their homes.
Some of our support comes to us in the way of volunteer time from amazing people living all over the region. Some of it comes in the way of financial assistance or in-kind assistance. We could not do what we do in our community without both forms of support; each is vitally critical.
As we end this week, and begin a new one, let us never forget (regardless of your faith tradition) the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching:
• Human life is sacred; and
• The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society
There is no room in our world for antipathy. There is no room for racism...or for any of the -isms of our world, for that matter.
We are Acts of Love, Goodwill and Kindness. We serve all in need. ALL.
Thank you for all you do to let us do what we do...help our neighbors in need.
Pamela J. Russo
Catholic Charities of Tennessee