We Are One Human Family
In recent weeks, we seek to be in solidarity with our neighbors in war torn countries. In times of war and violence, borders become blurred, and people are displaced. The Ukrainian situation is dire, and it is inspiring to see the outpouring of support from people across the globe.
Many have asked, how can I help? While Catholic Charities is chartered to serve domestically, our sister agency, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), is chartered to serve internationally. We are two sides of the same coin of Caritas Internationalis representing one of the largest charitable organizations in the world.
While we do not have a direct and effective way to ship goods to Ukraine, CRS is actively seeking financial resources to purchase and distribute supplies and aid on the European Continent through our affiliate Caritas Poland. I would recommend supporting this agency on the ground today, as they have the direct access needed to help the situation in Ukraine.
Praying for peace,
S. Kelley Henderson
Catholic Charities of West Tennessee
In his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est or God is Love, Benedict XVI offers a deep reflection on the personhood of God and how that translates into neighbor. He says, “anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbor.” In other words, our neighbors are not just those who look like us, live in the same parts of town, or root for the same team. A call to solidarity is much more intimate.
Solidarity moves us beyond feeling sorry for someone because of their plight but brings us closer in proximity to the experience of the other person. It is easy to cry that we need to “do this” or “do that,” but if you are unwilling to be there…really be there…it is only words.
Someone explained it to me once in this way. When we can cry with, be angry with, or laugh with another…that is when we are beginning to be in solidarity with that person. Locally, at your Catholic Charities, we accompany our guests and clients along their path to a better tomorrow. Learning the stories and dreams of another through volunteerism is a good first step in solidarity.
As we choose to serve our neighbor locally or internationally, we choose to serve our neighbor, our God, and answer the call to solidarity.