Bevin Kennedy, Office of National Collections at the USCCB
This weekend is the national date for the Collection for Catholic Campaign for Human Development. In my time here, working in the Office of National Collections, I have been able to not only witness the continuous generosity of American Catholics but also I get to witness all of the collaborative work that makes these projects possible. CCHD funded groups across the country are doing incredible work to break the cycle of poverty and make change happen. There are those in Minnesota providing microloans to help refugees and immigrants achieve success in their small businesses, and those in Louisiana advocating for children unfairly caught in the justice system. The success of these projects relies heavily on our CCHD diocesan directors, who in solidarity with those on the margins, tirelessly help people help themselves and often go unnoticed. These individuals give so much of their time to “bring good news to the poor…release to captives…sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free.” But most importantly, all of this work would be impossible without the incredible generosity of our parishioners in the pew who give to this collection. The generosity of the American people to give what they have to support those in poverty brings new meaning to One Church, One Mission. It is in this generosity that I see the words of Pope Francis, “we look forward to the experience of opening our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society: fringes which modern society itself creates.” When I see how people share their gifts—from their wealth or their widow’s mite—, share their prayers, and share their time, I see open hearts reaching to the “fringes of society” to counter the exclusion that is the norm in our modern society. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read the CCHD newsletter, the bulletin insert, and visit Stories of Hope at PovertyUSA.org, and see just some of the fruits of this collection. I also encourage you to prayerfully consider supporting this year’s collection. Even though so much has been done to address poverty in this country, there is still a lot to be accomplished. Together let us remember, “Day after day, touched by [God’s] compassion, we also can become compassionate towards others.” (Pope Francis). Bevin Kennedy is the Assistant Director for Promotions in the Office of National Collections at the USCCB.