A New Year, New Opportunities

Introducing the Peace, Justice and Human Concerns Commission at Holy Cross

The various outreach ministries at Holy Cross in the final months of 2017 have organized under a new Peace, Justice and Human Concerns umbrella, aligned with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Each individual ministry is now working in partnership with the others to provide assistance and resources to those in need in our community. Ava Thompson serves as Peace, Justice and Human Concerns coordinator.

This new structure makes it easier for Holy Cross parishioners to see the connection of our various ministries and how we are responding as a church to community concerns. Your active involvement in or prayerful support for the following Holy Cross ministries is welcomed.

  • Families Moving Forward, helping those in transition from homelessness
  • Catholic Charities donations, including packaged food, produce from the Holy Cross Community Sharing Garden, Thanksgiving meal packages and Christmas gift cards
  • Parish donations to the Backpack Buddies Program and the School Supply Drive, helping youth in Durham city schools to succeed
  • Casserole Ministry, helping to feed guests at the Urban Ministry's Community Café.
  • The Quilting Ministry and its evolving outreach that provides blankets and comfort to parishioners and those living in homeless encampments in the area.

January: Poverty Awareness Month

Image depicting povertyThe U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month. It is a need that appears in the Old Testament and New Testament: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.” (Ps 34:6)

Holy Cross’s Peace, Justice and Human Concerns team has developed a set of resources for families and individuals to learn about and discuss the state of poverty. Read more here or in the parish bulletin.

Background about Poverty Awareness Month

“The Church has always understood the importance of this cry (of the poor),” Pope Francis writes in his 2018 letter on the World Day of Peace, January 1, available on the USCCB website. “We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, ‘full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor.’ 

“This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor. The earliest community realized that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor are blessed and heirs to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).”

This servant ministry is also evident in the lives of the saints who have educated, built hospitals and served the needy in many ways over the centuries, including Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. “This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters. Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that ‘a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace’,’’ Pope Francis wrote in 2017 on the 100th anniversary of her death.

In his January 2018 message, Pope Francis makes a call for assisting those who are “fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands … in search of a better life, and not infrequently (trying) to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future.

“Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating. … Saint Paul expresses it in these words: “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.” Read Pope Francis' message here


Tags: outreach ministries, Peace Justice and Human Concerns


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