As part of the week-long World Day of the Poor campaign, Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) hosted numerous events and offered resources for the Diocesan community to encounter and serve the poor. CCDA’s daily mission is to advance social justice and reach out to the periphery, the vulnerable, the forgotten, the unemployed, the hungry, and, in short, the poor.
In World Day of the Poor message, the Holy Father called the faithful to answer the cry of the poor with concrete deeds; “Let us love, not with words but with deeds.” The CCDA World Day of the Poor campaign’s free events centered on concrete deeds that occurred through encounters with the marginalized in our world.
CCDA and Diocesan Chancery staff kicked off the campaign activities by spending a few hours socializing and serving lunch to seniors at St. Martin De Porres Senior Center in Alexandria on November 13.
From November 13-20, CCDA along with parishes collected more than 700 care bags filled with critical items, for the poor and homeless. These were then distributed to rural areas of the Diocese by the Mobile Response Van the week of Thanksgiving.
November 14, St. Mary’s of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax, hosted Britepaths and Catholic Charities’ workshop “Budgeting and Money Management.” The workshop invited all, regardless of religious affiliation, who were interested in better managing their finances.
CCDA Prison Ministry offered a “When Prisoners Come Home” event at The Chapel at St. John Neumann Catholic Community the evening of November 15. The event offered a unique opportunity to learn about the challenges that those leaving jail face and how the faith community could get involved with CCDA’s new Welcome Home Re-Entry Program.
Also on November 15, Hogar Immigration Services presented “Know Your Rights—Train the Trainer” at Rappahannock United Way in Fredericksburg. New “Know Your Rights” presenters learned how to better assist immigrants in their communities and important referral information.
“The Four Social Doctrines of the Church” by Art Bennett on November 16 at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna, discussed how Catholic Social Doctrine inspires us to always heed Pope Francis World Day of the Poor message and encounter Christ through the four principles of human dignity, common good, subsidiarity and solidarity.
The day-long Naturalization Workshop on November 18 in Arlington invited volunteers to help eligible immigrants apply for citizenship. The workshop walked applicants through the process of citizenship application and provided lunch.
On November 19, Bishop Burbidge blessed the new Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas. The clinic opened its doors to those in need on December 6. The clinic will fill a gap for an estimated 4,500 low-income households without insurance in the Manassas and Manassas Park area.
Dozens of volunteers unloaded 25,389 pounds of food donations from five parishes at the St. Lucy Project warehouse in Manassas on 20 November. This food is reaching the food insecure through partnerships with food banks throughout the 21 counties in the diocese. Additionally, volunteers helped stock the shelves and pack food bags at Christ house Food Pantry in Alexandria.
CCDA sends a heartfelt “thank you” to all who participated in and prayed for this campaign. To continue the goals of the World Day of the Poor, please visit, https://volunteer.ccda.net, where you will find opportunities to engage in the Church’s mission of social justice.