Inspired! That is my feeling as I returned from my incredible trip to see Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. I was blessed to witness Pope Francis as he visited the White House and as His Holiness made missionary Junipero Serra a saint. What a joyous and faith filled adventure!
During my time in D.C., I was reminded again and again that we are truly Pope Francis’ words in action. Through the breadth and depth of our programs and services, we assist more than 124,000 people each year, 74% of whom live below the poverty line. Our goals are simple: we seek to break the cycle of poverty, abuse and neglect, empower people to make permanent changes in their lives and support people to lead self-sufficient, dignified lives.
When Pope Francis said to Congress, “The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes,” I reflected on our newest initiative, Pathways to Progress. Pathways to Progress is an intensive, wrap-around case management initiative that seeks to build on individual strengths and develop assets which lead to stability—empowering families out of poverty for long term success. This initiative focuses on people in need primarily within five zip codes in the northern area of St. Louis County.
Your continued support of Catholic Charities of St. Louis is also a way to act on Pope Francis’ words. Your gifts of time, talent and resources help the people served by our eight federated organizations. And while most of our clients are not Catholic, we serve because, in the words of Pope Francis, “among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor” (Pope Francis, Address to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 6/14/13).
In the coming months, as I remember all of the remarkable moments from my trip, I will also remember that your prayers and your wonderful, generous support of our mission helps to build a stronger community.
With sincere gratitude,
Theresa E. Ruzicka, CPA
President, Catholic Charities of St. Louis