“Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could.”
— St. Gregory Nazianzen
On Feb. 22 we begin our Lenten journey with Ash Wednesday. These 40 days are a time when we can give things up, prioritize prayer, grow closer to God, and find ways to care more for the good of others than for self. We do this to prepare ourselves for the joy of Easter morning when Christ has risen!
Pope Francis stated, “During Lent, let us find concrete ways to overcome our indifference.” One way we can sacrifice and share our gifts with others is to participate in the collection on Ash Wednesday, which supports the outreach work of Vermont Catholic Charities. Since 1929, Vermont Catholic Charities has helped neighbors in need. With no geographical limitations, we help individuals from all 14 counties. Guided by our faith, we do what we do because we are Catholic, not because those we serve are Catholic.
The clients that come to our “doors” are some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Due to budgetary constraints and increased needs because of rising costs, we are calling on you to help us continue to serve fellow Vermonters. The work that you will support will help transform people’s lives.
Emergency Aid: Assisting more than 2,100 children and adults Sue called Vermont Catholic Charities with an emergency. She was running out of propane and was afraid that she and her two daughters could not stay in their apartment without heat due to the severity of the weather. We contacted the propane company and paid for a delivery of propane. Sue said, “I am grateful for your support and relieved that my family can remain in our home.”
Prison Ministry Transition Assistance: Helping more than 26 clients Shelia had been incarcerated for several years and had recently been released. She was residing in a private apartment with her children and faced a utility disconnect order which would have caused her to lose her residence and have to return to prison. We paid the utility bill thereby avoiding the disconnect until after she began a new job two weeks later. “Thank you for helping me in my time of need,” she said.
Counseling Services: Supporting more than 160 clients/year “Thank you for everything you have done for me. I can honestly say this is the most consistently happy that I have been. Every day I find wonder in the little things that have changed in me. I am beginning to recognize myself again. It feels natural and easy to smile,” one client said.
Residential Care Homes: Caring for more than 150 residents/year with more than 80 percent on Medicaid “As everyone knows, it is not an easy decision to give over the care of a loved one to others. For us, it has been the best decision we have made. The care, compassion, respect, and patience this staff has given my mother is something I cannot thank them enough for,” commented one family member.
As we begin this Lenten journey together, we ask you to prayerfully consider participating in the Ash Wednesday collection; any gift, no matter the size, makes a difference.
As a Catholic community, let us be the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors in need. Let us show Christ’s love through our actions.
Donations can be mailed to Vermont Catholic Charities, 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington, VT 05403 or made online here.
May you have a Blessed Lent,
Mary Beth Pinard
Executive Director of Vermont Catholic Charities