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CCHD Celebrates 50 Years

By Alex Quezada, the relief and development coordinator for the Diocesan Justice and Peace Ministry of the Office for Human Dignity | November 2020

Celebrating 50 Years - the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Celebrating 50 Years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Provides Anti-Poverty Help

 

"Poverty is a scandal. - Pope Francis"

I know how poverty looks; how domestic violence feels; how alcoholism smells; how hunger hurts; how negligence embarrasses; how ignorance misleads; how sexual abuse destroys; how rejection saddens; how persecution scares; how exclusion bruises; how betrayal disappoints; how suicide blinds; but I also know how Jesus saves, forgives and loves because I have experienced them all. Therefore, I pray for the Church because she cries and celebrate with her people.

As an immigrant myself, I have the grace of God to experience the rejection and the welcoming of my fellow human family in the land of the free. I think what damages the most is indifference.

I can’t cease thanking God for the angels He lined up my way starting with my Church family: St. Teresa of Lisieux in Kankakee, now St. John Paul II, where 50 percent of our total registered families are Anglo and the other 50 percent are minorities, such as Hispanic, Polish, African-American, Filipino and Indian.

In my perception, it is a glimpse of what heaven can be. Journeying and looking for my place in the story of God I can mention some of my great mentors: Father Tom Cargo, who increased my faith by seeing his actions, such as marching miles in Chicago for a pro-immigrant rights. Father Santos (Sunny) Castillo, who taught me the joy of our faith. I can tell you that I love these priests dearly for showing me the way to see the face of Christ in the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed.

As a joyful missionary disciple and witness of the love of God, I come to you in midst of the pandemic, working, adapting and testing our sensitivity to change, with the great news from the domestic anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a program impacting communities across the U.S., including in our own diocese.

That program is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  This year we celebrate CCHD’s 50th anniversary. Praise be to God! In my first year working as relief and development coordinator at the diocese, I have had the privilege to meet extraordinary human beings and their organizations who labor with a super abundant love for the people of God, bringing the Gospel of Christ alive today.

Eight such organizations were awarded CCHD grants this year; here some of them:

+ We Grow Dreams in West Chicago. They provide job training and employment opportunities for people with mental and physical disabilities.

+ The Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project provides organizational, communication, support and resources to the poor and vulnerable of the Southwest suburban communities, supporting family life and participating in community and leadership development.

+ National Hook-Up of Black Woman in Joliet supports community outreach programs to the poor and vulnerable in the east side area of Joliet, enhancing the quality of residents and promoting community involvement based on social and spiritual principles to eliminate poverty.

+ Shining Light, West Chicago, seeks to empower, educate, and provide life/job skills programs, emotional, and spiritual support for unplanned pregnancies; tools for practical job skills to reach full potential; outreach to the community; family values; positive self-esteem; and it partners with area schools to promote higher education and learning. They also provide domestic violence counseling and educate about human trafficking.

+ Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, near downtown Wheaton, provides language classes and resources to the Latino community and minimum wage workers at a Work Center. They hold regular meetings with education topics on immigration reform and legal immigration. Comprised of several action committees, such as the Workers Committee, the Hispanic School Council and the Cultural Committee, Immigrant Solidarity DuPage represents the voice of the poor and outreach to the immigrant community.

+ Garden of Prayer Youth Center, Kankakee, utilizes an old farmhouse to take in homeless families and run-away children. They move forward with the mission to improve the wellbeing of at-risk children, adults, and families by providing education and mental health services that will place them on a path toward success.

+ Schools and Tutors on Wheels, in Western Cook and DuPage Counties, was established to provide one-on-one English literacy education to low-income immigrants, empower students and ensure inclusion. One of its projects seeks to collaborate with domestic violence service agencies to provide a wrap-around service component of on-on-one tutoring and cultural mentoring to limited English speaking survivors of domestic violence transitioning to independence.

What I have shared is an overview of the amazing work that God does in our diocese with the instrument of CCHD. All this is made possible through your generosity to the annual CCHD Collection I thank you in advance for participating in the CCHD collection at parishes throughout the diocese on Nov. 21 and 22, 2020.

With you, we can continue making a difference in the lives of many brothers and sisters in need.

For more information, contact Alex Quezada at aquezada@dioceseofjoliet.org

Or 815-221-6255. Or visit www.dioceseofjoliet.org/peace/