A Time to Speak — Together, we can lift people up

Lisa DeJaco Crutcher

The status quo is not okay.

Kentucky has the sixth-highest poverty rate in the entire country. At 16.5%, we’re just three points behind Mississippi’s 19.1%, the worst state in the country. Twelve of the 24 counties within our Archdiocese of Louisville hit over 20%.

  • The poverty numbers across the archdiocese are not okay.
  • Our hunger numbers are not okay.
  • Our human trafficking numbers are not okay.

In a world of increasing violence, social injustice, globalization, forced migration, isolation behind screens, and, with it all, the dehumanization of the person, central Kentucky is not okay.

If you’re like me, I think you’ll agree: We need to do better.

It’s time to “People Up.”

Catholic Charities is a community of social activists who look for those most often overlooked. Our actions strive to reclaim lives, restore dignity, break the cycle of poverty, mend families and launch new livelihoods. 

We don’t work “on” people, we work “with” people on their journey from struggle to self-sufficiency. And we could use your help.

As Catholics, we are all called to action by Jesus Christ himself: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” That’s good stuff.

If that doesn’t move you, here’s something a little more secular to consider. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says that when the dignity of the human person is respected, and his or her rights are recognized and guaranteed, creativity and interdependence thrive, and the creativity of the human personality is released through actions that further the common good. Only then can a healthy community be achieved.

This is also why we do it.

Our actions make Louisville and central Kentucky a healthier, more compassionate, more creative community, poised to thrive both socially and economically, even in the most impersonal of times. I wonder if there’s a ranking for that?

Pope Francis said this about St. Josephine Bakhita, the namesake of Catholic Charities’ Bakhita Empowerment Initiative on human trafficking, one of our 10 programs:

“This is Bakhita’s soul. This is the caress she teaches us: to humanize. When we enter the logic of fighting, of division between us, of bad feelings, one against the other, we lose our humanity. And very often we think we are in need of humanity, to be more humane. And this is the work that St. Bakhita teaches us: to humanize, to humanize ourselves and to humanize others.”

We help humanize central Kentucky. We lift people up. And in doing so, we make it a more vibrant, creative, healthy home for everyone.

The mission of Catholic Charities is guided by the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. One of which, the call to family, community and participation, declares, “People have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”

“A duty to participate.” That speaks to all of us, doesn’t it?

Over the next 40 days and nights of Lent, Catholic Charities is raising much-needed money to support our ongoing work. And next week, you’ll see a special section in The Record on volunteer opportunities across the archdiocese.

Won’t you join us? Won’t you make a gift or volunteer? Won’t you participate?

Together, we can lift people up. Together, we can change the status quo.

Lisa DeJaco Crutcher is the Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Louisville.

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