Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” — Matthew 1:22-23
May God bless you during this holy Advent season! If ever there has been a time when we needed the assurance of these words from Matthew’s gospel, it is now. This past year, we have faced the COVID-19 pandemic, the lingering reality of racism in our nation, surging unemployment numbers, a divisive electoral process, along with hurricanes and wildfires in record number. All of this has deepened our holy longing for the Lord’s coming, which Advent and the feast of Christmas are all about.
While these realities have affected all of us in different ways, the most vulnerable among us bear the greatest brunt of these disruptions. Vulnerable individuals include those with limited means and income, the homeless, our elderly isolated in long-term care facilities, immigrants not able to access resources from the CARES Act, or newly born infants to parents lacking what is needed to provide for their children. It is precisely here where we, as the people of God, step in to help and support even as we face our own challenges during this time.
And while we perform many individual charitable actions, we can do much more as a wider Church, especially through the great work of our archdiocesan Catholic Charities. Through its many programs, Catholic Charities provide caring service to the material poor, the forgotten elderly, refugees and immigrants fleeing violence and persecution, survivors of human trafficking, the homeless, families in crisis and to those who have been impacted by COVID-19, many whom never had to seek assistance before. This past year alone, Catholic Charities provided over $350,000 dollars in emergency COVID-19 relief funds to parishes, St. Vincent de Paul food pantries, community agencies, as well as to individuals and families who were referred to us or contacted us directly for some needed relief. Through all of this and more, we give concrete and credible witness that God is with our community and world. Emmanuel is truly born in our midst!
Parishes will take up the annual Catholic Charities collection on the weekend of December 26-27. Funds will be used to support the ministries and programs that help meet the many needs of individuals and families in the 24 counties of our Archdiocese. I encourage your generous response to this year’s Christmas collection.
Please know that you and your families are in my prayers, as I ask God’s blessing on each of you during this holy time of year. Thank you so much for your prayers for my recovery and health.
Sincerely yours in Our Lord,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville