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Archbishop encourages support for CCHD

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October 21, 2011

 My Dear Friends in Christ,

The recession in America painfully continues, and it is heartbreaking to now see that over 46 million Americans are living at or below the poverty line.

As unemployment persists at its unacceptable rate, more and more Americans are facing struggles they never before imagined.  Those who had already been living in poverty now gaze towards an even steeper mountain of despair. 


With that, where do we find signs of the Holy Spirit working among us “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free” (Luke 4)? My answer is that it is in us, the church, as we respond with love to the suffering around us.  One of the more effective ways that we can do this is through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection, which will take place again in every parish this Nov. 19 and 20.  


Through CCHD, Catholics across the country help poor and low-income Americans to help themselves and their communities out of poverty. Because of what you gave last year, the 18 organizations funded by CCHD in the archdiocese transformed your financial contributions into programs promoting the human dignity of the poor. For instance, these funded agencies enabled over 250 families to pull their homes from the brink of foreclosure, which also saved our communities from more blighted and abandoned properties. Our neighborhoods are also being made safer through several programs that help citizens returning from prison find the right path and contribute back to society. More than 900 people received life-changing career and skills training, and over 100 were able to pursue GED and higher educational opportunities. On top of that, thousands of dollars in wrongfully withheld wages were recovered for the working poor. All of these accomplishments have led to people achieving the kind of stability that keeps them from slipping into the spiral of poverty.


Even beyond this collection, it pleases me to know that so many of our Catholic clergy, parish communities and institutions work regularly with these funded agencies to offer them their time and their talents. They, too, can attest to how richly our investments in CCHD’s work pay dividends throughout our nation’s social safety net. I am reminded of something once said by Kathleen Donnellan, the director of Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio, which runs a number of our local emergency relief efforts: “If it wasn’t for CCHD, our job at Catholic Charities would be so much harder.”


Please know that it is our strict policy that organizations that receive CCHD funds must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church, such as abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, same-sex marriage or unjust war. We send two-thirds of this collection to the national CCHD offices at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (much of which comes back to fund organizations operating in our archdiocese). The remaining one-third of the collection is granted to agencies in our own archdiocese by way of recommendation of our own archdiocesan CCHD Committee. A smaller portion supports the U.S. bishops’ Black and Indian Mission Fund, anti-poverty education efforts in our parishes and schools, and administration of these funds. As a reminder, our archdiocese policy requires that the entire weekend collection be designated for CCHD.  


Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

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