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  • From Despair to Hope: Your Lenten Generosity Transforms Lives
    By Litz Main As the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the countless individuals and families who…
  • Exploring Mental Health Awareness
    Mental health awareness plays a vital role in fostering overall well-being. Yet, the stigma associated with mental health often prevents individuals from seeking help from a mental health counselor. This…
  • Family Tradition
    For many individuals, the journey from volunteering to becoming a staff member within an organization is a testament to dedication, passion, and a deep commitment to a cause. This transition…
  • Fair housing — Exploring the impact on families and communities
    April is Fair Housing Awareness Month, commemorating the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin,…
  • How preparing for disaster can keep your family safe, and serve your community
    At Catholic Charities, we understand that disaster preparation, response, and recovery isn’t just a safety issue — it’s also a poverty issue. Unfortunately, disaster doesn’t discriminate between the financially stable…
  • Parishes partner to provide mental health support
    Culturally comfortable care for Spanish-speaking families By Ashley Wiskirchen Ilsi Palacios is the Hispanic Services Coordinator at Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri. In her role, she provides case…
  • Resource Fair marks Catholic Charities Food Pantry second anniversary.
    By Jennifer Hudson To address the growing needs of mid-Missourians, community organizations and local collaborators are strengthening relationships to provide essential support and resources. The Catholic Charities Food Pantry serves…
  • The Multifaceted Impact of Affordable Housing on Families and Communities
    Access to stable and affordable housing impacts household income and enhances community well-being in multiple ways. It is not just a roof over one’s head but the catalyst for positive…
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
    “We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it.” Dorothy Day   “Love is shown more in deeds than in words.” St. Ignatius…
  • Youth & Education Assistant
    Columbia, MO • Catholic Charities Job Type: Part-time Description Overview Catholic Charities of Central & Northern Missouri is seeking a dedicated addition to join our agency’s case management team and play a…
  • Site Director (Columbia)
    Columbia, MO • Catholic Charities Job Type: Full-time Description Overview Catholic Charities of Central & Northern Missouri is seeking a dynamic and experienced leader to join our team. The ideal candidate is…
  • Administrative Assistant (Central Office)
    Jefferson City, MO • Catholic Charities Job Type: Full-time Description Overview Catholic Charities of Central & Northern Missouri is seeking a customer-service minded addition to join our agency’s administrative team and play…

Mercy Moments: Episode Two

Mercy Moments: Our lives are dripping with mercy.  Indeed, our world is drenched in it. 

My entire career has been centered on stories of suffering and injustice.  I taught a Catholic Social Teaching course for seniors, led global immersion retreats for high school students, and supervised numerous service programs and social justice initiatives. Today my role in Family Immigration Services seems like a natural continuation of this work that centers on people who are experiencing injustice.   

And it’s not just my job, I share my life with a man whose roots are in Mexico and who daily misses his family, friends, culture, – HOME. 

So when it comes to people who easily evoke my feelings of compassion and mercy, I often feel ridiculous – even unworthy – of self-compassion.  When I’m sad or stressed or having a bad day, I’m keenly aware that there are bigger problems in the world. 

And then I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine many years ago after I had just been on a plane.  I’m terrified of flying and I always panic-pray on flights.  So I told my friend that I felt guilty for praying so intensely about flying when there are people who are actually suffering all around the world.  (It probably didn’t help that my in-flight book of choice was about the Rawandan genocide.) I told him that I was sure that God didn’t want to hear about my so-called “problems”.   

But my friend didn’t agree and he shared with me that he didn’t see suffering as a competition and that God actually does care about my problems because God loves me and wants to be in relationship with me.  AND at the same time, God is always, always, always on the side of the oppressed. 

So, have we all endured many losses throughout the past two years of a global pandemic?  Yes! 

Is there suffering and fear in our own families? Yes! 

Am I already dreading my upcoming flight at the end of the month?  Of course! 

Does God care about all of this?  Yes! 

AND at the same time, I think about DACA recipients who remain in the U.S. without status, never knowing how court rulings or changing administrations will impact their lives.  They are oppressed and God is on their side.  

Or I think about the Ukrainians, who came to the U.S. as refugees decades ago, and are now struggling as they face the reality of their family members who remain amidst the violence in Ukraine.  They are oppressed, and God is on their side.  

Or I think about the countless Afghan evacuees who escaped without their families and are now desperately seeking to be reunited.  They are oppressed and I know God is on their side too.  

And that’s where I want to be.  I want to be on the side of compassion, kindness, and understanding. 

And our Lenten pilgrimages in search of mercy are just one invitation for all of us to give that compassion, kindness, and understanding to those we serve at Catholic Charities, to the wider community, and, yes, even to ourselves.  

Calling for Mercy: What We Can Do

As people of faith and goodwill, we may sometimes feel helpless when grappling with the accounts of oppression, dire situations, and challenges that many in our world face. What can we do? As we journey together this lent in search of mercy, we can pray, advocate and learn about those “in the margins”. This week, consider learning about those whose situations may be vastly different from your own:

  • To read the stories of DACA recipients and learn more about how you can support a pathway to citizenship for millions of Americans living in the U.S. without status, click HERE
  • To learn more about the challenges Afghan evacuees are facing, click HERE

Almsgiving is a “staple” for many during the Lenten season. We’ve seen and heard the egregious stories in the media surrounding the war in Ukraine. If you feel called, consider giving alms this week to humanitarian efforts:

  • To donate to help families affected in Ukraine, click HERE