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By Sally Blount, Ph.D.

It has been a time of extraordinary need and extraordinary generosity.

As we approach the end of this year, we at Catholic Charities are saying prayers of gratitude for all of you--our donors, volunteers, parish partners, board members, and staff. So many people have stepped forward to help ensure that Charities is able to meet the unprecedented levels of hardship amidst the pandemic.

Whether through extending hours at our food pantries, raising funds for housing assistance to help families stay in their homes, providing people with the means for a dignified burial for their loved ones, or counseling those struggling through the added burdens of trauma, depression, or substance use issues, we continue to serve.

And this season of extraordinary need is not over. A recent University of Notre Dame study estimates that the number of people living in poverty in the U.S. grew by more than 8 million between September and May. A recent Wall Street Journal article by Nicholas Christakis predicts that the aftermath of this crisis will be with us for years to come.

So we ask that we each continue to keep our hearts open—to each other, to God’s call for mercy, and to the special gifts we have to share during these extraordinary days. Let us not become overwhelmed by the challenges around us, but instead be witnesses of compassion, grace, and our shared humanity. We at Catholic Charities are here to help you do that, to be your partner in mercy. It’s what we are called to do, and what we have been doing for over a century. Together, we can fulfill our sacred mission to care for one another.

This year, the face of need is our neighbor.  The face of hope is us.

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