Column: Under the sign of love

At Catholic Charities, love is the guiding force in what we do and how we serve our community. We believe so strongly in our calling to serve that we reach to others with love in our hearts and love in our actions. Our 45 programs define our days, but the way we embrace others with love, respect, and dignity defines us as an organization.

While we provide basic human needs like food, clothing, and shelter, we also provide relief to those in crisis in a number of ways. Staff and volunteers are ready at a moment’s notice to provide emergency services. But, we move a step further by educating and counseling when needed with the goals of preserving family values and promoting self-sufficiency.

It is ultimately our prayer that we can address their urgent needs and give them the skills to stand on their own two feet.

But, we have other programs that are sometimes met with controversy. We will not deny someone assistance because of their race, religion, or national origin. We will not deny someone because they came from a foreign land. We will not deny someone in crisis because they made a decision that is contradictory to societal standards. We love our neighbor, regardless of why they are at our doorstep, just as Jesus taught us.

To work within our walls every day, whether staff or volunteer, can be likened to an awakening. To bring peace to someone who is struggling or silently suffering is so very powerful. You can see the transformation in their lives and their future unfold right in front of you. They move from being hungry or desperate to fed and skilled. This is what faith and hope looks like to us. You share the same power to transform a life and change a future. 

During this Lenten season, we invite you to join us in serving our community through 40 Days of Service. There are many ways to help. Gather your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to make a meaningful and lasting change in a life. With love. Volunteer in the Food Pantry, Clothes Closet, After School Program, Veteran and Senior Engagement, and much more. Register to volunteer on our website at or contact Debi at

J. Antonio Fernández is president/CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.


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