Selflessly serving the call to live out the Gospel mandate to ‘love thy neighbor’

Catholic Charities marked 76 years of service to the Archdiocese of San Antonio with a Mass of gratitude for its donors, staff members and volunteers celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, on Oct. 26 at San Fernando Cathedral, with the archbishop telling attendees, “Catholic Charities is one of the truly great organizations in our community!”

“We are honored to celebrate Catholic Charities in the great work of love performed by the men and women who support this organization. Anyone in need is helped. Anyone!” the San Antonio prelate stressed. “You do not need to be Catholic, Christian, or even believe in God to be aided by Catholic Charities. You only need to be a human being. Because we believe that every human being is made in God’s image and likeness, we will serve everyone and anyone with joy in our hearts.”

Archbishop Gustavo highlighted how Catholic Charities has responded to some of the most intense needs in recent memory with hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Additionally, he praised the organization’s assistance to earthquake victims in Mexico, to the tide of refugees — especially children — who have entered this country, as well as the “normal” problems and needs of the homeless, the poor, the hungry, and the destitute.

“While many are blessed with abundance, we have experienced a nearly overwhelming tidal wave of need among our people in this time, and so many of you have responded to these needs with amazing generosity,” the archbishop emphasized.

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit told listeners that Catholic Charities was able to send more than 60 trucks, vans, and other vehicles with much needed supplies to Houston and Beaumont in the days after the hurricane; to reach out to the people of Rockport, Corpus Christi, and Port Aransas; and to assist our brothers and sisters in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
“I could go on, but I think you get the picture!” he smiled.

In our first reading at the liturgy, from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Jesus Christ brought salvation to the world after the sin of one man, Adam.
“Our response to God’s great act of generosity is to be generous, ourselves, with our time, our talents, and our treasure,” Archbishop Gustavo explained. “We can never outdo the generosity of Almighty God, but we can imitate his example and respond with hearts of love and gratitude.”

The Gospel reading called for the faithful to be ready for the return of the Lord at his second coming.

“On the Day of the Lord, the day of his divine return at the summation of all history, the Day of Judgment, we will be judged not on the basis of our personal success, but on the basis of God’s call for us to love our neighbor,” said the archbishop. “I like to tell people that the answers to the ‘final exam,’ on the Day of Judgment, have already been given to us in St. Matthew’s Gospel, the 25th chapter: ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was sick or in prison and you visited me, I was naked and you clothed me,’ etc.”

“When, Lord, did we see you hungry, or naked, sick, or in prison?” states the Gospel. “When you did it for one my least ones, you did it to me,” is the response of the Lord.

Archbishop Gustavo concluded by expressing his gratitude that Catholic Charities serves the poor and needy not because of their merits, but simply because they are God’s poor and they are our brothers and sisters. “From the bottom of my heart I say, ‘thank you!’ Thank you for loving God’s people! Thank you for caring for the Lord’s own flock. Thank you for responding to God’s generosity to you, with your own generosity to others!”

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