Help those affected by economic crisis Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 -- 1:00 AM

All over the country, people are suffering from the effects of an economic crisis worse than we’ve experienced since the Great Depression of the 20th century.

Editor's View
Mary C. Uhler

Some communities have been hit harder than others. One of those is the Janesville area, where General Motors will stop production at the Janesville plant on December 23. More than 1,200 hourly GM workers will be laid off effective January 2. It is estimated that the GM layoffs have triggered the layoffs of over 3,000 workers at GM and its local suppliers.

In addition, many Janesville area businesses are suffering because of the job cuts. "It's a melt-down in process," one Janesville resident told me. There could be more than 5,000 area families affected in some way.

What do we do in the midst of this economic uncertainty? How can we help those affected? 

The Catholic Church has a tradition of reaching out to help those in need in both spiritual and material ways. Although we hear much talk of bailouts and financial remedies for the economic situation, we should not forget the spiritual response to this crisis.

Spiritual support

In fact, prayer should be our first response, not our last. All of us can help by making a special effort to pray for our country and its political and business leaders, as well as for all workers and their families, especially those who have lost their jobs or are underemployed. I would encourage Catholic parishes to offer Prayers for the Faithful specifically for those affected by the economic down-turn. 

In addition, as individuals we can attend daily Mass, pray the Rosary, and spend extra time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament offering prayers for the unemployed. 

In our diocese, a special Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Robert C. Morlino on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at St. William Church in Janesville. It has been organized by the Janesville/Milton Cluster of Catholic Churches in response to the GM announcement and its affect on other Janesville area businesses. All concerned people are invited to attend this Mass. As Fr. Randy Timmerman, pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Janesville said, “As people of faith, we trust that God is with us. We hold in prayer so many lives affected.”

Material support

Besides spiritual support, we can also help the people of the Janesville area with material support. The Catholic parishes would appreciate donations to help support parishioners in need or to help offset dropping contributions from the unemployed.

The local interdenominational charity is ECHO (Everyone Cooperating to Help Others). ECHO is a non-profit, faith-community sponsored charity organization, serving low-income individuals and families in the Janesville area.  ECHO has grown from being a food pantry and clothing depot to being a charity organization called upon to help meet temporary housing, food, transportation and other emergency needs for low-income families.

Contributions of food may be taken to the ECHO office on 65 S. High St. in Janesville. Cash donations may be sent to the ECHO Office. All contributions are tax deductible. Send donations to ECHO, 65 South High St., Janesville, WI 53545. For more information call 608-754-5333 or go to the Web site:

Let's show our solidarity with the unemployed and underemployed during these trying times through our prayers and support. Let us also have faith and hope that God will help us as we build a better future based on justice and love for everyone in our society.