Catholic Charities strengthens families Print
Thursday, Oct. 08, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

Pope Francis talked often about the family during his visit to the United States. Of course, his primary reason for traveling to our country was to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

It’s obvious that Pope Francis really understands the realities of family life. He threw away his script at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia and talked candidly about family life. He said, “Families have difficulties. Families — we quarrel, sometimes plates can fly, and children bring headaches. I won’t speak about mothers-in-law,” he said.

“However, in families, there is always light” because of the love of God’s son, Jesus Christ,” he added.

As one of those mothers-in-law — and having one myself — I know there can be challenges. But I also remember that Pope Francis praised grandparents who bring so much wisdom and a sense of history to family life.

Reaching out to others

Throughout his talks in the United States, Pope Francis also emphasized the importance of people of faith reaching out to others in need — both within their own families and in their communities.

The Holy Father told Catholic Charities clients in Washington, D.C., “We know that Jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person. He wanted everyone to experience his companionship, his help, and his love.

“He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He tells us this clearly: ‘I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’”

Catholic Charities

One way we can follow what Jesus and Pope Francis are telling us is to support the work of Catholic Charities. In the Diocese of Madison, this Sunday, Oct. 11, happens to be Catholic Charities Sunday, a time set aside to call attention to the work of Catholic Charities and urge people  to support this charitable arm of the Catholic Church.

In his letter for Catholic Charities Sunday, Bishop Robert Morlino points out that Catholic Charities supports strong and healthy families, cares for the poor, and upholds the dignity of all human persons.

Catholic Charities serves close to 30,000 people each year in the 11 counties of the diocese. It strengthens families through aging services; individual, couple, and family counseling; alcohol and drug addiction treatment; developmental disability services; and parish mobile food pantries.

The agency nurtures children though adoption support, autism specialists, behavioral health, mental health counseling, and school counseling.

Personal awareness

Since the days when the Catholic Herald shared office space with what was then called Catholic Social Service in downtown Madison, I have been aware of the many wonderful things being done by Catholic Charities. I still remember holding babies brought in for foster care when an extra set of arms was needed.

I’ve written and published many stories over the years about what Catholic Charities is doing to help people in need, including special services during natural disasters such as floods in our area.

Catholic Charities aging services have expanded over the years and provide many levels of care for our precious senior citizens from the Adult Day Center to the All Saints Neighborhood. I personally know people receiving these services and am proud of the excellent staff members and caring volunteers who work with Catholic Charities.

We are so fortunate to have Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Madison to help us strengthen families and all people in need. For more information on how you can help, go to or call 608-826-8000. You can also follow Catholic Charities on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.