Catholic agencies address poverty issues, public policy

A forum last month gave Catholics a chance to voice public policy concerns and ideas to legislators ahead of the state legislative session, which convened Jan. 3. The Dec. 11 event in St. Charles County was a collaboration by Catholic Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul "to put low-income people in the front of legislators' minds as they go into the session," according to Tamara Kenny, director of advocacy and community engagement at Catholic Charities.

‘Invest in love,’ pope says on World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis led grace before eating lunch with the poor in the Paul VI hall after celebrating Mass marking the first World Day of the Poor Nov. 19 at the Vatican. About 1,500 poor people joined the pope for the meal.

VATICAN CITY — People have a basic choice in the way they live: either striving to build up treasures on earth or giving to others in order to gain heaven, Pope Francis said.

"What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes," the pope said in the homily Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 poor people attended the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica as special guests, the Vatican said. While almost all of them live in Europe, they included migrants and refugees from all over the world.

Hurricane Maria exposes poverty in Puerto Rico

Margarita Rodriguez held a flashlight and quizzed her 11-year-old daughter, Isel Martinez, about homework Oct. 25 outside their home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Much of Puerto Rico remains without power and water nearly two months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island Sept. 20.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria did more than catastrophic physical damage when they struck Puerto Rico back-to-back in September, crippling the U.S. territory's power grid and infrastructure.

"The hurricanes basically blew off the top of all the poverty on the island," said Father Flavio Bravo, SJ, the superior of the island's Jesuit community and president of the Jesuit high school, Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, in San Juan. Puerto Rico is in the Jesuit's Central and Southern Province, which is based in St. Louis.

Neighborhood advocate puts faith into helping the needy

You won't find Arletta Williams' name in historical accounts of St. Louis or its Walk of Fame, but she was there behind the scenes with some significant figures in the city during the last century.

Rural Parish Workers' medical clinic a continuation of commitment to serve the poor


With volunteer models such as Mimi Phelan walking the runway, the annual Fashion Show and Luncheon to benefit the Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King celebrated the past and supported the present Oct. 13 at The Ritz-Carlton: 75 years for the ministry and 50 for the "Friends" of the group hosting the fashion show fundraiser to support the ongoing work of serving the rural poor in the Old Mines area.

To this, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson added a bold vision for the future, giving the Rural Parish Workers and "Friends" even more cause for celebration.

Poverty requires action, not empty words, pope says

Homeless Filipinos rested in late April on a street in Manila. The World Day of the Poor, to be celebrated Nov. 19 this year, will focus on the apostle John’s call to love “not with words, but with deeds.”

VATICAN CITY — People shouldn't sit back and be indifferent or unresponsive to growing poverty in the world as a privileged minority accumulates "ostentatious wealth," Pope Francis said.

"God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded," the pope stated in a message for the first World Day of the Poor.

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