Countdown starts, with emphasis on the poor

Countdown starts, with emphasis on the poor
Bishop Dennis Sullivan congratulates Stephen Ellsworth and Christina Silvaria of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Collingswood, who will be attending the World Meeting of Families theological congress in Philadelphia. The bishop introduced them and other families who will attend the congress, with passes awarded by Catholic Charities, at a press conference Aug. 17 to introduce the diocese’s 40 Days for Francis anti-poverty campaign. Photo by James A. McBride

Bishop Dennis Sullivan congratulates Stephen Ellsworth and Christina Silvaria of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Collingswood, who will be attending the World Meeting of Families theological congress in Philadelphia. The bishop introduced them and other families who will attend the congress, with passes awarded by Catholic Charities, at a press conference Aug. 17 to introduce the diocese’s 40 Days for Francis anti-poverty campaign.
Photo by James A. McBride

Bishop Dennis Sullivan launched the Diocese of Camden’s 40 Days of Francis campaign, ahead of the Holy Father’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia, calling for South Jersey faithful to take up the pontiff’s challenge to “hear the cry of the poor.”

Bishop Sullivan met with reporters, photographers and other media representatives Aug. 17 at the Camden Diocesan Center. Speaking on the fifth floor, with a view of the Camden waterfront and the Philadelphia skyline, the bishop said the diocese is using the pope’s visit — and his well-known concern for the poor — to draw attention to those in need here in South Jersey.

Catholics must not forget society’s most vulnerable members and “prepare our hearts, minds, souls, and selves” to aid them, he said.

The press briefing started the official countdown of the 40 days until Pope Francis will arrive in Philadelphia to conclude the week-long World Meeting of Families.

The bishop announced that Catholic Charities is leading initiatives to help residents understand poverty in the six counties of the diocese through open houses, a high school food relay and a parish campaign that takes its inspiration from Pope Francis’ devotion to Mary as “Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.”

Starting the week of Aug. 24, Catholic Charities’ offices throughout the diocese will open their doors to anyone to meet staff, learn about their programs, and participate in service and reflection.

As well, on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Catholic high school students will participate in a food relay, traveling with a food donation truck as it visits Catholic Charities’ food pantries throughout the diocese.

Another way the diocese is drawing attention to the problems of poverty is to compare them to “knots” that can be untied.

This past weekend, 40,000 short lengths of knotted twine were handed out to Catholics at Mass throughout the diocese.

The “knots,” symbolizing life’s struggles and problems, came attached to cards that contained a statistic on poverty in the diocese.

The metaphor was inspired by Meg Saligman’s “Untying the Knots” art exhibit in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Pope Francis’ devotion to “Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.”

The 40 Days campaign hopes to “raise awareness about poverty in our region, and provide parishioners the opportunity to become more involved with our work of responding to those needs,” said Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, who also addressed the media. Jeanetta Warren, of Catholic Charities’ Welfare to Work Program also made remarks at the press conference.

Schedule of Open Houses at Catholic Charities as part of 40 Days of Francis

Monday, Aug. 24, 4-6 p.m.

810 Montrose St.,Vineland

 

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 4-6 p.m.

9 North Georgia Ave., Atlantic City

114 State St., Penns Grove

 

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 4-6 p.m.

25 Oak Street, Salem

 

Thursday, Aug. 27, 4-6 p.m.

1200 North Delsea Drive

Suite 1, Westville

Bridgeton, 4-6 p.m. (location TBD)

 

Friday, Aug. 28, 4-6 p.m.

Village Shoppes

1304 Rt. 47 South, Unit C1,

Rio Grande

 

Saturday, Aug. 29, , 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

1845 Haddon Ave., Camden

“Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor.”

  • Pope Francis

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