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Go the extra three miles for Catholic Charities



Bishop’s 5K is Nov. 18 at Bellevue State Park

Get ready and set to support Catholic Charities with Bishop Malooly at the second annual Bishop’s 5K Run/Walk on Nov. 18, 9 a.m. at the Figure 8 Barn, Bellevue State Park, 800 Carr Road in Wilmington.

“One out of every 10 residents” of the Diocese of Wilmington receives at least one service from Catholic Charities each year, said Richelle Vible, executive director of Catholic Charities. “The Bishop’s 5K is a great way to get involved in the mission of Catholic Charities — providing caring service to the most vulnerable in our community. Bishop Malooly will be at the start and finish line — will you?”

In the 5K (about three miles) runners and walkers will compete for the best time, and will be awarded medals, along with race T-shirts. A complimentary picnic with light food and music will follow the race.

Individuals who can’t participate by running or walking can register to be “Virtual Walkers.”

Registration for the event is $20 prior to race day, and $25 on race day, plus a $2.50 event fee. Register at Bishops5k.com.

Please register for the picnic if you are not running or walking. Visit the Catholic Charities website, www.cdow.org/charities and click “Events” for information.

Established in 1830 as St. Peter’s Orphanage in Wilmington, Catholic Charities’ services have grown from the care of orphans to include care for those facing chronic poverty, homelessness, hunger, mental illness, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and teen pregnancy. The agency serves over 100,000 individuals each year throughout Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

For more information contact Paula Savini at (302) 655- 9624 or at psavini@ccwilm.org

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Logistical problems slow help, damage assessment in Florida Keys

September 15th, 2017 Posted in National News Tags: , ,


Catholic News Service

MIAMI — Hurricane Irma’s destructive winds blew wreckage and disruption throughout Florida.

But Miami’s Catholic Charities chief was particularly anxious to access the devastation in Monroe County and the Florida Keys.

A destroyed marina is pictured Sept. 13 in an aerial photo in Florida’s Marathon Key. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)

Speaking with the Florida Catholic newspaper Sept. 13, Deacon Richard Turcotte, the agency’s CEO, said the Overseas Highway through the Florida Keys was not yet fully open, making it impossible for to get a firsthand look at the devastation to Middle and Lower Keys.

The area reportedly sustained severe damage from Irma. Those high priority places include Marathon Key, Cudjoe Key, Big Pine Key and Key West, among others.

“It looks like (news reports show) there is absolutely nothing left in Marathon,” Deacon Turcotte said, noting that poor cellphone communication and transportation logistics were slowing the flow of information several days after the hurricane.

“I am trying to establish some communications: I plan to talk with some of the pastors there and do some distributions of water and food from parishes, and once we get the highway opened up, we can talk about those distributions to the Keys.”

In terms of Hurricane Irma’s impact on Miami-Dade and Broward counties, it appears that “there wasn’t the devastation that we saw in the Keys, so the greatest challenge will be getting services up and running there,” he said.

State officials confirmed a 13th death attributable to Hurricane Irma in Florida, with many of those fatalities in Monroe County. Irma will be remembered as one of the Atlantic’s strongest hurricanes on record, with peak winds of 185 mph, and Category 4 strength when it landed in the Florida Keys. Some sources are predicting that insured losses from Hurricane Irma could total $18 billion in the U.S.

In addition to Catholic parishes and schools throughout the Florida Keys, the region is home to a Catholic Charities-affiliated residential program, New Life Workforce Housing in Key West and other homelessness prevention programming for Monroe County.

Workforce Housing had 32-bed capacity and Catholic Charities was in the process of trying to build 37 new units in Key West, but Hurricane Irma’s impact will likely set the plans behind schedule, Deacon Turcotte noted.

He said his agency’s team has been working in three broad teams following the hurricane, with a goal of pulling together damage assessment to facilities, Charities programming status and prioritizing future response efforts, which are expected to be long term in focus.

“I have been taking all that information and then determining where the greatest damage is, and we can say it is Marathon Key so far,” Deacon Turcotte said.

“We are having daily conference calls with other state Charities agencies and Catholic Charities USA about available resources and stages of recovery,” he said, adding that the seven Catholic Charities agencies of Florida spoke by phone Sept. 13 with the president of Charities USA, Dominican Sister Donna Markham, who may later make a personal assessment tour of the area.

Deacon Turcotte said he examined a satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that indicates some good news that will have to be confirmed on the ground later: “From what we can tell of the satellite image of Key West, it looks like our structures are still standing but we don’t know about water damage, and it might be a few weeks to do damage assessments and even longer before we can bring the clients back in.”

As soon as authorities restore access to Key West, Catholic Charities staff planned to head down to the area for a quick look. “We don’t want to strain the infrastructure down there: a very quick in and out and then go back later with needed supplies.”

Right now, the Keys infrastructure, he said, cannot tolerate lots of volunteers and people of goodwill coming down to an area with minimal services, and with power outages, shortages of gasoline, foodstuffs and crippled infrastructure.

In general, before Hurricane Irma arrived, Catholic Charities programs across the archdiocese had evacuated residential clients in anticipation of the storm, including the relocation of some 52 unaccompanied minors living in Miami to a temporary situation in Houston.

Other residential clients at St. Luke’s Center for alcohol abuse and substance addiction and New Life Family Center in Miami also were temporarily relocated and many of those residents are returning as power is restored in the region.

Many Catholic Charities staff members have been working from home throughout the hurricane crisis until South Florida gets back to normal.

“In the future we may need to do outreach for long-term recovery, but right now it is too early to evaluate how to respond in Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas,” Deacon Turcotte said, noting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will eventually publish data that will give some indications of who needs help and particularly was unable to get federal assistance.

And with each hurricane come lessons for emergency services providers including Catholic Charities. The area’s nonprofit sector has organized itself into regions and geographic sectors to share emergency resources.

Hurricane Irma proved unique, Deacon Turcotte noted, for having directly impacted almost every diocese in the state, including the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, which had the distinction of receiving many of the evacuees from other regions.

Hurricane Irma also was responsible for causing significant harm to populations in the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Editor’s Note: For more information or to make a to Hurricane Irma related donation, visit http://www.ccadm.org.


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Everything old is being made new again at Marydale


Dialog Editor

$8 million renovations of 108 housing units for elderly to be completed this year


In 1981, it cost $3.1 million to build Marydale Retirement Village, the 108-apartment retirement community off Salem Church Road in Newark.

Thirty-six years later, a complete renovation of the 18-acre complex, managed by the Diocese of Wilmington’s Catholic Charities through Catholic Ministry to the Elderly Inc., costs more than $8 million.

The renovation project, a complex operation that’s been underway for the past 12 months, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Read more »

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Catholic Charities conducts May diaper drive to honor mothers


Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington, is hosting a diocese-wide diaper drive to benefit Catholic Charities Bayard House Diaper Bank. The diaper drive will continue throughout the month of May 2017. Donors can drop off diapers of all sizes, baby hygiene items, and gift cards at all Catholic Charities locations during regular business hours. They can also visit Catholic Charities website at www.cdow.org/charities to make a donation using a credit card. Please note Diaper Drive in the comments section. Read more »

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Fresno Catholics urged to be a light to community shocked by shootings


FRESNO, Calif. — After three men were killed April 18 in a shooting rampage in Fresno by a gunman who was captured and admitted to the shootings, the Diocese of Fresno urged the local Catholic community to “seize this moment as an opportunity to live as people of light not darkness by rejecting the temptation to hate the hater.”

“Once again, our community is touched by darkness,” said the diocesan statement posted on the diocese’s website. “Family, friends, neighbors and the vast multitude of good and caring people in our community must now decide, once again, how we will respond to this senseless tragedy.”

A road is blocked by police tape April 18 after multiple victims were fatally shot in Fresno, Calif. Community members and faith leaders held a prayer vigil in the alley behind the Catholic Charities' Fresno Family Resource Center to honor the three shooting victims that were killed that day. (CNS photo/Reuters)

A road is blocked by police tape April 18 after multiple victims were fatally shot in Fresno, Calif. Community members and faith leaders held a prayer vigil in the alley behind the Catholic Charities’ Fresno Family Resource Center to honor the three shooting victims that were killed that day. (CNS photo/Reuters)

One of the three victims was shot at a bus stop near a Catholic Charities office and another was shot in the agency’s parking lot.

Kelly Lilles, executive director of Catholic Charities in Fresno, said: “Our hearts are heavy as we reflect on the wrong done to our community yesterday and the horrific events that took place as a result of one angry individual.”

The gunman, Kori Ali Muhammad, also was wanted in the slaying of a security guard in Fresno the previous week. All four victims were white. The Associated Press reported that Muhammad, who is black, fired 16 rounds in less than two minutes at four places within a block April 18.

Lilles said in a statement that she and the staff and board of directors of Catholic Charities were thankful for those who reached out to the victims and for the first responders on the scene.

She said the Catholic Charities team had come together for prayers for the victims and their families, for clients and each other. They also continued their work, opening their doors the day after the shooting for clients. “Nothing will stop us from being a light for our community and we will continue to be here even in times of great sadness,” she added.

The Fresno diocesan statement urged Catholics to reflect on what they experienced, stressing that “anger and outrage are certainly a natural reaction; yet, these feelings must also be experienced as an invitation to prayerful reflection.”

The statement pointed out that “in less than two minutes, three lives were taken for no apparent reason beyond an incomprehensible depth of hatred carried in the heart of one man.”

The diocese offered prayers for the deceased and their families and for the “conversion of souls that intentionally inflict acts of violence on innocent victims. May their minds and hearts be enlightened and opened to God’s love, mercy and forgiveness; and may we be prepared to walk with them when they seek reconciliation within our community.”

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Chicago cardinal bolsters programs to break city’s cycle of violence


Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich April 4 announced a new initiative to increase the work of anti-violence programs in parishes and schools and those run by Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Catholic Charities and Kolbe House, the archdiocese’s jail ministry.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago holds a letter from Pope Francis to the people of Chicago during an April 4 news conference where he announced an anti-violence initiative to increase the capacity and reach of current programs of the Chicago Archdiocese that address the root causes of violence. Pictured at right is Drew Hines, director of the Peace Corner Youth Center.  (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago holds a letter from Pope Francis to the people of Chicago during an April 4 news conference where he announced an anti-violence initiative to increase the capacity and reach of current programs of the Chicago Archdiocese that address the root causes of violence. Pictured at right is Drew Hines, director of the Peace Corner Youth Center. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

The Chicago archdiocese also will seek out partnerships to increase programs that will help break the cycle of violence.

The cardinal announced the initiatives on the 49th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

With a $250,000 personal donation, Cardinal Cupich said the archdiocese will create the Instruments of Peace Venture Philanthropy Fund that will provide funds for both new and existing neighborhood-based anti-violence programs. The money comes from donations he’s received to aid his personal charitable efforts.

In 2018, the archdiocese also will hold the first U.S. meeting of Scholas Occurrentes, a program active in 100 countries that brings young people together to meet and problem-solve. The gathering will involve young people from Cook and Lake counties.

The announcements came during a news conference at the Peace Corner Youth Center, which serves young people in Chicago’s violence-prone Austin neighborhood. As of April 5, 773 people were shot in Chicago in 2017 and there were 151 homicides, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Cardinal Cupich also invited people to join him on a Walk for Peace through the city’s Englewood neighborhood on Good Friday, April 14. Like Austin, Englewood is a neighborhood that sees frequent shootings and crime. During the walk, participants will take part in the Stations of the Cross and pause along the way to remember those who died by violence. Along the route, participants will read the names of those killed in Chicago since January.

The cardinal said he shared these plans with Pope Francis when he met him in Rome recently. Pope Francis was moved by the news and drafted a letter to the people of Chicago, which the cardinal read at the news conference.

“I assure you of my support for the commitment you and many other local leaders are making to promote nonviolence as a way of life and a path to people in Chicago,” the letter stated.

The pope said he will be praying for those who will participate in the Good Friday walk.

“As I make my own Way of the Cross in Rome that day, I will accompany you in prayer, as well as all those who walk with you and who have suffered violence in the city,” the letter said.

Cardinal Cupich’s announcement of new initiatives follows a yearlong process he initiated to learn about the scope of anti-violence programs already going on in the archdiocese.

While no program will completely eradicate violence from the city, the cardinal said, “just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something. It’s going to take one person at a time.”

During his process of learning about the efforts in the archdiocese, Cardinal Cupich said he heard of many ways parishes and groups want to respond but lack the funding to do more. The Instruments of Peace Venture Philanthropy Fund is for them.

“I see this as seed money for these local initiatives,” he said. “There really is no niche fund to support their efforts.”

He stressed the need for partnerships in these efforts.

“I can’t do it alone. I need the help of others,” Cardinal Cupich said.

Duriga is editor of the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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Helping others is the Bookers’ driving passion


Dialog reporter

St. Mary of the Assumption couple being honored by Catholic Charities founded SmartDrive Foundation

WILMINGTON — Pete and Susan Booker have had the urge to serve others going back nearly 50 years in three states, and next month, they will be recognized for all of that service.

The Bookers, members of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Hockessin, will receive the Msgr. Thomas J. Reese Award from Catholic Charities at the organization’s annual tribute dinner on April 5. It recognizes those who have demonstrated “a deep commitment to promoting and restoring the well-being of people,” which is Catholic Charities’ mission. Read more »

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Lent provides opportunity for Catholics to focus attention on homeless


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON —Almsgiving is a Lenten tradition and Washington resident Ron Van Bellen says his volunteer work feeding the homeless honors his Catholic faith as he prepares for Easter.

The real estate agent and parishioner at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown was one of several volunteers dishing up dinner for homeless men and women lined up March 8 for the weekly St. Maria’s meals program sponsored by Catholic Charities each Wednesday evening.

Van Bellen took time to greet each man and woman who went through the food line before they made their way along the downtown Washington sidewalk to eat their dinner.

“Every time I volunteer I reflect on how my day went and how it related to my relationship with God,” he told Catholic News Service. “It does relate to Lent. We have to sacrifice and serve our brothers and sisters.”

Able Putu, a homeless man in a wheelchair, eats a meal on a Washington street March 8 prepared by volunteers of the St. Maria's meals program run by Catholic Charities. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

Able Putu, a homeless man in a wheelchair, eats a meal on a Washington street March 8 prepared by volunteers of the St. Maria’s meals program run by Catholic Charities. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

Van Bellen’s example of helping the homeless during Lent is a Catholic value that Washington’s Catholic Charities president and CEO, Msgr. John Enzler, would like to see spread across the U.S.

It’s clear in the Scriptures that fasting and penance goes beyond not eating meat on Fridays and giving something up during Lent, Msgr. Enzler told CNS. “It’s about making someone else’s life better with your service and your commitment.”

The homeless are among the world’s most vulnerable people and providing service to them during Lent is an ideal way for Catholics to live out their faith in a way that will make a real difference, he said.

Concerted efforts by religious and governmental organizations to address the U.S. homeless situation appear to be making a difference.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported a 3 percent drop in the national homeless rate from 2015 to 2016 and a 12 percent drop in the last five years.

HUD reported the 2016 national homeless population to be nearly 550,000.

However, the homeless rate rose from 2015 to 2016 in the District of Columbia and a few states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Washington.

With more than a half million people still considered homeless, it’s an issue that all U.S. cities confront and there are varying solutions being employed to raise money necessary to address it in a consequential way, Msgr. Enzler said.

In its effort to fund anti-homelessness programs, Los Angeles County placed a proposal called Measure H on its ballot during its March 7 election.

If passed, Measure H would raise the sales tax a quarter cent. Ballots were still being counted as of March 16 to determine the outcome of the measure.

“There doesn’t seem to be a secret sauce, if you will, about how to completely eradicate homelessness,” Msgr. Enzler said. “But, it seems to me that we just don’t have enough case workers and social workers.”

He believes more people need to serve as navigators, mentors or coaches for individual homeless men and women.

“We don’t have enough people who can really step in and say, ‘I’m going to help this one individual,’” Msgr. Enzler said, “and say ‘it’s my job to help just that one person get a job and get a place to stay and stay with them. Mentor them through that process.’”

He has been encouraging volunteers in his Catholic Charities’ programs to make the homeless their focal point during Lent.

Pope Francis has long urged governments and Christians to recognize the dignity of the homeless and help ease their suffering.

Homelessness became more complicated in the nation’s capital this Lenten season, since the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library shut down March 4 for a three-year, multimillion-dollar renovation.

Many D.C. homeless men and women used that library branch as a day resource center, a place to get out of the elements during the daytime hours, to use the computer lab to look for work and to use the public restrooms, Msgr. Enzler said.

That closure inspired him to explore a partnership between the District of Columbia and other charitable groups to fund an official day resource center for the homeless, complete with a meal program, laundry and shower facilities, as well as job counselors, case managers and social workers.

It’s an idea that is still percolating with no commitments yet realized, Msgr. Enzler said.

It’s also an idea that Able Putu, a 37-year-old homeless Washingtonian who uses a wheelchair, would like to see come to fruition.

Putu said the library closure left him without a place to rest, use the lavatory and made him more vulnerable to being robbed during the daytime hours.

“I know a lot of people think the homeless are scum and aren’t worthy of anyone’s help, and maybe that’s true about some of them,” Putu said, “but it’s not true about most of us.”

Van Bellen said he had been one of those people with a negative opinion of the homeless before he started his volunteer work.

“I found out that those were misperceptions,” he said. “What I’ve discovered is the homeless people I’ve encountered here are sweet and definitely misunderstood. I wouldn’t have figured that out if I hadn’t exposed myself to them.”


Follow Chaz Muth on Twitter: @Chazmaniandevyl.

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Stock the Pantry food drive extended through March



Catholic Charities is looking to communities in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland to help stock the food pantries throughout the Diocese, including the newest location in the Thrift Center in northeast pantryWilmington. The food cooperatives provide monthly distributions of food for enrolled clients who are at or below 200% of poverty. The co-op offers an ongoing, sustainable resource for savings.

Donors can contribute nonperishable food goods, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and grocery store gift cards at all Catholic Charities locations during regular business hours.


Newest Pantry Location Opens This Spring at:

Catholic Charities Thrift Center

1320 E 23rd Street

Wilmington, Delaware 19802


If you need food assistance, call Catholic Charities Main Office at 302-655-9624 to make an appointment.

To learn more about our Food Assistance program, click here. 


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Catholic panelists discuss ‘Faithful Priorities in a Time of Trump’


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Catholic panelists gathered to discuss “Faithful Priorities in a Time of Trump” said it is difficult to get over some of the words the president-elect said during the campaign, and even before he was a candidate. But as his presidency nears, many of them said it’s important to find ways to work with him for the common good.

“When Donald Trump says things about women … I have a hard time stomaching those comments,” said Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. “We can still find a way, though, to listen and say, ‘How do we find common ground?’”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks Jan. 11 during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. (CNS /Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks Jan. 11 during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. (CNS /Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Msgr. Enzler was one of five panelists Jan. 12 who addressed the role the Catholic faith can play as the country gets ready for the incoming Trump administration. Some Catholics such as Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Florida, expressed great optimism.

“We can have a lot of hope that he will protect life the way we want him to do … defunding Planned Parenthood, protecting life,” Rooney said. “Things like the insurance mandate can be brought into harmony of First Amendment rights.”

Yet others such as panelist Jessica Chilin Hernandez expressed uncertainty and apprehension of the days ahead. Chilin works at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, thanks to a work permit she has through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. President Barack Obama, through executive action in 2012, created a policy that allows certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to have a work permit and be exempt from deportation.

Chilin is one of more than 750,000 people who signed up for DACA. During the campaign, Trump said he would kill the program and threatened mass deportations, sending those like Chilin into panic.

“I felt a fear unlike any other fear I have had before,” she said about the moment she learned Trump won the election. “The fear was visceral. … one thought that occupied my mind was that homeland security knows exactly where I live. It was hard to imagine myself having a future in 2017.”

Joan Rosenhauer, executive vice president of U.S. Operations for Catholic Relief Services, said now is a good time to review the principles of Catholicism and social justice, explaining that they don’t divide people and don’t say refugees or immigrants are enemies or a burden on society.

“What we have to do is lift up our principles,” Rosenhauer said. “The problem is deeper because our own Catholic people do not know those principles.”

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization, said the country is showing a high level of ambiguity, fear, dysfunction and chaos.

“I think that challenges all of us as people of faith,” she said.

Now is the time to stand up for the stranger, the working poor, and anyone who needs of our kindness or help, and Catholic social teaching has a lot to say about it, Sister Campbell said.

Msgr. Enzler noted it is also important to understand that individuals can do much by performing kind actions toward others. People can start by asking: “What did I do today? It’s not an agency that can make things better but people,” he said.

Chilin said it’s important to keep in mind language that we use in daily conversation.

“Be conscientious of language,” she said. “Illegal is a racial slur. No human being is illegal and yet, in many circles, they use it to describe us.”

Panel moderator John Carr, director of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, which sponsored the event, asked how Catholics can build bridges in “an angry country, a divided country.” There are a lot of people who feel under attack, he said.

“It’s important to see what role (Catholics) can play in divisions that have been created over the past year,” Rosenhauer said. “I was really struck by Cardinal (Joseph) Tobin and his homily at his installation where one of his key points was that our kindness must be known to all.”

It’s important to stand up for beliefs even when others disagree with them, she said, “but we have to find a way to do it with kindness.”

“We want to protect children in the womb. That’s something we can work with this (the Trump) administration and Congress on. … Senator (Jeff) Sessions said there would be no Muslim ban. That’s something we would support and work together on … then let’s be clear about the areas for disagreements.”

Msgr. Enzler said Catholics, particularly the church’s leaders, must also speak and raise their voices for the vulnerable, and strongly speak the church’s message.

Moderator Carr asked Sister Campbell whether she could offer any lessons about building bridges that she learned during the Nuns on the Bus tour last summer, a 19-day trip that a group of women religious undertook from Wisconsin to the national political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Its aim was to learn what people around the country were thinking about just before the presidential election.

Sister Campbell used the bus as a metaphor for the country. Some said the bus had made them feel as if they were welcome back into a community, a feeling they had not had in a long time, because everyone was welcome on the bus. She said she heard stories about poverty, lack of jobs and lack of access to health care that resulted in the deaths of loved ones.

“No one can be left out of our care,” Sister Campbell said. “We are a nation of problem-solvers, but we have sunk into extreme individualism.”

As Pope Francis has said, it’s about the people, and when people feel loved, they flourish and when they flourish so does the country, she said.


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