Next weekend, Fr. Richard Kunzman will be coming here to celebrate Mass and talk about Cross Catholic Outreach, a Catholic ministry that seeks to bring the faith and a sense of human dignity to the poorest people on this earth.  The organization both responds to emergencies such as earthquakes, hurricanes and the ravages of war and helps communities provide for their own future with economic development, education and health care.

Thus, for example, Cross Catholic runs food distribution centers in over 20 countries and finds homes for orphans of disease and war in countries all over Africa, Asia and Latin America.  But the organization also supplies housing materials to families and communities so that they can build their own homes.

In places, such as Kenya and Nicaragua, they have built water supply structures to help make sure that the communities can provide for their own food and sanitary conditions.   The group has also helped many people earn their own living by giving them both animals, crops and training in agriculture so that they can develop their land.

It these ways and similar, Cross Catholic, in partnership with organizations such as the Vatican charitable arm Cor Unum and the American organization Catholic Charities, tries to defend the divine rights of all people and their abilities to develop the mind and talents God has given them.

As Cor Unum said in a supporting letter, Cross Catholic “is an effective way for American Catholics to know about serious needs worldwide, and be given a reliable channel to become personally involved through prayer and financial support.”

Of course, charities of many religions or even no religion provide for the poor.  What makes Christian relief and development efforts unique is that they are both inspired by Jesus Christ and bring us back to Him.  We recognize that, in assisting those most in need, we are bringing people more than material help, as important as that is.  We are also giving people a visible image of the God’s love for them.

Furthermore, we are making the faith more attractive to the world, teaching by living out the glory of God.  And we not only making the world a better place, but also serving Jesus Christ Himself.  For, as the Gospel of Matthew says, at the end of all things, the Son of Man will judge all nations, saying, “Whatever You did for the least of My brethren, that you did unto Me.”  Matt. 25:20.