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WASHINGTON (November 2, 2010) — The 2010 Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection is slated for November 20-21 in parishes throughout the United States. Fight Poverty in America, Defend Human Dignity is this year’s theme.
“At this time of great economic suffering, it is more important than ever for the Church in the United States, through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ ‘to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free,’” said Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), quoting the Gospel of Luke (4:18). The subcommittee is part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
The Bishops have recently completed a thorough Review and Renewal evaluation process of CCHD. The Review and Renewal of CCHD does three things: reaffirms CCHD’s Catholic foundations and priority for the poor; responds to concerns about some CCHD funding policies; and makes “ten commitments” to strengthen CCHD as a faithful and effective expression of Catholic teaching and the Gospel (www.usccb.org/cchd/reviewandrenewal.shtml).
According to U.S. Census Bureau numbers, the nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008. There were 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008 — the third consecutive annual increase.
This annual parish collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s anti-poverty grants and education programs. Over the years, collection proceeds have helped secure funding for low-income day care centers, legal advocacy to enforce fair and just wages, programs that emphasize education, and affordable housing for low-income neighborhoods.
“Across the country, work is being done to fight poverty at its roots in places that offer inadequate education, tolerate unaffordable housing, and turn away from communities in need. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is justice and charity in action through the Church. CCHD funds community groups that work to change systems that keep them in poverty,” said CCHD Director Ralph McCloud.
For 40 years, the CCHD Collection has provided funding to groups that make lasting change, fight poverty, and defend the dignity of the poor in the United States. CCHD funds groups all over the country that identify the systemic problems in their communities that keep residents in poverty and then work to solve them. One such group, Faith Action Strength Together in Pinellas County, Florida, has had an impact on county-wide discipline reform in schools, provided quality child care for low-income working parents, and worked with the local county commission to create $19 million trust to construct and rehabilitate more than 1,000 units of affordable housing.
In Nebraska, Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) is a multi-ethnic, ecumenical organization committed to promoting a safe, healthy environment for children and their families. Catholic groups compose more than half of the OTOC membership which began as a group of religious leaders who gathered to discuss how the needs of their parishioners were not being met by the systems in place in their community. With help from CCHD, OTOC has worked to improve youth programs, relationships between the community and the police, worker safety, and parental involvement in schools. It has led efforts to reduce violence, replace sewers, weatherize homes and encourage neighborhood revitalization, and it has promoted just wages and working conditions for employees of the meat-processing industry.
Established in 1969 by the U. S. Catholic Bishops as an expression of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church and as a way to help carry out the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is one of the most widely supported USCCB programs.
“CCHD is a unique and essential part of the much broader Catholic commitment to overcome poverty. CCHD pursues ‘the institutional path . . . of charity, no less excellent and effective than the kind of charity that encounters the neighbor directly’” explained Bishop Morin, quoting from Pope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.
More information on CCHD’s nationwide effort to break the cycle of poverty is available at the CCHD Web site at www.usccb.org/cchd.
Keywords: The Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection, CCHD, Bishop Roger Morin, Ralph McCloud
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