By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

Father John C. Garrett offers a compelling reason on why faithful from throughout the Diocese should consider helping those less fortunate by contributing to the annual 2018 Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

The Gospel, he said, speaks to how Jesus says that “we will have the poor with us always.”

“That was not said [by Jesus] as a dejection, a failure,” said Father Garrett, diocesan director of the CCHD and pastor of Resurrection Parish, Delran. Rather, Jesus reminds all that “the poor are gifts to us.”

 “The poor teach us that ultimately, we all depend on God’s providence and that providence is often manifested through others,” Father Garrett said. “The annual CCHD collection is a call for all of us to remember to share that which we have first received from God, that as God has blessed us, so we are called to share our blessings with those around us.”

The CCHD is the Catholic Church’s domestic anti-poverty, social justice program that has as its mission to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education.

The 2018 campaign collection, which has as its theme, “Working on the Margins,” will be taken up in all parishes the weekend before Thanksgiving, which this year is Nov.  17-18. Of the amount collected, 75 percent will be sent to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national CCHD office, where the money will be used to support larger, often national programs for improving the lives of the poor. The remaining 25 percent remains in the Diocese to support more local, grassroots programs.

“It is the application of the principle of subsidiarity, one of the central principles of Catholic Social Teaching,” Father Garrett said.

“These more local, grassroots programs are often better aware of what people truly need,” he said, then cited how past CCHD funds in the Diocese have been used to help food banks or St. Vincent de Paul conferences that provide rent and utilities assistance. Funds have also been used to assist larger programs, such as homes for unwed mothers.

“Where there is a true human need, there are good, faithful Catholics who recognize those needs and want to step up to do something about them. CCHD-DOT tries to provide funds to help them get started,” Father Garrett said.