Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Forty years ago the United States bishops established the Church’s domestic anti-poverty program, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). The Campaign was established to raise funds to help the poor to participate in the decisions and actions that affect their lives and to empower them to move beyond poverty. This year, the collection for CCHD will be taken up in the parishes of the Diocese of Camden on the weekend of November 21-22.
Since its founding, the CCHD has provided more than 7,800 grants to self-help projects developed by grassroots groups of poor persons. Additional projects also are funded through the 25 percent share of the CCHD collection that is retained from the annual collection by each local diocese.* In the last year, local grants were awarded by the Diocese of Camden to four South Jersey organizations that are devoted to community revitalization and serving the needs of the poor: Camden Churches Organized for the People, South Jersey Regional Equity Organizing Project, Parkside Business & Community in Partnership and Camden United, Inc.
Recently, you may have heard allegations CCHD promotes or supports projects whose work is not consistent with Catholic teaching. However, you should know that CCHD funds will not be used to support any application which is sponsored or promoted by an organization whose primary mission is contrary to Catholic teaching, even if the application itself is in accord with Catholic teaching (see www.usccb.org/cchd/ and the attached Q&A).
In his message for the 2009 World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI said, “I extend to every disciple of Christ and to every person of good will a warm invitation to expand their hearts to meet the needs of the poor and to take whatever practical steps are possible in order to help them. The truth of the axiom cannot be refuted: “to fight poverty is to build peace.” (15) With this in mind, I ask you to give priority to the special needs of the poor and to be generous in your support of this collection.
Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante, D.D., J.C.D.
Bishop of Camden
Local low-income empowerment organizations in the six southern counties of New Jersey may apply for local grants by contacting Father Ken Hallahan, director of the CCHD for the Diocese of Camden, at (856) 962-8642.