On Oct. 2 Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago hosted the 100th Annual Meeting of our Board of Advisers. This was truly a historic occasion as our board members joined together to celebrate their common commitment to serving the poor, just as they have done each year for the past century. Catholic Charities is calling our anniversary celebration “A Century of Hope,” because hope is exactly what we strive to bring each person who walks through our doors. For Catholic Charities, charity is not just about providing material assistance, but acting with the same love and mercy that Jesus showed to restore people’s dignity and give them hope for the future. We compassionately and passionately feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, welcome the stranger, comfort the afflicted and ensure that each person is treated with the utmost respect and dignity. We assess a person’s short-term and long-term needs, providing immediate relief and helping develop a holistic plan for a better life. It is our goal that Catholic Charities 100th anniversary be viewed as a celebration for the entire community because Catholic Charities is truly a product of the collective efforts of Good Samaritans from all parts of the city and suburbs. Parishes, religious men and women, individual donors and volunteers, philanthropic organizations, businesses and government entities have come together throughout the years in our shared concern for those living at the furthest margins of society. From caring for widows and orphans during World War I and the spread of the deadly influenza virus to providing critical aid during the Great Depression, expanding housing and senior services as baby boomers have aged, providing relief during the Great Recession and now being an important part of anti-violence initiatives in the most troubled neighborhoods, Catholic Charities has been made strong by Good Samaritans who have refused to pass by the one abandoned on the side of the road. Because of this faithful and faith-filled support, I am pleased to say that Catholic Charities is stronger than ever. I am particularly thankful for all those who supported us during the recent Illinois state budget crisis, allowing Catholic Charities to be one of the few social service providers that did not have to cut services to vulnerable populations. Catholic Charities board members and supporters stepped up and helped the agency by meeting with lawmakers, giving financial support, facilitating critical partnerships, volunteering even more hours and praying diligently. This mission-driven support is what has enabled Catholic Charities to respond steadfastly to community needs for the past century, and it is what will sustain us into the future. One of the ways Catholic Charities has celebrated our centennial anniversary is with a media campaign. Whether it’s been a radio spot, billboard, banner or social media post, many of you may have seen the fruits of this campaign, which was developed by a team of our talented and dedicated board members. They felt that, especially during this centennial anniversary year, it was important to draw attention not just to Catholic Charities, but to the idea of getting involved and being Good Samaritans who help anyone in need. We have been honored that some of our city’s top sports figures and business leaders have appeared in these promotions, and we hope that they have sparked an interest in working together to serve our neediest neighbors. Catholic Charities is extraordinarily blessed to carry out the Gospel mission to love and serve the poor in the Archdiocese of Chicago. As we celebrate “A Century of Hope,” let’s continue to work together to fulfill Jesus’ command to “go and do likewise,” emulating the Good Samaritan and helping our brothers and sisters achieve lives worthy of their God-given dignity.