Monsignor Michael Boland

A second Century of Hope

April 11, 2018

You may be surprised to know that April is designated as the National Month of Hope. Just as the rebirth of spring and the promise of Easter brighten our days and lift our spirits, the National Month of Hope was founded to inspire people to spread hope to others through volunteer efforts, charitable giving and acts of kindness.  

It is quite fitting that Catholic Charities will officially close out our 100th anniversary year during the National Month of Hope because hope is exactly what we have strived to bring to each person who has walked through our doors over the past 100 years. In fact, providing hope is such an integral part of our mission, that we named our year-long anniversary celebration “A Century of Hope.” 

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 show people that they are cared for and that their lives matter. We assess each person’s short-term and long-term needs, provide immediate relief, and help them develop a holistic plan for a better life.  

Although our services have grown and adapted to changing needs over the years, our mission to bring hope to the people and communities that need us most has remained the same. 

Pope Francis has used a powerful image of the church as a “field hospital.” During war, field hospitals are situated right on battlegrounds — close to the wounded who need help. Similarly, Catholic Charities’ 150 service locations are very much like field hospitals, helping those who are suffering, and located in neighborhoods that have sadly become like real battlegrounds, plagued by violence, poverty and despair.  

During this “Century of Hope” year, we intentionally redoubled our efforts to be a beacon of hope to those most in need by deepening our commitment in the city’s Austin community with our new Tolton Peace Center; expanding anti-violence programs throughout the city, including youth mentoring, youth employment and trauma-informed therapy; breaking ground on a new building in Round Lake; opening a new office to better serve the South and Southwest suburbs; creating an entire campus of services for those overcoming domestic violence; adding showers and remodeling the kitchen at our main headquarters at 721 N. LaSalle to restore the hope and dignity of the hungry and homeless who come to our Evening Supper Program; and relocating and expanding services for our Refugee Assistance Program — and that’s just to name a few of the program enhancements that will kick off our second “Century of Hope.”

All of these expansions, and indeed all of Catholic Charities’ services over the past 100 years, are possible because of the spirit of charity ever present in our great city and suburbs. As a true reflection of the National Month of Hope’s goal of inspiring people to help others, Catholic Charities has always been the collective effort of Good Samaritans throughout the area.  

Ever since our founding in 1917, Catholic Charities has been tremendously blessed with hard-working board members, dedicated volunteers, generous donors, strong partnerships with parishes and the support of government agencies and the business community. Catholic Charities is not one entity working alone, but a collection of kind-hearted and generous people working together to help their neighbors. 

That, to me, is truly what the National Month of Hope is all about.

As we watch the new buds of spring blossom into abundant life, let us be inspired to plant the seeds of hope in our poor and vulnerable brothers and sisters, so that their lives can bloom into abundant fruition.  

Whether future donor, volunteer or board member, I invite you to join Catholic Charities as we embark on our second “Century of Hope.”


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