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A Special NYC Stop by Pope Francis

Posted on July 20, 2015 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Pope Francis plans to make a special stop on his historic visit to New York City; a meeting with immigrants served by Catholic Charities. In the latest issue of El Diario, Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shares his insider’s perspective on Pope Francis’ upcoming trip.

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By Msgr. Kevin Sullivan

Executive Director, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York

With Love is Our Mission as the theme, the itinerary of His Holiness, Pope Francis' trip to the United States was made public on July 1st. He will be traveling to the United States to attend the World Meeting of Families, taking place on September 26th and 27th, in Philadelphia.  Many people are surprised to learn that he has never been to the United States.

His Holiness will be visiting New York on September 24th and 25th primarily to address the United Nations.  He will also conduct a multi-religious service at “ground zero” the site of the 9/11 tragedy, hold evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.

In addition of special importance and note to Catholic Charities is his visit on Friday, September 25, to East Harlem,   There, Pope Francis will visit with immigrant and refugee families and children served by Catholic Charities agencies in the auditorium of Our Lady Queen of Angels School.

Pope Francis has specifically asked to meet immigrant and refugees on his visit.   Special hand-made gifts for the Holy Father are being made by members of Catholic Charities immigration, day laborer, and mothers’ programs. .  The excitement is palpable and for those chosen to create these gifts, it is a labor of love – a gift filled with innumerable blessings.

Pope Francis choosing to visit immigrants and refugees is so apt for Catholic Charities.   So many of our agencies day-in and day-out take to heart the call of Jesus to “welcome the stranger” and serve newcomers to our country with a wide range of services, both in New York City and the Hudson Valley.  Our food pantries feed immigrant children.  Agencies in diverse neighborhoods teach English and civics.  We help organize and protect day laborers.  Mothers are helped to form peer support groups.  Children fleeing violence in Central America are provided safe residences and legal services.  Refugees from Iraq and African are helped to resettlement.  Fearful immigrants are aided in how to avoid exploitation and fraud.  Families are re-untied.  And in so many more ways, our Catholic Charities agencies welcome and integrate immigrants and refugees.  In addition to being helped, hope is created for a better life.

Our Catholic Charities agencies fulfill Pope Francis’ clear message: “helping the poor and vulnerable, of all religions, is essential to our Christian faith.” Our  work touches almost every human need and the vision of our charity  has no boundaries.

Check it out in El Diario.

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