In this issue: Catholic Campaign for Human Development highlight, news from USCCB,
and upcoming events!

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Faith In Action Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic Charities of West Michigan

August 2015

Catholic campaign for human development 



Partnering to End Homelessness in Kent County 

“The CPP helped give us an opportunity to have a home again. Somewhere to keep my kids safe. It was nice just to have someone else there encouraging me to keep moving forward.” – Melissa, CPP participant 2015 

The Salvation Army Congregational Partnership Program (CPP) is an ecumenical program partnering congregations with families experiencing homelessness. Last year alone, there were over 3,500 households in Kent County experiencing homelessness. This included over 4,200 children. Through our county's central intake, The Salvation Army Housing Assessment Program, over 640 calls are completed each month from households seeking housing support. 

The CPP is a unique relational ministry that allows congregations to be directly involved in the work of moving families back into permanent housing and ending homelessness. Churches can get involved in a variety of ways and the families we work with could greatly benefit from your involvement. Homes are more than shelters—they are a determining factor for the quality of life. Ensuring that a family has housing stability enables them to utilize their strengths as they move forward. Would join us in being a part of the solution?

For interested congregations or volunteers, please call Congregational Recruitment Specialist, Raechel Wrona at 616-454-5840 ext. 3030 or email: 

Catholic Charities West Michigan administers the Catholic Campaign for Human Development local grant process for the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

To find out more, visit

For the most recent news and more information on the work of CCHD:

click here


 “If you were president, how would you act to fight poverty?”

Candidates for the Republican and Democratic presidential nomination are responding to a call from more than 100 Christian leaders, including CCUSA’s President and CEO, Sr. Donna Markham, to the question “What would you do as president to offer help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world?”

In these short videos, each candidate explains their vision for addressing the needs of those struggling to get by, and sets forth their priorities, should they be elected, on how our nation could address the plight of those in poverty.

See each candidates response here:

Click here 


Cardinal O’Malley: Planned Parenthood’s Work Reflects ‘Throwaway Culture’ Decried By Pope Francis

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responded, July 29, to recent videos showing leaders from Planned Parenthood discussing the provision of fetal organs, tissues, and body parts from their abortion clinics.



USCCB-CCUSA Letter To Congress Regarding Fair And Just Wages


Dear Representative/Senator:

On behalf of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA, we write to lift up the struggles of low-wage workers and their families. We urge you to advance legislation and policies that would ensure fair and just wages for all workers, and in doing so improve the financial security of millions of American families.


Read full letter here:


“Generosity, compassion and love are the ways that we, as Catholics, show our love for God. I’m proud that so many in our community are active in helping those in need, especially in providing families a worthy place to live.” - Bishop David Walkowiak

Pope Francis Build, a collaboration between Catholics of our diocese and Habitat for Humanity Kent County, will mark the pope's September U.S. visit in a special way. The Diocese of Grand Rapids and Catholic Charities West Michigan will both be sending teams to participate in the build.




A Stronghold in Times of Trouble

Dear Friend,

Catholic Relief Services was founded as War Relief Services in 1943 initially to help refugees from the cataclysm that was World War II. The unprecedented devastation of that war left tens of millions dead and even more homeless and seeking shelter and safety. The relief and recovery efforts supported by the Catholic community in the United States lasted for years.



USCCB Migration Chairman Applauds Court Order Requiring Administration To Release Central American Families From Detention


USCCB Migration Chairman Applauds Court Order Requiring Administration To Release Central American Families From Detention
WASHINGTON—The July 24 ruling by Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court of California ordering the Obama administration to release from detention families fleeing violence in Central America was applauded today by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. The administration has pursued a detention policy for these families –young mothers with children– as a means to deter other families from migrating to the United States.


USCCB And CCUSA Urge Support Of The Second Chance Act

On behalf of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA, we write to urge you to support the Second Chance Act (S.1513). This legislation is an important step in addressing some of the many issues facing the more than 650,000 men, women and juveniles who reenter society each year from federal and state prisons, and local jails and detention centers every day.




Earned Income Tax Credit Beneficial for Working Poor
 Paul A. Long, President and CEO of Michigan Catholic Conference

The Catholic Church speaks about the dignity of work, teaching that it is “a form of continuing participation in God’s creation” (USCCB, The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers). Work matters, especially to those struggling to make ends meet. One policy that has been critical to working, low-income individuals and families is the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).



Pope Francis announces World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

 (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has decided to set up a “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which will be celebrated on September 1st annually.
He made the announcement in a letter to the heads of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

To read more or listen to the news report,



Take Action
If your parish or organization has a hunger, poverty alleviation, or direct services program and is in need of funding, you may be eligible for a local CRS Rice Bowl grant. Grant amounts generally range from $1000 - $1500. Applications for the grants are available through the Catholic Charities West Michigan To learn more about the program, please contact Maggie Walsh at or (616) 340-1824. Grant applications are due by September 30th, 2015. 
The CRS Rice Bowl grants are made available through parishioner contributions to CRS Rice Bowl throughout the Lenten season. 25% of the contributions remain in our diocese while 75% of parishioner contributions go to CRS Humanitarian Relief Agencies throughout 100 countries. Thank you to all who contributed to CRS Rice Bowl!
To learn more about CRS Rice Bowl, click here:

Catholic Charities West Michigan is in need of your help. And so are the most needy in our community. Your contributions feed the hungry, protect at-risk children, provide life-changing conseling and build stronger families.

Click here to find out more about all of CCWM's programs and donate today!



Resources and Upcoming Events


Jack Jezreel, Founder and President of JustFaith Ministries will make two presentations on August 25 in Kalamazoo. The first session, “Making Missionary Disciples” from 1-4 p.m. is specifically geared toward clergy, church staff and lay leaders.  Later that same day he will present, “Transforming Our Hearts & The World” from 6-9 p.m. for everyone. The event will be held at Transformations Spirituality Center on Gull Road in Kalamazoo.

The cost to attend one or both events is $20 prior to August 18 or $25 at the door. Scholarships are available. Contact: Jay Freel Landry, St. Basil Catholic Church 574-339-3859

Local organizations work together to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Blue Candle Prayer Walk Against Human Trafficking Planned For Grand Rapids.

Human trafficking. Think it doesn't happen in America? According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 293,000 children in the U.S. are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. The Blue Candle Prayer Walk is designed to raise awareness about local human trafficking and bring the community together in expressing solidarity with victims.

 The walk will begin on Saturday, September 26th in the parking lot of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A welcome and prayer will take place at 7:00 pm and the 1.5 mile walk will commence at 7:15 pm. Event t-shirts will be provided to the first 300 participants who arrive. The walk will end at 85 Campau Avenue NW at 8:00 pm for a public showing of the #StopThisTraffic video followed by a final prayer and lighting of the candles. #StopThisTraffic is a six minute video created by Wedgwood's Manasseh Project that highlights some of the stories and statistics of children exploited in west Michigan.

The Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids and Calvary Church have partnered with Wedgwood's Manasseh Project to make the Blue Candle Prayer Walk a meaningful event in Grand Rapids that increases awareness and inspire people to action. 



Moving Forward: Immigration in 2016 and Beyond 

USCCB/JFI National Convening Wednesday – Friday, November 11-13, 2015 Four Points Sheraton Hotel at O’Hare Airport – Chicago, Illinois


November Social Justice Gathering
Thursday, November 7, 2015

Our next CCWM Social Justice Gathering will take place on November 7, 2015 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Cathedral Square. Our speakers will be Jordan Bruxvoort and Gema Lowe from the Micah Center.  All are welcome. Lunch will be provided. A free will offering will be accepted to help cover the cost of lunch.