In this special edition you will find information, resources and ways to take action regarding Poverty Awareness Month, Disaster Relief, and upcoming events!
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Faith In Action Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic Charities of West Michigan



January is Poverty Awareness Month!

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Remember that Refugees
are fleeing for their lives, Bishop Urges


WASHINGTON — As the number of displaced persons is at its highest worldwide, Catholics must remember that “extremely vulnerable” refugees often flee circumstances where their very lives are at risk, a bishop has said.
“People often forget that the Holy Family themselves were refugees fleeing into Egypt,” Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo Almaguer of Seattle said in a Dec. 30 statement in advance of National Migration Week, which is observed Jan. 3-9.
“Likewise, refugees around the world, all of whom are extremely vulnerable, are fleeing for their lives,” added the chair of the U.S. bishops' committee on migration. “As Catholics, we are called to welcome and support these families who also need our help.”


To read more, click here:

Click here 


Local Spotlight: 
Saint Ann - St. Ignatius in Baldwin Creates Homes for those in need

By: Nate Schall, Catholic Campaign for Human Development Intern

About an hour-and-a-half north Grand Rapids, St. Ann-St. Ignatius Catholic Parish of Baldwin is refurbishing and creating homes for those who cannot afford to do so in Lake County - statistically the poorest county in Michigan.  Fr. Ron Schneider, pastor of St. Ann-St. Ignatius, created the Houses to Homes program “one morning at my kitchen table at 4:00am.”  Similar to the larger Habitat for Humanity program which offers no-interest, no down-payment homes for those who qualify based on income, Houses to Homes was conceived when lack of funding forced Habitat for Humanity to withdraw from Lake County.  “Our parishioners were the most active volunteers for Habitat,” Fr. Ron explained.  “After they left Lake County, they constructed almost 95 homes, but it was just a drop in the bucket compared to the need.”

Today, Houses to Homes has successfully completed several rehabilitations, most at no cost to residents.  This summer alone, the small parish of St. Ann - St. Ignatius completed over 30 projects, including making homes handicap accessible for the aging community and keeping homes up to code.  “It all happens by word of mouth,” Fr. Ron explained.  “We don’t have to do much advertising.”  Fr. Ron has high expectations for Houses to Homes’ future.  “We are partnering with Inner-City Christian Federation (ICCF) to add an educational component.  ICCF help(s) homeowners for 2, 3, 4 years just to obtain a mortgage.  They are a great organization!”  Fr. Ron encourages volunteers and welcomes visitors with questions.

If you would like to take action and contact Fr. Ron, call St. Ann / St. Ignatius at 231-745-7997.



With January being National Poverty Month, Catholic Charities USA highlights the effects of poverty during the devastating floods in the Midwest.  Demographics can be found on this link.





Deadline to apply for a local CCHD grant is March 30, 2016. To access the application and guidelines, 

click here Questions about the process may be directed to the 

CCHD Diocesan Director, Maggie Walsh, at (616) 340-1824 or

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. 

Catholic Bishops, working to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ "... to bring good news to the poor ...  

release to captives ...  sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free." (Luke 4:18) CCHD works to 

break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, 

families and communities. CCHD offers a hand up, not a handout. To read more about the work of the 

Catholic Campaign for Human Development, go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website by clicking the button below.


Year of Mercy

“Why have a Jubilee of Mercy?
What does this mean?

The Church is in need of this extraordinary occasion. I am not saying: this extraordinary occasion is good for the Church. I am saying: the Church needs this extraordinary occasion. In this era of profound changes, the Church is called to offer her particular contribution, rendering visible the signs of the presence and closeness of God. The Jubilee is a favourable time for all of us, because by contemplating Divine Mercy, which overcomes all human limitations and shines in the darkness of sin, we are able to become more certain and effective witnesses.” Pope Francis, December 9, 2015



 Mother Teresa:
2016’s Saint of Mercy


It’s official: Blessed Mother Teresa will be canonized in 2016. On Dec. 17, Pope Francis approved the second miracle attributed to her intercession. The exact canonization date will be formally announced at the next consistory of cardinals. However, the date looks like Sept. 4, according, unofficially, to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Fittingly, Mother Teresa’s canonization will fall during the Jubilee of Mercy, after being on the canonization “fast track.” Less than two years after her death on Sept. 5, 1997, Pope John Paul II, now a canonized saint himself, waived the waiting period for her cause to commence.


Read more


Leaders of many faiths ask Supreme Court to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor

Joined by over 200 Democratic and Republican members of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A diverse coalition of religious leaders representing Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Native American, Catholic, Protestant, and other faiths will be joined by over 200 Democratic and Republican Members of Congress in filing friend-of-the-court briefs at the United States Supreme Court today on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor (view full list).  The briefs are being filed in Zubik v. Burwell, in which the High Court will decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor and other ministries can be forced to change their healthcare plans to offer drugs that violate their religious beliefs when those same drugs could be made available through the healthcare exchanges.

“It’s easy to support religious freedom for the majority,” said Dr. Ossama Bahloul, Imam of The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.  “But the test of America’s commitment to religious diversity and freedom comes when we show we’ll defend minorities and those with whom we do not fully agree.”

“We have great admiration for the Little Sisters who are standing up not just for themselves and the elderly poor they serve but for the rights of all people of faith, including Jews,” said Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin. “Their courage is an example to all of us.” Rabbi Rocklin is a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.






Take Action
Midwest Floods
As demonstrated most recently by the flooding which affected thousands across America’s heartland, natural disasters are pervasive and cause devastation across the country. From rainfall to ice storms, tornados to flooding, they devastate communities escalating the vulnerability of those who were already economically challenged. (Catholic Charities USA) is committed to confronting the challenges of poverty and disasters through strategies that assist in addressing issues before, during and after a community is affected.

More about the flooding and how to help here. 

Resources and Upcoming Events



A second presentation at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish will take place at 7 p.m.

No RSVP necessary for this event.

At a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat I realized I had nearly two decades of intense emotional pain which literally weighed me down. In two days God did many miracles in my life. ~ comment from a retreat participant. During this Year of Mercy be open to receiving forgiveness, hope and healing.

Join us for our next Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat on the weekend of February 5-7, 2016.
Contact Project Rachel to find out how to move beyond the sorrow of abortion.
Call 616-340-1824 or email

Project Rachel in the Diocese of Grand Rapids is a ministry of Catholic Charities West Michigan.

The Micah Center Presents Lending and Racism
February 2, 2016 7:00pm at Hope Church

About the Micah Center: The Micah Center exists to educate people about the biblical call to do justice and how they can respond to that call in their local community. It accomplishes this work by hosting a monthly lecture series on biblical justice and applications to current issues; by facilitating advocacy groups that study issues, educate others, and advocate for policies that advance the cause of justice in areas such as poverty, the environment, health care, worker justice, and criminal justice; and a speakers bureau and library of resources on these issues.

More about the Micah Center at

RESOURCES: is ready to be shared locally, to help communities witness to their faith and respond to Pope Francis' call to be a Church which "goes forth"!  In the vision of the bishops' statement, Communities of Salt and Light, the site equips faith communities to integrate the call to mission throughout their efforts to pray, reach out, learn and act together.