The closing words at Mass call us to go forth and share the Gospel. Caring for those who are suffering in body or soul is a crucial part of the Gospel, but sometimes we are left wondering how to do this. Led by individuals who see Christ in those they work with, Catholic Charities has put the answer within easy reach.
Joseph Figueroa joined Catholic Charities as the Executive Regional Director of the Castle Rock Office in March, and he is an example of how God leads people into service. Joseph planned to go into law enforcement and his first job was as a probation officer.
“That was an eye-opening experience,” he says. “I saw how dark and ugly the world can be. It gave me a lot of compassion for people in generational poverty, with mental health issues, criminal behavior, and substance abuse. There are so many people in this world with no one in their lives to help them break this cycle.”
Joseph found that his job was really part law enforcement and part social work. He began to feel especially called to social work and took a job in community behavioral health. When Joseph and his wife moved to Colorado, he took a job with Tri-Lakes Cares. But soon, he was drawn to the work of Catholic Charities.
“It’s really cool being able to work for a faith-based organization that is client-centered,” Joseph says.
At Catholic Charities, Joseph, the staff, and volunteers always look for long-term solutions rather than quick fixes.
“When someone is in crisis, their sole focus is on the biggest pain point in their life and they’re not necessarily thinking about the root cause,” Joseph says.
The goal at Catholic Charities is to listen to someone’s story and help make a plan to end the cycle and prevent another crisis. Joseph notes that the aftermath of COVID-19 has created a major shift in needs.
“As of July, government emergency assistance ended, so we are seeing a high demand for rent assistance,” Joseph says. “There are a lot of families who haven’t been able to financially recover. Inflation is squeezing them to death along with the lack of affordable housing and living wage jobs.”
How can we at St. Francis get involved? We partner with Catholic Charities for projects throughout the year, such as the Coat Drive, the Turkey Drive, and the Giving Tree project. Parishioners are also invited to volunteer, donate non-perishable goods to the food pantry, or make monetary donations.
Joseph believes Catholic Charities is here to demonstrate Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you – plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” He said, “Your current struggles do not define who you are. God has great things for you, and we want to help you achieve your God-given potential.”
To learn more or to serve with Catholic Charities, visit www.ccharitiescc.org or call 720-215-4521.