Home Commentary Joy and Hope

Joy and Hope


By Gregory Kepferle
CEO, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and President, Charities Housing Development Corporation


How many ways can we say, “Thank you” this Thanksgiving and Christmas season? In their dialogues captured in “The Book of Joy,” the Dalai Lama and Reverend Desmond Tutu make the case that a joyful life is rooted in gratitude and generosity. So often we fill our lives with worry, grief and fear, that we can feel overwhelmed by all the natural disasters, the divisiveness in our world, and worries about health, work or family concerns.

Catholic Charities clients share these same concerns and more. A refugee orphan wonders if she will survive and who will take her in. Much like the Holy Family, homeless parents worry if they and their newborn child will have to live on the street. An immigrant youth fears for her parents being deported because she received temporary protection under DACA. An adult son grieves the dementia that consumes his aging parent. A former gang member who did his time in jail worries if he can get a job, given his record and his tattoos. A child struggling with English and math anxiously questions if she will ever understand. An isolated senior overwhelmed by loneliness wonders if she will ever get out of her depression. Displaced disaster survivors worry if they will ever be able to go home.

Catholic Charities clients also share their joys and hopes, their gratitude and generosity. Neighbors in the Santee neighborhood of East San Jose generously give their time to make their neighborhood a welcoming place where children can learn and thrive in safety. Foster parents welcome orphaned refugee youth into their loving homes. Immigrant youth advocate boldly for acceptance of “Dreamers.” Older students volunteer their time helping younger students after school with homework and sports. Neighbors affected by blight organize to call landlords to clean up their properties. Immigrants pass their citizenship tests and are sworn in as proud new Americans. Job seekers find meaningful work. Children learn to read. Seniors delight in shared meals and dancing. People with disabilities find meaning through a peer group and spiritual support. People who lost their homes find new housing, a welcoming community and new hope for the future.

At Catholic Charities we are grateful for the generosity of our donors and volunteers, as well as for the trust our clients place in us.

In this season celebrating gratitude and generosity, I invite you to share in the joy by supporting Catholic Charities as we provide help and create hope right here in Santa Clara County. Our neighbors need your help. You will make a difference. Thank you!

To help make a difference, go to www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org.