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A Parent’s Heart


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


You may have seen the recent video clip of Pope Francis talking to the little boy named Emanuele who asked the Pope a question. Seeing that the boy was nervous to ask the question publicly, the Pope invited him to whisper the question to him. After talking with the boy and consoling him, the Pope shared with the audience Emanuele’s question. Crying, the boy wanted to know whether or not his father, who had been an atheist and had died, could go to heaven. Emanuele shared with the Pope that his father had made sure all of his four children were baptized. He was a good man. Pope Francis then asked the audience what they thought. “It is God who decides who goes to heaven. How is God’s heart in front of a father like that? God has a dad’s heart. Could he leave him far from Him? No. Does God abandon his children? No. Emanuele, surely God was proud of your father, because it is easier to baptize your children when you believe in God than when you do not believe in God…And God was proud of this for sure. Thank you Emanuele for your courage.”

And even while we are alive, God does not abandon us. Indeed God gives us each other to care for one another. God fills us with the Spirit of compassion and generosity, the Spirit of mercy and hope, the Spirit of courage and faith. So when we feel abandoned and lonely, when we are hungry or homeless, when we are strangers away from home, or imprisoned or sick, we have each other to bring food, healing, housing, and hope. And when our hearts are full with a desire to help, but the needs are too great to handle by ourselves, and we don’t have the skills or the resources, then we organize ourselves as a church through Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County to help our neighbors in need.

Today the needs in our community are even more urgent even in the midst of the abundance of Silicon Valley. More people are seeking help with food and housing. More people are feeling the stress and struggle of mental illness. More seniors are struggling to survive. More immigrants are feeling unwelcome despite their hard work and desire to find a place to call home. During Catholic Charities’ May Appeal, I invite you to have “a parent’s heart” and be generous to help Catholic Charities help our neighbors in need. Your help is their hope.

To make a donation visit, www.catholiccharitiesscc.org/donate-now.