Home Community Fireflies



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

When I was a kid growing up in Kentucky, I used to love the summer evenings when the fireflies appeared. As kids, we called them “lightning bugs” and delighted in trying to catch them and gently place them in glass jars with holes in the lids. They seemed miraculous, these tiny creatures that sent signals of light out into the darkness.

Today, when we experience so much darkness in the world and in our own church, and maybe even within ourselves, we are called to be fireflies – to let the light of our faith, the light of our hope, and the light of our love shine forth into the night. Our lights may be small. Our signals may be intermittent. But our message needs to be clear – “Night, you are not so strong. Darkness, you are not so powerful.” We must stay true to that light within us and not fear the night. For we are not alone. We are surrounded by a whole host of lights that shatter the darkness.

Jesus proclaims that we are “the light of the world” and calls us to let our light shine before others, so they may see our good works and give glory to God (MT 5:16). I witness that light shining in the staff, volunteers, donors and clients of Catholic Charities. I see the light shin-ing in the community when I attend the annual Posada in the Washington Neighborhood as hard working immigrant families walk singing with colored lights from Sacred Heart Church to the Washington United Youth Center run by Catholic Charities.

I witness that light of understanding when I see Christmas trees decked with blinking ornaments that our CORAL STEM after-school kids learned how to program with their new coding skills. I see the light of joy in the eyes of a refugee orphan who graduated high school, in the eyes of a job seeker who finally got a job, and in the eyes of a senior who receives a hot meal. I see the light of peace surrounding a family who finally got housed in our Charities Housing apartments, and the light of healing filling the wounded hearts of clients living with mental illness.

Thank you to all the fireflies surrounding us as we bring the light of Christ into our darkened world. I invite you to share your light by joining in the good works of Catholic Charities. To donate, volunteer, or learn more visit www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org.