Christian Community Action and his latest creation, HOPE

I dedicate my words to New Haven’s Christian Community Service and, in particular, to its latest housing program.

“The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Blessed be the Lord. (Psalm 34)

The Lord often answers the prayer of the needy by working through people and organizations that do God’s work. In the United States, these entities collaborate with local government agencies and other nonprofit organizations because they are well aware that grassroots organizations know the needs of the community.

One such agency is Christian Community Action, founded in 1967 (55 years ago) and currently led by Reverend Bonita Grubbs, one of New Haven’s best known and beloved citizens.

Fast forward to 1986. Our ministry of the Office of the Ministry of Social Justice of the Archdiocese of Hartford recognized the effectiveness of the services provided by the ACC by presenting it with the Bishop Joseph Donnelly Award. By the way, Bishop Donnelly was born in Fair Haven, graduated from James Hillhouse High School in 1925 with my father, and as a priest became a labor mediator for our state. Later, as bishop, he was responsible for brokering a contract between Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers and California growers.

Recipients of this award must be motivated by the principles of justice and charity revealed in biblical literature and church teachings. Their work will have had an impact on a significant number of people and will have affected progress towards the elimination of social, economic or political injustice or discrimination and the guarantee of basic human dignity.

This was the first time we gave it to an organization that was not under the auspices of the Catholic Church because of CCA’s contribution to the common good while helping struggling human beings become more fully alive. This thought originally comes from Saint Irenaeus, the 2nd century bishop of Lyons, France, who wrote, “The glory of God is the fully alive human being.

The CCA’s New HOPE (Higher Opportunities, Purpose, and Expectations) housing program does just that, and I quote CCA literature, “providing economic stability to families who are homeless or at risk to become so while improving the quality of life of all family members.

It is evident that the CCA and its staff have been and are being guided by the Holy Spirit in their many endeavours, including the one we are considering today. They deserve the enthusiastic gratitude of those they serve and the Greater New Haven community for their diligence, hard work, planning, and most importantly, their openness to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

I conclude with the following blessing from the conclusion of our nightly prayer called Compline:

“Lord, we beg you to visit this house and banish from it all the murderous power of the enemy. May your holy angels dwell here to keep its inhabitants in peace, and may your blessings always be upon us. Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Bishop Peter A. Rosazza is Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Hartford.

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