August 3, 2012

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

A forecast of hope

David SilerThis summer’s oppressively high temperatures and incredibly dry conditions following the disastrous spring tornadoes surely demonstrate our world of extremes.

While we adjust to a now two-month drought, we can join in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in parts of Africa who have been experiencing a drought for over two years!

The world over, we witness the extremes of Mother Nature and the havoc that it wreaks on people’s lives.

In the same way, economic extremes right here in Indiana bring about a similar crisis in the lives of many Hoosiers—most notably the lives of our children.

Sometimes a single storm in a family, such as the loss of a job, can put them on the streets. Other times, storms combine—such as a job loss, health crisis, addiction, the death of a family member or a prison sentence—to cause as much destruction as a tornado.

Crystal is a mother of four young children who lost her husband after his long battle with cancer. He was the family’s sole breadwinner and had a poor health insurance plan so his extended illness exhausted the family’s savings and put them into huge debt.

Their bank has taken the family home and Crystal had no family to turn to for help. The family found their way to Holy Family Shelter in Indianapolis, where Crystal is working hard to find a job that will provide for her family.

Bobby is 9 years old, and his father was recently put in jail after his fourth drunk driving arrest. His mother did not graduate from high school, and has never held a steady job. Bobby’s grandparents live in town, but have several health problems of their own and live on a very small, fixed monthly income.

Bobby comes to Ryves Youth Center in Terre Haute nearly every day just to have something stable and normal in his life. The youngster said that he is worried about his mother, and that he now needs to be the man of the house.

Most of us have the resources to weather many of the storms that come our way. We have family and friends, perhaps a savings account, good health insurance, a good education or the skills to find a new job quickly.

However, many of our neighbors in central and southern Indiana suffer from a lack of resources of every kind.

What a blessing it is for the thousands of individuals and families that make their way to Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic hospitals and many of our parish outreach programs every year to gain the resources and support that they need to get through their personal storms—creating a forecast for “hope!”

(David Siler is the executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at

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