What does it mean to truly serve?

This is the time of year when we’re heartened and happy to see in the news all the stories of how people help their neighbors. With all the turmoil we’re constantly hearing, who can suppress a smile of relief at the reminder that there is still such good in the world?

For our part, at Catholic Charities, we are mindful particularly of the dignity of those we serve.

Catholic Charities lives by not only our mission to love, serve and teach as we improve the lives of Marylanders in need, but also by our commitments. Honoring and respecting dignity is the first of those commitments. We also commit to encountering each person with compassion, to acting with humility and collaboration, to serving with excellence, and to acting with integrity.

At Thanksgiving, we reflect on how it feels to our neighbors in need to be captured on-camera in the course of well-intended care. That is why we don’t often invite media to see meals shared. It’s also why, when others seek an opportunity, we ask them to serve with us in companionship and collaboration, minimizing displays and maximizing the ways we share our care for our neighbors. We are so grateful for those who do serve with us. We have always served meals to our clients in a way that respects them: seated at tables, in a warm and welcoming space indoors. It’s one of the things that makes our approach special. Like family.

We serve quietly, every day of the year, including Thanksgiving, because we believe that those we serve need a different kind of attention. We seek humility in our actions so that we elevate our intention—so that we truly respect and recognize that this is an occasion for grace and gratitude, shared between people of all circumstances and backgrounds. Rest assured: our work goes on, with generosity and support—even if you don’t see it.

We are always thankful, including this time of year, for our selfless and committed volunteers, and for our colleagues who sacrifice their time to share it with neighbors during the holidays. We are thankful, too, for all those in our communities who reach beyond themselves to welcome those in need, to provide kind assistance rooted in compassion, and to work every day to help make their days brighter.

We wish you, and all those we serve, a heartfelt, peace-filled, happy Thanksgiving.