Catholic Child Sponsorship Program Set to Grow Throughout United States
Hi, I’m Fr. Pat Cosgrove, president of CHALICE. For over twenty years I have led a committed team of people in a very particular kind of missionary work; that of missionary support. As a young man, while studying to become a priest, I dreamed of working for and with the poor, especially in the missions. While studying in the seminary I volunteered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Halifax, Nova Scotia, visiting homes and working at “Hope Cottage”, which is a small downtown house from where volunteers provide meals for those on the street. While at the seminary I also had my first experience serving in a prison, and for the first fifteen years of my priesthood I visited and served as a part-time chaplain in various county jails and a federal prison.
Shortly after my ordination I asked the archbishop of our diocese if I could serve in a poor parish in Peru where the diocese had, in previous years, sent priests to serve. However, the shortage of priests had caught up with the diocese. Yet the bishop did not say no, rather he said, “Well, maybe when you are forty.” The words were prophetic for it was when I was forty that I began sponsoring children in support of missionaries who were working among the poor in countries of the south.
Over time we developed a simple mission statement that captured what we wanted to do. “Bring Christ to the Poor and the Poor to Christ.” The mission statement reveals two hands. With one hand, in supporting and working with Catholic missionaries we would bring Christ’s compassion and mercy to those living in financial poverty. With the other hand, we would bring those living in such poverty to the living Christ, that is, His church.
We would be like the friends of the paralyzed man in Scripture who lowered him through the roof so Jesus would see his plight. (Luke 5:18-25) They believed that if only Jesus just saw him, he would help. They were right! And for over twenty years, when we have brought those paralyzed with poverty to the awareness of the church, the Body of Christ has always responded with the same loving kindness.
To some, the man’s friends appeared to be desperate and perhaps even extreme. In reality their action was simply that of true friends. As Fr. Richard LoBianco assumes his role as our new National Director, he is as determined and as committed as those friends. If I were the paralyzed man today, I would want Fr. Rich to be the one bringing me to the Christ for he is not one easily stopped or thwarted in his efforts. He is a man who “climbs roof tops” to help those in need.
— Fr. Pat Cosgrove, President, Chalice