By Sarah Simpson | Manager, Donor Relations and Communications, Catholic Charities of St. Louis
There is no greater tragedy than the loss of a child. The entire nation watched as our community mourned the death of Jamyla Bolden, shot in her home in Ferguson while doing her homework. In an instant, Jamyla was our daughter, our sister, our neighbor. Jamyla was another life ended too soon by a random act of violence, and a reminder to cherish every moment with the ones we love.
Out of tragedy, empathy is born. We hear a story on the news and our hearts break in compassion for the people who that tragedy affects. What comes next? What can we do to help? Our faith calls us to ask these questions to best serve our neighbor, to live out the vision Pope Francis shared during his visit to the United States:
Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another.
Catholic Charities had the privilege to answer that call this Tuesday. In partnership with St. Francis Community Services, we were able to give a donated car to the family of Jamyla Bolden. Monsignor Jack Schuler, Director of Mission Integration at Catholic Charities, and leader of Incarnate Word parish, blessed the vehicle and handed the keys over to Jamyla’s family.
While no amount of support can change the tragedy that occurred for this family; we are grateful that we were able help in some small way asthey continue on the path to healing. The more than 122,000 people impacted each year by Catholic Charities all come to us in crisis. It may be the grief of losing someone deeply loved, the fear of losing one’s home or job, or the pain of struggling with addiction or illness. The mission of Catholic Charities is to serve people in need, especially those who are poor and vulnerable, and in that service we are called to forgive, comfort, and heal.
The exchange between Catholic Charities and Jamyla’s family was not one between service agency and client, but rather one between neighbors. St. Francis Community Services, an integral part of facilitating this donation, knows exactly what it is like to live and work within communities to make a difference. St. Francis practices the teachings, compassion and love of Jesus Christ, by serving individuals and families in need through community-based, culturally sensitive programs, and by helping people to recognize their strengths, overcome obstacles and achieve a better tomorrow. The St. Francis team mobilized immediately when they learned that Jamyla’s family needed a vehicle. Both St. Francis and Catholic Charities are known in the community for their swift responses to crises, and those that know Jamyla’s family knew how to get the help they needed through our organizations.
Each day, we pray for peace, for protection for our family, friends, and neighbors. And each day, the staff of Catholic Charities and St. Francis Community Services prepares to answer the knock at our door, the call of God, to stand in solidarity with those in crisis, and in service to those in need.