Saturday, May 30, 2009

Closing of the Catholic Multicultural Center

The abrupt closing of the Catholic Center is a severe blow to our community during a time when more people need financial, social, and moral support.

As a business owner and elected official, I am mindful of painful financial realities and decisions. I presume that Bishop Morlino and the leadership of the diocese felt compelled to act out of financial necessity. I trust they wanted to prevent a painful, public process. If this were an ordinary organization, we could and would painfully accept the decision.

But the Catholic Multicultural Center is more than a brick and mortar organization. It is more than an agency delivering services. It is a charitable mission based in the faith of helping others in need. When growing up with my grandmother in Germany, it was the Catholic Church that provided kindergarten, youth programs, and senior services. While I grew up in poverty, my parish never made me feel poor.

To me, the manner in which the closing of the Center occurred reflects a deeper crisis of belief in our ability of coming together during moments of difficulties. It sadly reflects a (momentary) lack of faith.

What would have happened had Bishop Morlino engaged the larger community in a dialogue about the financial dilemma of the Center?

What would have happened had there been placed more faith in people like Tim Huegerich to come together to lend a hand?

What would have happened had the diocese sought help from our community to find alternatives?

As long as we perceive the act of giving as a one-way street, we cannot appreciate the equally important act of receiving. When we learn to ask for help, we strengthen our faith and action in making our community whole, regardless of religious persuasion. It was the diocese’s turn to have faith in receiving help from our community.

In our trials and struggles lies the seed for change and hope. It is not too late for the Bishop and the diocese to embrace the emerging political and community support, and to allow through conversation, deeds, and faith to find a better future for the Center. Caritas in Veritate.