Giving a helping hand

February 12, 2013

HOUSTON — On Feb. 16 the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart parish will hold its second annual Caritas Day.

It began in 2012 as a family day of service where parents of Continuing Catholic Education (CCE) offices introduced their children to Christian charity projects. Due to an overwhelming response, the first Caritas Day grew into a parish-wide event with more than 200 participants giving 600 hours of service to 18 different agencies.

Originally, the idea of having parishioners of all ages giving a day of service was inspired by Mitzvah Day, an annual project organized by Jewish synagogues where congregants perform mitzvot, Hebrew for “commandments” or “good deeds.” 

The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart’s director of religious education, Teresa Albright, said she hoped to implement a similar program in the Catholic community. 

From the Christian tradition caritas is Latin for “loving kindness,” as in God’s love for us and the love for neighbors. It is also the subject of Pope Benedict’s 2009 encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate.” 

Motivated by the Jewish tradition of performing mitzvot, encouraged by the pope’s encyclical and being guided by the Corporal Works of Mercy, the CCE program and the new parish social ministry sought to bring the love of Christ to neighbors by serving social ministry agencies throughout Houston.

On Feb. 16 Caritas volunteers, young and old, married and single and representing the English-speaking, Vietnamese and Hispanic communities will reach out to others need in one day. Committed to the values of caritas (the dignity of the human person, solidarity with the poor and good stewardship), more than 400 parishioners will give their time to 28 agencies and organizations.

For more information visit where you can also find a list of donations needed to help the Co-Cathedral help others. For questions, contact Wendy Garaghty, Caritas Day Chair, at