By David C. Aguillard, CCDBR Executive Director
April 27, 2012
Thirty-three percent vs -0.44 percent.  These numbers have nothing to do with the CATS election last week.  These numbers have everything to do with the CATS election.  They are the rate of growth of the Catholic Church in Africa (where it is growing faster than any place else) and decline for the Church in the U.S.  
When I visited Africa with Catholic Relief Services last year (Africa Pics & Travel Blog), I was envious.  I saw a Church deeply intertwined in transforming its communities.  It works across political boundaries with people of all faiths -- Muslims, other Christians, and traditional religions.    It teaches farming techniques, builds schools … and more.  The Church in Africa is challenging political, social and economic institutions to change.  It is helping to secure the rights of women and greater participation of all in economic and political processes.

Hammond, LA (April 25, 2012) -- In 2011, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge returned wages, goods and services valued at almost $675,000 to the people of Tangipahoa, according to a recent report released by the agency. 
“Every dollar dedicated by the agency to Tangipahoa resulted in $3 of benefit to residents of our parish,” said Stephanie Schulte, CCDBR Tangipahoa Advisory Committee Chair. “That’s an amazing return on investment!”   $223,000 spent delivered benefits in areas such as:
$242,000 of wages
$50,000 of savings in mental health services
$276,000 VISTA generated volunteer hours and services.

Since taking a stand in support of the transit reform proposal on the April 21 ballot, we at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) have been asked repeatedly: Why? To many, it seems out of character for our agency -- which is known for its acts of charity and service to the poor -- to take a stand on a public policy issue, especially one involving a tax. 

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