Cathedral Under Siege
The media always seems to do a fine job of catching our attention with the headlines. This time, apparently Holy Rosary Cathedral is under siege. Well, it's not quite under siege, but this is actually quite a sad story.
An elderly parishoner was mugged by a panhandler as he was leaving Holy Rosary Cathedral, after he had already given the panhandler money (and had been giving him money on a regular basis for quite some time).
I went to Mass at the Cathedral earlier this week. I didn't get mugged, but there were indeed panhandlers around.
Rather than giving money to the panhandlers, I would encourage people to support those Catholic charities operating downtown who specifically work with the poor. There is Covenant House, which takes in youth off the street and provides them with a home, counseling, job skills, education, and tries to help them get back on their feet. There is the Door is Open which is a soup kitchen run by the Archdiocese. There is also the Catholic Charities Men's Shelter located in the same building as the chancery offices. Supporting this organizations you'll be sure that your financial resources support those most in need (and if it matters to you, you can also receive a tax-deductible receipt for your donations to these organizations).