Bishop blesses Catholic Charities' bus in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY -The new bus for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri is ready to serve.

Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City Diocese blessed the new bus Wednesday with a prayer and a christening. 

He said the blessing ceremony signifies the sacramental meaning behind what Catholics do with their charitable works.

"Blessings and devotions and images and concrete things speak to us of the life of grace and so hopefully with a vehicle like this for such a charitable purpose," McKnight said. "It reminds us of the connection of our faith that what is being done. With this bus and the charitable works that are done in and through it is related to our belief and our relationship with God."

The Jefferson City Diocese covers 38 counties. Catholic Charities board president Linda McAnany said having a bus is a way to connect with people in need who may not have transportation to seek services.

She said it was inspirational to see so many representatives of the diocese present at the blessing ceremony for the bus.
"I think the world is open now for the opportunities now that we have this vehicle. I think there are no limitations as to what we can accomplish with helping people and that's our mission, is to help people," Mcanany said. "It's not only the mission of Catholic Charities, it's the mission of every Catholic."
Catholic Charities executive director Dan Lester said they will be partnering with other local agencies in the towns they travel to.    

"We're really looking to partner with those places to just be a force multiplier and extend everybody's resources a little farther than what they already do," he said.

Catholic Charities said it gets a lot of requests for personal hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and feminine hygiene products.

"Those are things that a lot of us sort of take for granted but if you had to go out and buy all that stuff you realize 'gosh, $25, $30, $35, $45 of my groceries bill was just spent on these items that I need for personal care' and what often times ends up happening is with folks who are resource strapped they have to make a choice, 'do I buy more food or do I get the shampoo or toothpaste I need?'" Lester said.

The Jefferson City Diocese usually does community work on the first Saturday of the month. There is no set schedule for the bus, but Catholic Charities said it is looking forward to making an impact on the communities

"This is a very concrete way to manifest that desire of Pope Francis to fulfill our call as a missionary church, to bring the love and the generosity of the people of god out to the people in need," McKnight said.

McAnany said Catholic Charities is always looking for donations in their office to give to people in need. 

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