Jim and Judy Barrett

Jim and Judy Barrett

Three Core Principles for Giving

Through the years, my late husband Jim and I faced the dilemma of many donors: how to sort through the plethora of donation requests that flood the mailbox. We wanted to give with our heads as well as with our hearts to organizations where our hard-earned dollars would go to work for our intended purposes. We fine-tuned our charitable giving priorities, and arrived at three core principles for giving: support for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, authentic Catholic education, and the poorest of the poor.

Those who knew Jim were often amused by his figures of speech. With regard to charitable contributions, he liked giving “where we get a lot of bang for our buck.” Translated, that means giving where donations provide both maximum benefit and maximum multiplier effect.

One of Jim’s older brothers, Fr. Vincent Barrett (deceased), was a diocesan priest, and through him we became intimately aware of the vast influence one priest has during his lifetime. Just stop and think about the priests you know – the sacraments administered, the homilies preached, the sick and dying consoled, the families counseled and aided...how many lives are touched, how many souls are saved. Likewise, outstanding men and women religious who support the universal Church through service, prayer and contemplation are shining beacons in a world sorely in need of hope!

Our eyes were opened about the great need for authentic Catholic higher education when our alma mater, a Catholic law school, invited graduation speakers and gave honors to individuals who were notoriously at odds with Church teaching. That clinched our decision to support only institutions that were faithful to the Magisterium.

With regard to caring for the poor, that is a universal mandate from our Lord. We must provide for material and spiritual needs, and we’re all called to do what we can in our own spheres of influence. But let’s face it – priests, religious and dedicated lay men and women working for Church-related organizations typically are “our hands” at work among the poorest of the poor.

Santa Croce fulfills the charitable goals Jim and I established in a very unique way. We know that our donations will provide priests and religious for the Church throughout the world for many years to come. Santa Croce will send into the world men and women grounded in the universal truths of our Catholic faith to teach in schools, universities, seminaries and religious education programs, and who will provide Christ-centered leadership in business, communications and nonprofit organizations. A visit to the campus in Rome in 2012 confirmed our commitment. My fond hope is a return visit, to stand on that rooftop terrace overlooking the Eternal City.

As Jim would say, you get “a lot of bang for your buck” by supporting The Pontifcal University of the Holy Cross Foundation.