In its commitment to integral human development, Cross Catholic Outreach focuses on addressing ALL of the needs of the human person: material, physical, psychological, social and spiritual. It is only through such an integrated approach that a person can experience true change and growth in their life and witness the transformative nature of Christ’s love. The Catholic Church has always taken this approach to ministry, but recently has given it even greater emphasis.
One of the programs Cross Catholic Outreach developed as part of its commitment to integral human development is called Box of Joy. It was established in 2014 to demonstrate Christ’s love to needy boys and girls in developing countries. In the years since it was launched, the outreach has been an incredible blessing to hundreds of thousands of children — many of whom had never received a Christmas gift before.
Cross Catholic Outreach has developed strong relationships with many Catholic groups such as the Knights of Columbus, along with their ladies auxiliaries, and the National Council of Catholic Women. These groups have increased their participation each year to bless more and more children in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua.
For example, the Maryland State Council of the Knights of Columbus has participated in Box of Joy for the past four years and has adopted the ministry as one of its signature faith-in-action projects again in 2022. To date, that council alone has blessed more than 7,000 children with a Box of Joy. Former state deputies Steve Cohen and Dale Trott, along with their wives, even traveled to Guatemala with Cross Catholic on a mission trip to distribute gifts and witness the children’s joy firsthand.
In our most recent Box of Joy season, the Knights packed 4,413 gift boxes — an accomplishment that would not have been possible without Maryland Box of Joy Chairman Alex Lopez-Bueno. Each year, Lopez-Bueno’s entire family packs boxes, and his two young daughters lead efforts to engage their classmates in the outreach. This family’s participation is a prime example of sacrificial service that not only transforms the lives of children receiving the gifts, but also the lives of the Knights who take part in this outreach.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco serves on our board of directors and recently shared his support for this amazing Catholic ministry. “The Box of Joy ministry from Cross Catholic Outreach is an opportunity for Catholics to unite in love with children in poverty by providing them with Christmas gifts,” he said. “I encourage Catholics to participate in Box of Joy and help bring the good news of God’s love to children in poverty.”
Undaunted by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, faithful Catholics have continued to support this wonderful ministry. In the 2021 season, more than 106,000 children received a Box of Joy! Register your group here to participate in the 2022 Box of Joy season.
Box of Joy is a ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach.