What does it mean to be a Christian? Although answers vary, many Christians, including Lakewood’s Patrick Swindale, will mention the importance of spreading God’s love and goodwill through compassion and charity. In addition to the countless acts of kindness individuals share with one another every day, organizations like Catholic Charities also play a pivotal role in communities around the world.
Like most religious charity organizations, Catholic Charities is a non-profit based on faith principles and doing God’s work on earth. It is a national network comprised of thousands of volunteers like Patrick Swindale operating in hundreds of cities in the U.S. It is part of Caritas Internationalis, an international federation of Catholic charity organizations.
“At Catholic Charities we help people, regardless of their faith, who are struggling with poverty and other complex issues,” says the organization website.
Catholic Charities assists in areas including disaster relief, immigrant and refugee services, affordable housing, integrated health, food and nutrition, social enterprise initiatives, advocacy and social policy initiatives, foundational services, and leadership development and Catholic identity, according to the website.
In Washington state, Patrick Swindale notes the organization has hands in a variety of social services endeavors. This includes providing temporary and semi-permanent housing for houseless individuals, food banks and soup kitchens for the hungry, healthcare for those who cannot afford medicine or medical services, and immigrant and refugee relocation and integration assistance.
In addition to his work with Catholic Charities throughout the years, Patrick Swindale is also an Eagle Scout and has participated in the St. John Bosco Youth Group and Knights of Columbus. A dedicated Christian, Patrick Swindale also lectures at his church and cares for his autistic younger sibling while working and going to college. Despite his busy schedule, Patrick Swindale says volunteering does not consume his time, but rather, it adds to his life. Giving selflessly to others, Patrick Swindale said, is a fulfilling experience like no other and the best way to represent and exemplify the Christian faith.
Quoting Corinthians 9:6-8, he said, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”