No one, not even one who is affluent, is unaffected by the current economic downturn. It continues to threaten jobs and the economic security of millions of families in America. Thankfully, some tantalizing glimpses of light are beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel, even though experts are unsure when the economic picture will brighten. Most people reading this newspaper would agree that times may be tough but, in most cases, they could be a lot worse.

Which brings us to the front cover of this week’s Catholic Standard & Times. A poster confronts the reader with a stark scene: an aged man, head bowed, begging. Look closely and you will notice his hat is tattered and open at the top. Is that merely ragged stitching that holds his sock together, or is it a dangerous growth protruding from his ankle? Nevertheless, this man has only one shoe.

If you passed by him on a street – assuming you travel a street where such a man may be found – would you acknowledge him? Would you buy him a hat to keep off the rain, or find medical care to treat that ankle? Would you do it for him, as you would do it for our Lord?

This weekend is your chance, as it is for the many thousands of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This Sunday is Catholic Charities Sunday, in which Catholics are asked to contribute to the annual Catholic Charities Appeal. Now in its 51st year, the appeal allows Catholics to respond to the problem of homelessness and other human needs that the appeal addresses in ways that far exceed what we as inspaniduals can do.

The appeal allows us to meet the real and often acute needs of homeless people, developmentally delayed people, children in foster care, people with disabilities, needy families in every community in the Archdiocese and the many other social service and family support programs listed on the back of this issue.

The 2009 Catholic Charities Appeal has the theme Who Cares, with the purposely vague lack of a question mark. Who cares? We care, we Catholics and all people of good will in this Archdiocese who support the annual charitable works of the Archdiocese through the appeal.

Who cares for the needy among us? We care because we cannot ignore the homeless man or any person in need, even if they are represented on a poster.