Partner Profile: Patrick Cashio

 

Since we’ve launched the company I’ve wanted to focus a bit more on our partners. Knots may be good at designing slick neckties but we are truly inspired by our partners, those who dedicate their lives to the service of others. Patrick Cashio is a true super hero who practices what he preaches with impressive consistency. He proudly calls Camden his home, and resides there with his wife and three children.  An example to the community and a role model to his children, he and his wife Catherine spend much of their time trying to teach their children to share, which he believes to be the first step to loving one’s neighbor.  He jokingly admits how hard this can be at times.  Pat runs a very democratic household… For example they have no pets, but he is currently considering submitted proposals for dragons, otters, and even Spiderman to be considered future family members. I am proud to present Patrick’s experiences with The Joseph Fund in his own words:

“As the Executive Director of the Romero Center, one of the six ministries of the Joseph Fund, I can say with confidence that the human person is at the heart of the Joseph Fund’s mission.  That sounds like a rather simple objective, right? Just make each human person better! However, as we all know it is not really that easy. And knowing how difficult it is to change even one person, consider how dramatic a movement you would need to change an entire city! It’s easy to feel hopeless when considering the scope of such a task. Yet, I believe that if we love others deeply enough, they may see their own goodness and envision themselves as a better person in a better condition. And if you can change one person’s life through love, can’t that one person spread the love and in turn effect even more?

At the Joseph Fund and Romero Center Ministries, we are trying to accomplish just that. We spend our time helping people answer two questions, “Who is my neighbor?” and, “How am I able to use who and what I am to help them?”  One of the ways in which we do this is through a service learning retreat we call the Urban Challenge.  The retreat welcomes students into an experience of service, relationships, and faith.  Ultimately what we are trying to accomplish is a long-term goal, and the impact of our Urban Challenge isn’t always known right away.  However, sometimes the best metric of our success is found in the words of the retreat’s participants. I’m happy to share some of these perspectives with you.

From a student:

‘We could not change Camden, but instead have allowed Camden to change us. It taught us to be aware of and bothered by inequality, injustice, and poverty, so deeply that we must become the change we have learned to want.  In our nightly reflections we spoke of how we were changing each day, and I can personally tell you that this trip has changed my life. I have not felt a happiness so real as when I was in Camden, and I wanted it so fully in my life that I altered my career path and decided to double my English major with theology, so I can better devote my life to my brothers and sisters.’

From two brothers:

‘Thank you so much for doing so much for us, with us, and with the community of Camden.  We found this Urban Challenge to be a wonderful experience, one that we believe more people should go on.  It inspired us to look for service opportunities when deciding upon college, and to hopefully enter into the Engineers/Nurses without Borders program, so that we can continue the ministry of service, and presence in the world.’ 

From a participating priest:

‘This experience renewed my commitment to the importance of service, my personal commitment to justice, and my need to keep close to God, be open and be attentive.’

As you can see, the Joseph Fund and Romero Center Ministries is extremely effective at transforming individual hearts and lives. It is our sincere hope that such an impact will grow exponentially and ultimately improve the condition of Camden as well as the world. Ultimately, we want people to participate in the short retreat in Camden but commit the rest of their lives to helping “the least among us.”

This expression is taken from Matthew 25: 31-46, the apostle’s depiction of Jesus’ final judgment. Pause and think about what He is really saying.  It is the end of time. Everything is over and every moment has been spent. There is no more time.  Everyone is asked what they were doing for the least among them: the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoner, the sick.  Jesus asks this question because he is looking for us.  And our commitment to the marginalized or “least among us” serves as a beacon of our faith and helps Him find us. It is through service, relationships, and love that we will in turn find that Jesus is truly present.  We are all invited to love our neighbor and in doing so we’ll find that we are loved as well. This passage is not about being judged. It is about being invited to love our neighbor. The Joseph Fund was exists to implement this love in Camden, NJ. We hope that it’s impact can be exponential.

The human person is what drives us to press our work further.  Whether sheltering the homeless at Joseph’s House, nurturing family life through The Carpenter Society, or giving highschoolers a chance to beat the statistics with LUCY, all the organizations of The Joseph Fund are helping human people find themselves and each other through genuine love and service.”

 
Brian Bozzo