Have you ever wondered what makes Catholic Charities different from other helping agencies? How does our Catholic identity affect the work that we do?
Dr. Frank Moncher, Managing Director of Catholic Integration and Training, answers some of our most asked questions about what it means for Catholic Charities to be truly “Catholic” in our work to serve the poor.
Being “Catholic” can mean different things to different people. What does it mean for Catholic Charities?
A few things:
1. First, being Catholic means that we see our relationship with Christ as the source of our charity and that we follow the Catholic Church’s Magisterial teachings (that is, we accept the Roman Catholic Church’s official teachings).
2. We serve under the prayerful leadership and direction of our Bishop.
3. It also means we are dedicated to serving the poor and providing the Corporal Works of Mercy: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to welcome the stranger, to care for the sick.
4. All of our work is approached prayerfully: meetings, encounters with those seeking services, strategic planning.
What makes Catholic Charities different from other helping agencies?
Because we are defined by and motivated through our Catholic Identity, we take seriously Christ’s call to Treat all Persons with Dignity from the beginning until the end of life.
OK, but what does “Dignity” really mean?
First, Catholic Charities’ staff and volunteers treat clients, co-workers, volunteers, and supporters with respect and graciousness in the way we talk with one another, strive to understand needs, discuss differences, and offer services.
Second, we believe that each person is made in the image and likeness of God and has a unique place or role in the world, a vocation, and we desire to assist a person in discovering and actualizing this.
At the same time, respect for dignity demands that each person is free & responsible for themselves and giving to others.
Do you help or serve only Catholics?
No. Our Mission is to serve all in need, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. Catholic Charities extends our prayers, its services and resources to those among us who are in greatest material, emotional, or physical need, whether or not the person is Catholic.
If I come for help, will you impose your beliefs on me?
No, showing respect includes not trying to change your religious beliefs or world view.
However, we also wish our Catholic beliefs and values to be respected by others, which at times results in our inability to meet certain requests.
What requests can you not fulfill?
Because of our belief in the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death, we do not provide nor refer services such as abortion, contraception or euthanasia; for those who wish to explore alternatives, we are available to discuss compassionate options that are respectful of the persons involved.
It is also important to note that we only accept grants that do not conflict with our beliefs.
How can I be a part of working with Catholic Charities to help the poor?
Catholic Charities has many opportunities for people to volunteer and contribute to accomplishing it its mission. Our work is made possible by your support and prayers, as well as that of our diocesan parishes and schools, foundations, grants and other community partners.