This year marks the 110th anniversary of the founding of Catholic Charities, USA (CCUSA), and part of that celebration has a connection to the Diocese of Venice.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who is the Episcopal Advisor to CCUSA, will be celebrating a Mass which will be streamed live from Epiphany Cathedral in Venice at 3 p.m. Sept. 25, 2020. The Mass is not open to the public but can be viewed via either the Diocese of Venice or CCUSA Facebook pages.
Starting at 2:30 p.m., before the Mass, the live stream will begin with introductory videos from Adrian Dominican Sister Donna Markham, PhD, President and CEO of CCUSA, as well as Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of Caritas Internationalis, a global Catholic charity.
Sister Donna stated that for 110 years the people of Catholic Charities have reached out to their brothers and sisters in need, especially those who are poor or vulnerable or on the edges of society.
“This year has been particularly challenging in so many ways: the COVID-19 Pandemic, natural disasters, and the tragic killings of our brothers and sisters of color,” Sister Donna continued. “I am so proud of our Catholic Charities staff and volunteers across the country who have responded with faith and action; fulfilling our mission to honor the dignity of every person through loving service and helping all to receive their rights and privileges as members of our one human family.”
The motto of CCUSA is “Working to reduce poverty in America.” Their mission statement is “The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.”
Locally, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. has a history dating back to before the Diocese was founded. In 1968, Catholic leaders in Collier County started a social services program that eventually formed the basis for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., when the Diocese was founded in 1984.
Each year Catholic Charities offers three dozen different programs throughout the 10-county Diocese, including, food pantries, emergency financial support, assisting victims of human trafficking, a soup kitchen, homelessness prevention services, and much more.
Since the start of the pandemic, Catholic Charities has distributed more than one million pounds of food to more than 100,000 individuals at six different drive through food pantries. Another 10,000 have been helped through the hotline, tele-mental health services and financial assistance. That is a dramatic increase in services provided as Catholic Charities usually assists about 90,000 individuals is an entire year.