September 23, 2014 (Louisville, Ky.) On Sunday, September 28, at 9:30 a.m., the Archdiocese of Louisville will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Catholic Charities with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Kurtz at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. 5th Street. The Mass will be followed by a reception in the Cathedral Undercroft.
According to Archbishop Kurtz: “As a former Catholic Charities director in Pennsylvania, I appreciate the work of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Louisville, and I thank God for the deep legacy of compassion and service that has served our local Church and the broader community for these 75 years. Through its efforts to respond to the call of the Gospel by bringing dignity and respect to all people and by advocating for justice and peace, Catholic Charities is wonderful example of Church ministry at its best. I thank Steve Bogus and the staff for all they do to bring Christ to others.”
Established in 1939, Catholic Charities of Louisville’s original purpose was to coordinate and plan the charitable work of professionals and volunteers within the Archdiocese, as well as to act as link between Catholic social work and other community organizations.
“In the beginning, services centered on the child welfare institutions that pre-date the agency,” said Steve Bogus, Catholic Charities Executive Director. “These were St. Vincent Home for Girls, St. Thomas Home for Boys and Our Lady’s Home for Infants. Children were accepted and services rendered to parents of all races and religions.”
As the state has taken a more active role in child welfare since then, this work has evolved into its Pregnancy and Adoption Services and Mother-Infant Care programs of today.
During the past seventy-five years, as society’s needs changed, so did Catholic Charities. Today, 100 staff members working in more than a dozen programs provide an array of services to thousands of people each year.
The Sister Visitor Center began in 1969 as an outreach program to address the needs of individuals living in the Portland area of Louisville.
Although the agency had been resettling refugees since World War II, Migration and Refugee Services did not officially form until 1975. This was in response to the large influx of refugees from Southeast Asia after the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
In 1992, both the Kentucky Office of Refugees and Immigration Legal Services were established. The Kentucky Office of Refugees assumed the responsibility of disbursement and oversight of federal funds from the state, and Immigration Legal Services provides support and legal assistance to those seeking citizenship.
The mid- and-late nineties brought three current programs. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for residents in long-term care facilities. Seventy languages are represented by its Interpreter and Translation Services.
Also since that time, in partnership with other community agencies, Catholic Charites has developed more than 230 units of low-cost senior housing by adaptively reusing vacant parish structures, usually former Catholic grade schools. Its eighth project, Most Blessed Sacrament Senior Apartments, opened earlier this month.
Additional programs that have been created include Senior Social Services, Criminal Justice Ministry, and Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking.
All of these services are provided without respect to religion, but Catholic values, teachings, and traditions provide the foundation for the work of Catholic Charities. In addition, Catholic Charities of Louisville works with parishes to assess the needs of the community to direct and implement solutions. This work includes education and outreach, INSIGHTS, a poverty immersion program, promoting the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and the Legislative Advocacy Network.
“From its predecessors to the present day, Catholic Charities has readily served the needs of the Archdiocese,” said Bogus. “We strive to perform at the highest quality of professional expertise in serving the community as well as to make parishes vital centers, develop leaders for social ministry, and work diligently for social justice.”
To learn more about Catholic Charities, visit here.
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Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc., a member of Catholic Charities USA and an apostolate in the Archdiocese of Louisville provides services for people in need, advocates for justice in social structures, and call the entire Church and others of goodwill to do the same.