What does Catholic Charities do, anyway?

by Chad Prososki

Chad

Chad Prososki | Director of Development and Community Relations for Catholic Charities North Dakota

Before I joined Catholic Charities, I didn’t really know what it did either. I had maybe heard of people adopting through Catholic Charities, but that’s all I knew. I didn’t know about the AASK program, or Guardianships for adults with intellectual disabilities, or all the Counseling Services offered. I didn’t know that Catholic Charities provided numerous volunteers to sandbag during the flood in Fargo and over $1,000,000 in assistance to those affected in Minot.

My hope (and observation) is that the level of awareness is greatly improving through events such as Catholic Charities Sunday. However, there are still too many people in need who don’t know about us, and many others still waiting who are counting on us.

Matt Maher concert

We were blessed to be chosen by Bishop Folda to be one of two organizations featured at the Matt Maher concert along with Churches United for the Homeless. We each received half of the offering from generous concertgoers, and were able to share our message about helping those in need with over 1,800 attendees from different Christian faiths. By the time you read this we will also have presented our Fall Caritas Award to Mike and Shawn Hagstrom for inspiring youth to live out their faith through serving others; in May we recognized Joyce and Roger Sand for their work running a food pantry at Our Lady of Grace in Minot.

Catholic Charities Sunday

On Sept. 23-24, we will celebrate our third Catholic Charities Sunday here in North Dakota. The idea was new to us, but not an original idea. A number of dioceses in the United States celebrate a yearly Catholic Charities Sunday (or even a Catholic Charities Month!) to raise awareness and support with a second collection. Note Catholic Charities North Dakota and its counterparts elsewhere are blessed to have a close relationship with, and receive benefits and assistance from, the national Catholic Charities USA organization, but we remain independent as a separate nonprofit organization. The funds raised are used to support our programs locally.

Origin and history

We were formed through the Fargo diocese, parishes and members, and are a living expression of our faith in action and living out the Lord’s call to love our neighbors in the world today. For over 90 years Catholic Charities North Dakota has served members of all faiths with programs for children, families, individuals with intellectual disabilities, and others in need of hope and healing. Each year we serve over 2,000 people directly and touch the lives of countless more through education and outreach across the state of North Dakota.

Our North Dakotan Bishops have called Catholic Charities one of the best-kept secrets in the Church. This is great, except we shouldn’t be kept a secret! Often called “the Social Arm of the Church” we follow the Catholic Social Teachings as. Guided by our values, Catholic Charities North Dakota serves those in need and advocates for the common good of all. We do this by providing four primary programs, and other services such as disaster relief as needed.

Adults Adopting Special Kids

The AASK program is a collaboration between Catholic Charities North Dakota and Path ND, Inc. AASK finds permanent homes and stable families for children in foster care in the State of North Dakota child welfare system. Last year 158 kids found their forever family. Over 40 North Dakota kids are looking for a family to call their own. Every child deserves a family.

Pregnancy, parenting and adoption services

Our social workers meet with women and men experiencing an unintended pregnancy, offering them education and support including parenting resources and adoption information. Social workers also work with families interested in adoption, offering options to adopt within North Dakota, from out of state, and internationally. Last year 31 women experiencing unintended pregnancies were supported throughout their journey.

Counseling services

Our clinical therapists work with individuals, couples and families on relationship issues, stress, anger management, and anxiety or depression. Clients may receive as few or as many sessions as needed. Last year 337 clients had hope restored while struggling with life’s challenges. With your support, no one is turned away because they can’t pay.

Guardianship services

Our professional staff serve as court-appointed guardians for adults with intellectual disabilities to ensure they have an appropriate place to live, receive proper medical attention and obtain necessary support services. Last year 467 adults with intellectual disabilities received services to live their best life! However 103 adults with intellectual disabilities are still waiting to have their needs met.

They count on us, can we count on you?

This year during Catholic Charities Sunday, we are excited to share a new, shorter video with you introducing our staff who do such great work. We also created handouts you can take home and share with anyone who might be in need of our services. Our main message though, that we ask you to consider, is this: They count on us, can we count on you?

Chad Prososki is the Director of Development and Community Relations for Catholic Charities North Dakota. For more than 90 years, Catholic Charities North Dakota and its supporters have been putting their faith in action helping people, changing lives. You can reach Chad at info@catholiccharitiesnd.org or (701) 235-4457.