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Growing Catholic Charities Part II

Updated: Jun 4



The Diocese of Pueblo covers the southern half of Colorado, bordered by Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah and I-70.  Far beyond the community of Pueblo, Catholic Charities of Southern Colorado occupies a unique place in bringing together people of goodwill and all faiths in serving our neighbor.

 

This past March I was able to spend a day off-site with Catholic Charities case managers and make some home visits.  I was deeply touched by the way the case manager/mentors engaged in their visits, as well as the eager hospitality and joy of the families who received us.  Parents were ready to share progress, kids wanted to show us projects and toys.  I was able to brush up on my Spanish, I met pets—even a hamster!


"Far beyond the community of Pueblo, Catholic Charities of Southern Colorado occupies a unique place in bringing together people of goodwill and all faiths in serving our neighbor."

Parents in the HIPPY Program (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) were preparing preschoolers for kindergarten.  Parents in the SAFECARE program were learning prep skills for the arrival of newborns, making sure the home was safe, and establishing resources.  All this was being accompanied by case managers in the home, the place where learning is most meaningful and effective.


Although I wore civvies/blue jeans, I didn’t get away with anonymity.  I was recognized, and prayers and blessings were asked for and celebrated.  I was particularly touched by one of those visits.  It was a family with 5 boys, one with a serious medical condition.  We prayed over the child and blessed the family and home.  Their plight and resiliency brought me closer to God: I was working with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, strengthening families. 


"Their plight and resiliency brought me closer to God: I was working with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, strengthening families." 

Catholic Charities has grown to serve 2580 families now enrolled in 15 evidence-based programs, reaching 29 counties across southern Colorado.  The programs include Parents as Teachers and Fatherhood programs, developing healthy family communication and problem-solving skills, nurturing parenting-focused collaboration; teaching parents to budget expenses, live healthy, and save money.  The ReHire program builds confidence for those unable to find jobs, focusing on employment and job training.  There are programs to help immigrants through educational, parenting and citizenship classes.  Assistance is available in managing budgets, paying bills and expenses on behalf of those on Social Security SSI or SSDI.  There is more.


One week ago we celebrated the Espiritu breakfast at the Pueblo Convention Center.  Around 500 people gathered to cheer for the little ones graduating from the HIPPY Program, and to meet the new Executive Director, Joe Domko.  Joe already knows Pueblo and has warmly embraced his new mission, having exhaustive experience in social services and a deep desire to serve the poor.  My families, above, were there with their little HIPPY graduates.  Praise God, we are doing something that makes a difference!


"Catholic Charities has grown to serve 2580 families now enrolled in 15 evidence-based programs, reaching 29 counties across southern Colorado." 

Now I wish to invite you to our Catholic Charities benefit concert coming soon, Saturday, June 8: doors open at 5:30 pm, at Memorial Hall, Pueblo.  I will perform some classical selections which I have been practicing—I have degrees in piano performance and some stage experience—by some favorite composers.  We had a similar benefit last year and it proved entertainingly successful.  In this year of my 25th anniversary as a priest, and 10th anniversary as a bishop, I hope to see you there.


For tickets, visit ccsoco.org.  Free tickets will also be offered by churches and organizations, hoping for donations to support the work of Catholic Charities.  Thank you, see you soon, and may God bless the work of our hands! 

 

The Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg is the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo     



+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo





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