75 years later, Catholic Charities ministry continues

By Duane Dedelow
Executive Director, Catholic Charities


Duane Dedelow Catholic CharitiesCatholic Charities concluded their 75th anniversary celebration on November 18 with a Mass at St Thomas More in Munster. This beautiful liturgy was concelebrated by Bishop Dale J. Melczek as the main celebrant, along with Monsignor Joseph Semancik, who was the past executive director of our agency for 36 productive years.
To mark this special occasion, local Knights of Columbus provided the honor guard. Advisory board members, staff and the many friends and supporters of Catholic Charities filled the pews to give thanks to God as we marked this landmark occasion.
I would like to give a special thanks to Father Mike Yadron and the people of St. Thomas More, along with Deacons Joseph Stodola, Napoleon Tabion, and the people and staff of St. Thomas More for generously opening up their parish for this joyous event.
As part of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, Monsignor W. Edward Sweigart organized what was then called the Catholic Social Bureau. In 1957, Bishop Andrew G. Grutka was installed as the first bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Gary and Monsignor Sweigart's work continued, reaching out, in the name of Christ, to our brothers and sisters in need.
Catholic Charities sees all parishes in our diocese as partners and we thank them all for the
generous support they have given us through the years. We look forward to continue working with them in the future and we hope we can be a resource in meeting the needs of their parishioners.
Our current economic climate brings many of the same problems we've seen over the last 75 years but also presents new challenges. To this end, I will be sending out a brief survey to our parishes after the first of the year to better understand their needs and how Catholic Charities can be of assistance.
Read our mission statement below. The human needs it references continue to grow in our diocese. In October, our Gary office alone had the following number of requests for help: rent/ mortgage assistance -
148; security deposit assistance – 60; utility/utility deposit assistance -115; and miscellaneous assistance - 75.
This represents the varied and numerous needs at only one of our six office locations. Without the support of our communities, we would not be able to touch the lives of so many people and we are thankful. Because of the generosity of so many, we continue to fulfill our mission. I personally am very grateful for the opportunity to be part of a ministry that allows me to live out my faith on a daily basis
through the mission of Catholic Charities. It has given me a new appreciation of what I have been given by God, and a better understanding of the saying: "But before the grace of God go I."
As we enter this holy season of Christmas, and may the peace and hope of Christ be with you and your families. Merry Christmas!

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