Social ministries, Colorado Catholic Conference aided by ACA
By Julie Filby, email@example.com
ARCHBISHOP'S 2012 CATHOLIC APPEAL
Funds raised by the annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal (ACA) allow the archdiocesan Church to reach out to help meet the material, as well as the spiritual, needs of people in northern Colorado.
One organization impacted by the appeal is Regina Caeli Clinical Services (RCCS), a comprehensive, psychological service ministry of Catholic Charities. Its doors opened last August at Charities’ main office at 4045 Pecos St. in Denver.
“After eight months of operation, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of clients who desire counseling services consistent with the holy Catholic Church,” according to director Kathryn Benes, Ph.D.
Regina Caeli provides individual, marital, child/adolescent, and family therapy—as well as academic, personality and vocational assessment. Clients come from all walks of life, faith backgrounds and economic means.
“We believe each person who comes to RCCS is sent by God,” Benes said. “Therefore they are treated in accordance with who they are: a child of God.”
While Regina Caeli has a fee structure consistent with other mental-health providers in the Denver area, many clients receive reduced fees, making the ACA “very beneficial to providing Catholic community-based services to those who could not otherwise afford them,” she said.
Regina Caeli is also developing a network of Project Rachel-trained clergy, therapists and lay people to bring post-abortive healing to individuals harmed by abortion. Later this year, they plan to initiate a 24-hour Project Rachel hotline.
According to Jonathan Reyes, president and CEO of Catholic Charities, the ACA makes ministries, such as Regina Caeli, realties.
“ACA is a way of ‘filling the gap’ from funding we receive from other sources” he explained.
Each year Catholic Charities has a fundraising drive separate from the ACA.
“The need is massive,” he said. “And the funding is limited when it comes to sustaining the homeless ministry, particularly single mothers and children, and serving people at the shelters.”
Catholic Charities, one of Colorado’s leading private nonprofit social ministry providers, serves thousands annually through homeless shelters, emergency assistance, immigration legal assistance, adoption and foster care, senior services and youth programs.
Another ministry funded by the ACA that speaks for those who don’t always have a voice is the Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC).
Colorado Catholic Conference is the public policy organization that serves the dioceses of Denver, Pueblo and Colorado Springs. They work with other religious and secular groups to promote the common good in the areas of education, health, housing, life issues and basic needs.
“CCC serves the Church by being a voice for those who don’t always have a voice in the political process,” said director Jenny Kraska. “The Church has always, and will always, be attacked for the views it holds; and it’s the job of the CCC to make those views known in the public square even in the face of attacks.”
Kraska, who spends a large part of her day working at the State Capitol when the legislature is in session, encouraged the faithful to get involved.
“Catholics have a right and a duty to be involved in the political process,” she said. “If Catholics don’t get involved then other people, other view points, will.
“And those voices and opinions will usurp our views and positions.”
She said the easiest way to get involved is to vote.
“It’s also important to know about the issues,” Kraska said, “and to let legislators know your views.”
Catholics can track issues important to the Church by signing up for the CCC’s Legislative Network at their website, www.cocatholicconference.org.
With funding from all three dioceses, including ACA funds, the Colorado Catholic Conference can continue to work to make sure the voice of the Church is strong and clear, she said.
In addition to these two ministries, money raised through the ACA supports some 40 archdiocesan ministries. The goal of this year’s appeal is $8.7 million. Parishioners can pledge online at www.archden.org/donate, by completing a commitment card at Mass, or by returning the pledge card that arrived in the mail.