The Impact of Catholic Charities
St. Joseph College Seminary is blessed to be in the City of Chicago, where we connect with people of different cultural and economic backgrounds. Through pastoral outreach, we constantly strive to foster a sense of human dignity for all of God’s people by giving back, from what we have received, to those less fortunate. Recently, we were blessed to have Rev. Monsignor Michael M. Boland, Administrator, President & CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago as a guest speaker. He spoke strongly and passionately to our seminarians, sharing with them life lessons about the importance of community and how to create stronger ties through God and Catholic Charities.
Msgr. Boland emphasized that it isn’t enough to just “wait for people to walk through the door”, but rather to be proactive in ministry and charity; to keep your eyes peeled for those who need assistance and offer it to them. “It’s important to seek out the poor and the desperate and reach out to them. It’s the most important part of Catholic Charities -- to walk with them and journey with them, not wait for them to ask for help.”
Catholic Charities does not exist to convert. Rather, its purpose is to serve those who cannot serve themselves -- to clothe, feed and to empower people. We do this by helping them “get on their feet” and, in a sense, teach them to walk again with confidence. We strive to treat people with dignity while helping them in the long-term or the short. Nobody wants to be dependent on a food bank to live. That’s why Catholic Charities is dedicated not only to feeding and clothing people, but also to helping them find employment, housing and even offer them counseling and therapy.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago has grown immensely over the years. Today, the Chicago area is host to the largest charity base in the US with over 15,000 volunteers, around 2,000 employees, and 166 Catholic field hospitals. They serve 1.3 million people every year, provide 25,000 struggling seniors with home care (meals, housekeeping, and residence). Plus, they serve 600,000 meals to community children during the summer months while they’re out of school.
Msgr. Boland stressed above all else to listen to what God is calling you to do. Discerning your vocation while in seminary is important, but the end goal is to serve God by helping those less fortunate to get back on their feet and live meaningful lives with dignity. We thank Msgr. Boland for taking the time to speak to us and shedding some light on what it truly means to be a man of God.