Woman shares how ministry helped her
DUBUQUE — Catholic Charities’ servicesare personal and confidential, andare provided to anyone in need regardless of faith, background or ability to pay. Serving 30 counties in northeast Iowa, the programs of Catholic Charities include Mental Health Counseling, Affordable Housing, Jail & Prison Ministry, Refugee Resettlement, Immigration Legal Services, Post Adoption Search and Disaster Services. To learn more about Catholic Charities’ services and to hear personal stories of their programs’ impact, please view the video at www.CatholicCharitiesDubuque.org.
Catholic Charities Annual Appeal, which funds over one-third of their operating budget each year, will take place this weekend, Feb. 11. You may have received a mailer at home or you may see an insert in your church bulletin; please keep an eye out for it. You may also give online at www.CatholicCharities Dubuque.org or mail a gift to P.O. Box 1309, Dubuque, IA 52004. Catholic Charities’ continued success is dependent on the financial support and prayers from each of you.
“We thank you for your past support; please join us in sharing Christ’s love with your prayers, gifts or service,” said Tracy Morrison, executive director of Catholic Charities.
Program Spotlight: Jail & Prison Ministry
Driven by Catholic Charities’ mission to reduce poverty, strengthen families and empower communities, the Jail & Prison Ministry program strives to prepare and support ex-offenders as they work toward positive re-entry into family and community life. Individuals released from jail or prison often return to their communities with no employment, home or support system. Through a vast network of volunteer mentors and support groups, the Jail & Prison Ministry program helps ex-offenders establish positive relationships, experience healthy social activities and connect with community resources that can aid in finding work, affordable housing and meeting basic needs. Mentors meet with offenders in prison or jail as well as after their release to provide the needed support to resist relapse into old habits and lifestyles. Circles of Support are small groups of volunteers (both male and female) working with a single ex-offender to provide safe places for dialogue and support. Last year, clients involved with the Jail & Prison Ministry program were 49 percent less likely to re-offend and return to jail or prison, compared to the state average. Amy joined the Jail & Prison Ministry program through drug court and was matched with a mentor and a Circle of Support. Amy has a long history of abusive relationships and drug use.
Amy shared, “My mentor is always there when I need someone to talk to. She’s helped me maintain my sobriety and move into permanent housing.”
Without the program, Amy expresses that she wouldn’t have been given the guidance that she needed to set goals for herself and be able to recognize the progress that she has made in her life.
She stated, “The program gave me the tools to stay clean.” By reaching her goals, she now has confidence and has been promoted twice at her current job at a fast food restaurant and has career goals to become a vet technician. “Thank you to the Jail & Prison Ministry program. My Circle of Support is my family,” stated Amy.
Last year, Catholic Charities assisted over 16,600 people in all its ministries, including Amy. Please help them continue to offer services to so many and bring the love that Christ demands of us to the world, starting right here in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Contact Catholic Charities at 1-800-772-2758.
PHOTO: Amy (center, seated), a woman assisted by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque through its Jail & Prison Ministry, is pictured with her Circle of Support and Accountability. Deacon Bill Hickson (far right, seated), director of Jail & Prison Ministry, is among the group. (Photo contributed by Catholic Charities)
Archbishop Jackels’ message on Catholic Charities’ appeal
One of our mission priorities is to teach stewardship as a way of life and a course of action. As a way of life, stewardship teaches that we do not own anything; all is on loan from God, entrusted to us to manage. And as a course of action, stewardship teaches us to manage according to God’s good pleasure, that is, to provide what is needed to live in dignity to the poor, our dependents, and ourselves.
Helping those who cannot protect or provide for themselves is an essential practice of our Catholic religion; indeed, it is the mark of authenticity for followers of Jesus. The Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Charities helps us help the poor: organizing the work, enlisting volunteers, and securing donations, such as with this annual appeal.
As you consider how much you will share in the annual appeal, think about what Jesus said: Give and gifts will be given to you … The measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you. In anticipation of your sacrificial gift, thank you.
Archbishop Michael Jackels