On account of our Baptism and our profession of saving faith, we are all partners to continue Jesus’ mission in the ministries of Church.
An important Church ministry, if not the most important, is the help the poor, people who cannot provide for themselves what is needed to live in dignity.
Catholic Charities is the agency of the Archdiocese of Dubuque that works to promote this ministry of service to the poor. We do this by organizing volunteers in ministries to respond to disasters, or to reach out to people who are imprisoned or recently released, or to welcome immigrants, just to name a few.
We recognize though that not everyone is able to volunteer, and that some of our work, such as counseling, can’t easily make use of volunteers. And so Catholic Charities also promotes this essential ministry to the poor by begging on their behalf for prayers and donations in support of all of our efforts.
We learn from Scripture that we can become “co-workers with the truth” (3 John 8) by our monetary support of the ministries of the Church. Your support of Catholic Charities in one way to carry out our mission priority to promote stewardship, which includes sharing out time, talent, and treasure to support Church ministries and the poor.
By helping us, you help yourself to bear the mark of an authentic Christian. And by helping yourself, you help people in need. Won’t you help us help you help the poor?
Confident of your generosity, and grateful for it, we are
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Michael Jackels Tracy Morrison
Archbishop of Dubuque Executive Director
Enjoy these stories of celebration and success from Catholic Charities clients:
Cody was heavily addicted to methamphetamine by age 18 which eventually led to a felony drug possession conviction. In jail, he enrolled in the Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry program.
When Cody was released, he no longer had custody of his daughter, had nowhere to live, and was unemployed. After working with his volunteer mentors for over a year, he was able to regain his parental rights, a full-time job, and his own apartment to raise his daughter. Cody credits his Circle of Support Group for his success, “They were always there to support me and provide resources and reinforcement.”
“This is the biggest gift I have ever been given, I knew I had been given a second chance at life by getting involved with this program. Now I set goals for myself and I am financially stable. If something happens like my car needs fixing or my daughter needs a new coat, I can pay for it myself. I don’t have to borrow money anymore, because I learned how to manage it.”
Vesna, originally from Bosnia, has lived at Kennedy Park West, a Catholic Charities affordable housing property, for 16 years where she has raised all three of her children, now 16, 13 and seven.
Vesna’s family values their time together by going for walks in the neighborhood, playing tennis at th
e local school and enjoying the playground which is right outside their building. Vesna’s sixteen year old daughter expressed, “We enjoy being a part of this community; we have opportunities to bond with our neighbors, which gives our family the chance to bond as well.”
“This is my home, I love this place. I don’t have to worry about maintenance issues or lawn work, they take care of everything. As a single, working mom, I don’t have to be stressed about stuff like that and during my free time, I can focus my time on my family. The property is clean, it is quiet, safe for my kids and the rent is affordable.”
Tom struggled most of his life with social anxiety and depression and began to withdraw from activities with this family and friends.
“My counselor educated me on the tools to help me get through one day at at a time, how to relax and feel at ease. She gave me access to information and resources and helped my self-esteem.”
Tom has now joined committee groups at his church, has started volunteering, and feels empowered to become involved in his community again.
“When I prayed about what to do, I knew I had to come to Catholic Charities. Knowing there is an organization that cares, a place where I am not a number or dollar amount, that they are there just to help me makes all the difference in the world. Counseling has helped me get my priorities back in place.”
Immigration Legal Services
Gaspar was sixteen years old when Catholic Charities’ Immigration Attorney first met him. He was a thin child, eyes full of sadness and desperation. He had been forced to make the dangerous journey alone from Guatemala to the United States. Gaspar chose this dangerous journey because the only thing left for him in Guatemala was physical abuse, poverty, and gang violence. If Gaspar was lucky, he was fed one meal per day, and not beaten by his parents for expressing his hunger and desire to go to school. He knew that his only chance to survive and get an education was to make the journey to the U.S. alone Catholic Charities provides legal services for children like Gaspar, giving them hope. After successfully obtaining lawful status for Gaspar, he is now a different child. He walks with pride and courage. He is enrolled in high school and learning English and now living in a safe environment with his legal guardian. Gaspar is finally allowed to be a child and enjoy the possibility of dreaming big dreams.
Immigration Legal Services and Mental Health Counseling
Islah experienced war, and severe forms of abuse before making her escape to the United States and finding support with Catholic Charities.
Islah was introduced to her counselor at Catholic Charities by our Immigration Legal Representative. She has been working through ways to cope with her tramatic life experiences with the help of a licensed mental health professional. Islah is a 41-year-old African woman from Liberia. She is the mother and sole provider for two children ages 7 and 10 years.
During times of war, Islah and her family were kidnapped by rebels, who subjected her to physical and sexual abuse. When her brother refused to join the rebels he was used as an example for his disobedience and was killed in front of their family. Islah was trafficked as a sex slave and raped, repeatedly.
Islah’s family did manage to flee their war torn Liberia for Guinea where they took refuge in a camp for four years. When the war ended, the family returned to Liberia, only to find their home destroyed. Islah was soon married, but was required to endure female mutilation, a tradition of their tribe. Her controlling husband abused her both physically and emotionally. In 2015, he took their oldest daughter on a trip to the United States, where he left her with a friend.
Returning home to Liberia without their daughter, Islah’s husband explained that he didn’t want to bring her back during the ongoing Ebola crisis. It was at that point, when Islah suffered a mental breakdown; her sister arranged for travel visa’s for Islah and her son to visit her in the United States, where Islah would find her daughter.
Islah prays now that she will not be turned back to her home country of Liberia. She seeks asylum in the United States, while she stays with her sister in Iowa.
Alex arrived in Iowa as a refugee from Nairobi, Kenya, originally fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2013. The resettlement process had separated Alex from his family, a wife and four children. After a year living in the United States, Alex was eligible to apply for his legal permanent residency. He sought out the help of Mike Mbanza, Immigration Legal Representative for Catholic Charities to navigate the legal process of becoming a green card holder.
Immediately, Alex’s eye was on the next step of being reunited with his family. Mike continued to pursue this goal through the Refugee Petition for Relatives Act, a process that would take another 8 months to a year to complete. Upon the approval of the United Nations, Alex’s wife, Nyatuza, and their children were reassigned to “current refugee status” within the Nairobi refugee camp they resided in.
Now the reigns were turned over to Mike’s colleague, Caleb Gates in Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement office, who would assist the family resettle in the Archdiocese of Dubuque through an agreement with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Catholic Charities’ team celebrated along with Alex and his family when finally in February 2016 they experienced the joy of being reunited again. The family is settling into their new home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The children have enrolled in school, and the 15-year-old is playing soccer for the middle school and has just passed his drivers permit test!