Catholic Charities Newsletter

February 2019

From the Director’s Desk

Greetings!
 
As the season of Lent soon approaches, many of us begin contemplating how we will use these 40 days and nights to strengthen our relationship with God. You may decide that taking time away from the internet and social media is exactly what you need to allow more time in spiritual discipline or prayer. Many will celebrate Lent in traditional ways with prayer and fasting. During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on the third pillar of Lenten practice, Almsgiving.  Almsgiving is the practice of donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. As you prepare for the Lenten season, I invite you to consider partnering with Catholic Charities as part of your Almsgiving.
 
Pope Francis once said, “Jesus keeps knocking on our door, in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbors, in the faces of those at our side.” Catholic Charities 2019 Annual Appeal offers an opportunity for you to “Love Your Neighbor.”  
 
You may not know that:
 
  • 90% of every donation to Catholic Charities goes toward direct service of your neighbors in need right here in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
  • The Annual Appeal Makes make up nearly 30% of Catholic Charities’ annual operating budget.
For more information how to partner with us to make a financial gift, click here, or to volunteer to help Love Your Neighbor, click here.  The good work of Catholic Charities is made possible through you and your shared desire to Love Your Neighbor. I would like to sincerely thank you in advance for your continued support, prayers and generosity.
 
God Bless,
 
Tracy Morrison, Executive Director
 
 
 

Increasing Need for Mental Health Services
 
Mental Health Counseling is inspired by the belief that marriage and families are at the core of our social structure and must be supported and protected. Mental health counseling provides individuals, couples, and families the ability to address challenges they may be experiencing before they become a crisis, helping to maintain emotional health and strengthen relationships. 
 
Catholic Charities is excited to welcome and introduce two new counselors that have recently joined our counseling team:
 
Rachel Blough is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over thirteen years of experience working with families, individuals, and youth. Rachel has a genuine compassion for serving and responding in love to others. She is located in the Waterloo office and welcoming new appointments.
 
 
Mary Foy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor bringing over eight years counseling experience. Mary works with children and adults, ages eight and over. She has a passion for working with high school aged kids and young adults dealing with anxiety, depression, self-harm, self-esteem, grief, attachment and ADHD issues. Mary is also welcoming new appointments in our Mason City office.
 
The need for health care workers across the nation is not limited to physical health, there is an increasing need for mental health services, especially in rural areas. Although our Archdiocese spans a 30 county area, we are available in six locations including: Ames, Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Mason City and Waterloo. We are passionate about recruiting talented, experienced, and compassionate counselors. Currently, Catholic Charities is seeking to recruit three additional counselors for office locations in Decorah and Cedar Rapids, as well as a Telehealth Counselor to be based in the Dubuque office.
 
Catholic Charities is blessed with a counseling team of nine counselors, in six office locations, with more than 100 years of combined experience. Each of our counselors possess an enthusiastic passion to support and love their neighbors. To learn more about our counseling staff and services, please visit our Counseling page by clicking here

Bitter Cold Brings Out The Best!
 
Catholic Charities Housing owns and operates 209 apartments of affordable housing in twelve buildings in four separate locations in three counties, Black Hawk, Dubuque and Jackson. Many of the residents are elderly or disabled and the loss of vital services like heat, water, plumbing, and electricity can literally mean life or death. It can also mean huge costs repairing pipes, radiators, remediation of water and mold damage.
 
“Most of our properties are equipped to handle -10 degrees below zero, but -29 below is way over the edge and sure to expose any weaknesses,” states Matthew Roddy, Housing Director.  On Sunday, January 27th, Matthew generated a To-Do list and issued a directive to cancel all normal operations and spend the next two days preparing for the Arctic Vortex that was headed our way.
 
In preparation, the housing team drew on the expertise of Aaron Gerrard, Assistant Site Manager at Kennedy Park West, who is from Alaska.  Aaron provided a variety of personal safety tips for protection against the weather. Kayci Schumacher, Assistant Site Manager at Ecumenical Tower, returning from her vacation in Mexico just in time, rushed to take her vehicle in for some repairs so it would run through the cold snap. Special notices were distributed to the residents advising them to be careful and to inform staff immediately of any doors or windows not shutting completely, plumbing or water issues, or any rooms not heating properly. 
 
At Kennedy Park West, thermostats were cranked up by maintenance staff and boilers were checked twice per day. Apartments that were vacant were monitored by Pat Husemann, Maintenance Supervisor and Aaron Gerrard to make sure heat was on and that apartments were sealed. At Heartland East in Maquoketa, Dianne, Assistant Site Manager, and Paul Brady went door-to-door checking on residents and running water so that it wouldn’t freeze in the crawl space beneath the buildings. Ecumenical Tower was being monitored by Aaron Wenzel, Maintenance, who made sure he had extra heating units on hand and that the heating systems in the attic were working properly. He monitored the exterior doors and adjusted closers. Kayci Schumacher posted notices and checked on the frail and elderly.
 
Matthew Roddy played “Command Center” and kept in touch with his team through the two days of record-setting cold. Matthew reports, “A number of housing and other Catholic Charities staff reported to me that they were praying for the properties and the residents. I certainly was. Especially Wednesday night when I was up most of the night praying and waiting for the dreaded call……….that………..never….. came.”
 
209 apartments in twelve buildings with seven dedicated staff, all of whom showed up for work both Wednesday and Thursday, the coldest two days of the 21st Century. Not a single furnace or boiler shutdown, no frozen pipes, no heat calls. “I thank God for his mercy and for surrounding me with such talented, caring, and dedicated staff,” states Matthew.
 

“God bless you for what you do”
 
With Immigration being the leading story on the nightly news most days, it’s likely that it will also be a conversation piece amongst coworkers, family, and friends.  With any political topic, there will always be opinions and misinformation. The Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services team works diligently to educate the public about the facts and the rapidly changing immigration policies.  To stay abreast, Catholic Charities invites you to their Immigration Updates Page where you can find articles and updates.
 
If you ask any one of Catholic Charities attorneys what they have been working on, you will likely hear stories such as these:
 
  • “I recently helped three young people renew their DACA status. One of them is a single mother who would not have been able to pay for a private attorney if we had not assisted her. The other two were young men who hold full-time jobs. All of these people came here at an early age, graduated from high school and know no home other than Iowa. If they had not renewed their DACA status they could have been deported.”
  • “I am helping a number of refugees in applying for their green cards or legal permanent status. I don’t know if you know much about refugees, but these are people who were at risk of being killed or dying from starvation
    in their home countries, and then again in refugee camps.
We are called to love our neighbors, welcome the stranger and promote peace in a world enmeshed in violence and conflict. The phrase that is heard most often by the Immigration Legal Services team is, “God bless you for what you do.” Catholic Charities wants to share this phrase with you because without your prayers and support this ministry would not be possible. 

 Jail & Prison Ministry-Volunteer Spotlight
 
Barb Moore has been a cherished Jail & Prison Ministry Volunteer for nearly four years in Story County. She serves not only as a Mentor for an ex-offender and as a Jail Visitor; but also serves on the Jail & Prison Ministry Advisory Board as the Jail & Prison Ministry Volunteer Area Coordinator in Ames   
As an Area Coordinator, Barb assists in recruiting and training new volunteers, as well as works closely with the Story County Jail to schedule and coordinate volunteer visitations. Barb has such a genuine passion for the work she does, it shines through to everyone she encounters. Her passion seemed to rub off on her husband Mark as well, as he recently became a Jail & Prison Ministry volunteer.

Barb states that her favorite part of volunteering is the time she spends visiting and praying with the individuals she visits in jail.  She states, “From the time I started as a volunteer, I thought it was AWESOME that these individuals can find Jesus while in jail.”
 
Thank you Barb for your kind spirit and for showing Christ’s love and mercy to so many others. If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry, click here. You may also contact Teresa King, Community Outreach Coordinator at (319) 272-2080 or Teresa.King@dbqarch.org with any questions.