Catholic Charities Newsletter

January 2017 

From the Director’s Desk

 As we begin 2017, Archbishop Jackels has challenged each of us to practice stewardship as a way of life, and a course of action. In his words, “Helping those who cannot protect or provide for themselves is an essential practice of our Catholic religion.” Catholic Charities continues to provide an avenue to provide help and create hope for those individuals who are not able to themselves. Our services are personal and confidential, and are provided to anyone in need regardless of faith, background or ability to pay.
Archbishop Jackels also encourages us to 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.” For these reasons, and so many more, I hope you will consider supporting our upcoming Annual Appeal, which funds over one-third of Catholic Charities operating budget each year. 
This year, our appeal will take place the weekend of February 11th. You may receive our mailer at home; please keep your eyes open for it. You may also see our mailer in your church bulletin, to be distributed in your parish on appeal weekend as well.  
Catholic Charities’ continued success is dependent on the financial support and prayers of each of you. Please consider a gift to our 2017 Annual Appeal.  

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

God Bless,


Tracy Morrison, Executive Director

Iowa Catholic Conference Reaction to Immigration/Refugee Orders

CC Newsletter – Jan. 30, 2017

On Friday, President Trump issued an order related to refugees. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the order will virtually shut down the refugee admissions program for 120 days, reduce the number of refugees to be admitted from a goal of 110,000 to 50,000 people, and indefinitely suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees. (Click here for a Nov. 2015 statement from the Iowa bishops on the Syrian refugee issue. )
In the order, the president also prioritized religious minorities suffering from religious persecution, thereby deprioritizing all other persons fleeing persecution; put in place a temporary bar on admission to the United States from a number of countries of particular concern (all Muslim majority); and imposed a yet-to-be determined new vetting process for all persons seeking entry to the United States.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Migration, stated: “We strongly disagree with the Executive Order’s halting refugee admissions … We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones.”

Regarding the Executive Order’s ban on Syrian refugees, the prioritization of religious minorities suffering from religious persecution, Bishop Vásquez added: “The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion.”

Bishop Vásquez referred to the more than 65 million people who have been displaced from their homes by war and other causes. “Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in this area of concern.”

On Wednesday, the president issued an order that would deny federal funding for jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. Bishop Vásquez said, “I have enormous respect for and value our federal law enforcement agents who risk their lives every day to enforce our immigration laws. I also recognize that there may well be situations where local governments feel they need to foster a relationship with their communities by working with the victims of or witnesses to crime without instilling a fear that by coming forward, they or their family members will be handed over to immigration authorities.”

Many Iowa counties do not automatically hold immigrants for ICE if they would be otherwise released.


You are encouraged to contact the president and your members of Congress and stand up for refugees and immigrants. Click here for an alert and sample message.

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign also has an alert on the same page in support of the BRIDGE Act, which was recently introduced in Congress as a bipartisan effort to sustain temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility offered to youth through the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


Providing Help…Creating Hope 

Please take a moment to view our video and hear stories of how individuals and families have been impacted by Catholic Charities’ services.

Harvest of Blessings – Nearing Application Deadline

The deadline for applications, February 28, 2017, is fast approaching!

Harvest of Blessings is a matching grant program designed to encourage small, parish based projects that address poverty reduction, create systemic change and encourage relationships among those in need and supportive communities so that we may Share Jesus Love. 

If your parish has not discussed any project opportunities, take a moment to consider applying and potentially be granted funding to use toward a new or current parish project.  The program seeks to fund parish-based projects and encourages ventures that address poverty reduction, create systemic change, and encourage relationships among those in need and supportive communities. 

Catholic Charities is hiring!

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque has an immediate opening for a full-time Counselor in our Mason City office.  Successful candidate should be licensed in Iowa as a Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Counselor or Independent Social Worker and preferably of Catholic faith. Position includes competitive salary and benefits.

If you have questions  or to submit an application, contact Lynn Osterhaus, Human Resources Director at, or 800.876.3546.



Poverty Awareness Month

 There are many myths that can deceive us about the identity of those living in poverty. Did you know that 2.5 million people in the United States work full-time, year-round, and are still living in poverty?

Catholic Charities’ Affordable Housing, Jail & Prison Ministry and Immigration Outreach programs are all committed to reducing poverty with individuals and families who have limited incomes and need support as they work towards securing basic life necessities.
During Poverty Awareness Month, join the U.S. Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Catholic Community in the United States in taking up Pope Francis’ challenge to live in solidarity with the poor! 


Volunteer Spotlight

Nancy Edwards, a Refugee Resettlement volunteer from St Mary’s in Waverly continues to be an active volunteer and activist for the Burmese refugees in the Cedar Valley. The refugee extended family that Nancy has been working with for over a year, invited her to the Karen New Year Celebration, on January 2nd in Waterloo, as pictured above.

Nancy also attends many events that EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center) hosts and was recognized as community volunteer this past summer. In addition to working with the original family the St Mary’s social justice committee “adopted”, she speaks to other volunteer groups about her experiences and continues to learn more about the Burmese population and passes on many resources when she finds them. 

Thank you Nancy for all you do in the Cedar Valley for our refugee clients! If you would like to volunteer with Catholic Charities, please contact Agnes Kress, Volunteer Coordinator, at 319-272-2080 or or click here to see our current volunteer opportunities. 


National Migration Week

The Catholic Church celebrated National Migration Week the second week in January, which was an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. The theme this year drew attention to Pope Francis’ call to create a culture of encounter, and in doing so to look beyond our own needs and wants to those of others around us. 
Last year, Catholic Charities provided immigration legal services to 159 individuals and resettled 75 refugees from a total of 39 countries around the world.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops national network for immigration reform “Justice For Immigrants” had a special action alert during National Migration Week to let lawmakers know of their support for refugees and immigrants. Please consider following this link to send a message to your legislators in Congress to encourage them to promote comprehensive immigration reform that respects human dignity and recognizes the contributions of immigrants and refugees in our communities.