Mr. Art Bennett,
President & CEO of Catholic Charities,
Diocese of Arlington
I am honored and humbled as I take on my new role as President and CEO of Catholic Charities, an organization that brings hope and practical assistance to thousands within the Diocese of Arlington. Through initial discussions with Bishop Loverde, our Board of Directors, diocesan personnel, clergy, parishioners and our staff, we have identified four key areas of focus for Catholic Charities going forward:
Strengthen our Catholic identity. Charity is a gift from God and our ability to love fully depends upon His grace. As a Catholic agency, our ability to help others depends upon our authentic expression of all that embodies Christ and His Church. This entails adherence to both the social justice and moral traditions of our faith. We will embrace Catholic teaching in our personal and professional lives, extending Christ’s message through the fullness of His Church. This does not mean that we only serve Catholics; we serve the needy and distressed of our community, regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Likewise, it does not mean that all of our employees are Catholic; but it does mean that we will faithfully represent Catholic moral and social teaching in all of our services and the manner in which they are provided. The more Catholic we are, the more charitable we will be.
Meet the needs of the poor and distressed of our diocese. The recent economic downturn is impacting the most vulnerable members of our community. There are vast, growing needs throughout the diocese. As we move forward, we will make a determined effort to identify the specific needs of all parishes and the local communities, extending our reach to help more people in more places. Given limited resources and the overextension of our staff, this will not be easy. We are confident that increased funding, more volunteers and a better understanding of the specific needs of the individuals, parishes and communities will allow us to expand our assistance to those who need it.
Increase our funding and volunteer base. Our faith and our conscience call us to serve Christ in the poor and needy through generous self-giving. We have been blessed with thousands of volunteers and donors, without whom we could not fulfill our mission. But we need even more help. Catholic Charities serves not only those who are economically deprived, but those suffering emotional, mental (psychological) and spiritual impoverishment as well. People of good will find many opportunities at Catholic Charities that will allow them to share their time, talent or treasure with those in need. Please consider joining us as a donor or volunteer (or both) so we can better manifest Christ’s love.
Share our message broadly and effectively. Unlike many other dioceses, the Diocese of Arlington has been blessed with continual growth. We are building churches and adding new parishioners daily. We want to share our mission through effective communications.
We will continue to communicate with priests, the parishes, the individuals and agencies to identify the pressing needs throughout the diocese. We are proud of the work we are doing, but humbled that there is so much more to be done. These four goals are a tall order, but critical to the mission of Catholic Charities. In his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI says charitable activity on behalf of the poor and suffering is an essential part of the mission of the Church as a whole. We pray daily for guidance and support to fulfill that mission.
Thank you for your support of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions, concerns or suggestions.
President & CEO