August 5, 2005

Catholic Charities launches
new identity in archdiocese

By Brandon A. Evans

For years, the various archdiocesan agencies that have operated under the Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services names have had the same goal—to help individuals and families in need.

Their goal is still the same, however, now they all share the Catholic Charities name.

The common name will help to showcase the role of Catholic Charities and build awareness of its mission in the local communities.

“Our tradition of service to individuals and families who are in need is a core component of our mission as Catholics,” Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein said. “The effort to bring our Catholic Charities programs under the unified name of Catholic Charities will help all Catholics in southern and central Indiana grasp a better understanding of the Church’s undertaking through these ministries.

“The transition also reflects the identity of our national organization, Catholic Charities USA , which will generate a clearer understanding of our universal mission to serve those in need.”

In the archdiocese, Catholic Charities serves more than 200,000 people in need annually through more than 30 social service programs centered in the local offices of Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Bloomington, New Albany and Tell City.

Formerly, agencies in Indianapolis and Bloomington operated under the name of Catholic Social Services. The one exception to the change is St. Elizabeth and Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services in Indianapolis.

David Siler, archdiocesan executive director of Catholic Charities, said that using a common name for all the programs will help make the vast network of programs less confusing for the public.

Stationery is currently being replaced, and in time the signs for some of the buildings will change.

The name change was something that had been discussed and debated for some time.

“There was a great deal of discussion around the topic of whether or not to
continue to include the word ‘Catholic’ in our name,” Siler said. “Since the large majority of the people we serve are not Catholic and many of our staff are not Catholic, we talked about whether or not continuing to use this distinction would be helpful.

“However, we concluded that it is very important that those who receive our services know that whatever assistance that they have received is given in the name of the Church … and ultimately in the name of Christ.”

The Catholic name also conveys to people our commitment to serve them “with dignity, respect, compassion and love,” he said.

Siler added that the name will continue to help everyone see the good work that the Church is performing in central and southern Indiana. Awareness of that work is lacking, he said, even among Catholics.

“We want every Catholic to know and feel proud that every day we are sheltering homeless families, feeding thousands of hungry people, counseling those in despair, caring for neglected children, welcoming refugees, bringing hope to girls and young women who become pregnant unexpectedly, befriending lonely seniors and many other acts of Christian charity,” he said. †


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