November 21, 2014

CCHD collection assists those ‘working on the margins’

By John Shaughnessy

When he looks at one of the new programs at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin sees another example of the Catholic tradition of protecting human dignity.

The program is called the Ignatian Spirituality Project, “a program that offers retreats for the transitional homeless and those recovering from addiction,” the archbishop states.

In that same life-changing vein, Archbishop Tobin also cites the impact of the Indianapolis Congregational Action Network (IndyCAN), an interfaith organization whose efforts are supported by several Indianapolis parishes, including Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anthony, St. Gabriel the Archangel and St. Monica.

“Over the last several years, IndyCAN has worked to help implement plans to reduce gun violence, improve housing and employment opportunities, and work toward the reform of immigration laws,” he notes.

Archbishop Tobin focused on both those efforts in an Oct. 28 letter that he sent to Catholics in central and southern Indiana to promote the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)—the annual campaign that Catholics are being asked to support during collections at their churches on Nov. 22-23.

IndyCAN and Fatima Retreat House are among the organizations within the archdiocese that benefit from CCHD, the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Their efforts also reflect the theme of this year’s annual collection—“CCHD: Working on the Margins.”

“The funds collected offer new hope to those living in poverty throughout the United States,” the archbishop wrote in his letter. “Please remember, 50 percent of the collection’s proceeds stay here in our archdiocese to fight poverty in our communities and protect the dignity of our neighbors.”

As the director of the CCHD for the archdiocese, Theresa Chamblee knows the difference those efforts can make to people trying to change their lives.

She mentions another Indianapolis program that benefits from CCHD funds—Craine House, which provides “transitional housing for women who are leaving the prison system and trying to get their life back in order.”

“They have developed a close relationship with St. Monica Parish,” Chamblee says. “It is one of the few facilities nationwide that allows women who have small children and babies to live with them while in transitional housing. Through the programs offered at Craine House, women are able to find meaningful work, learn the necessary skills in raising healthy families, and develop the tools needed to thrive in their communities.”

It’s another example of how the CCHD helps people learn to provide for themselves and their families, she says.

“Through your support of the CCHD, you are helping to restore dignity to men, women and families who perhaps never had anyone tell them that they are valuable.”

(For more information about the CCHD and its efforts, visit the website,

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