FORT WAYNE — The Fort Wayne office of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is settling into its new first and seventh floor offices in the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, located at 915 S. Clinton St. All programs and services including pregnancy and adoption, immigration, refugee resettlement, senior AIDES, Hispanic health, Hoosier Corps, resource and referral and ECHO are now offered at the Noll Center.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades met with city dignitaries, including Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, the staff and volunteers of Catholic Charities and visitors in the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center on Nov. 6 to pray for Catholic Charities’ employees and volunteers and the people served by the social services agency, as well as bless their new offices. Catholic Charities Board President Pat Houlihan served as master of ceremonies.
Bishop Rhoades welcomed the visitors and staff of Catholic Charities to the Noll Center saying, “Welcome. And Catholic Charities employees and volunteers welcome to your new home. It’s great to have you here. We’re now one big family in Christ.”
In a special ceremony the bishop evoked God’s blessing on “this new headquarters of Catholic Charities, which is dedicated to the charitable building up of society.” Following readings from the Gospel of Matthew, Psalm 121 and intercessions, the bishop prayed, “Send your blessing upon Your people, who give generously of themselves in service in this place. When they are called upon in times of need, enable them to serve you faithfully in their love of neighbor. And may all who visit this place rightly see fit to praise Your power until the end of their days.”
In his reflection, Bishop Rhoades said, “Catholic Charities is an essential part of the mission of our diocese. …When we think about the mission of the Church, which is to continue the mission of Jesus, it is certainly to teach and preach the Word of God. … And it is to celebrate the divine mysteries in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. … Thirdly, it is the mission of charity, which means that we live the Word that we preach and the Word that we hear. And (it is) the Eucharist that strengthens us to live our faith, and strengthens us to love one another — especially those in need, those who are suffering, those who are poor. So, the mission of charity is essential to the mission of the Church. So having Catholic Charities now in the Archbishop Noll Center brings this to completion. And I hope that all of our employees and volunteers of Catholic Charities — that you already feel at home here — because all of us welcome you with the love of Christ.”
Flanked by Interim Executive Director Lisa Young and Human Resources Coordinator Shawn Ellert, Bishop Rhoades blessed each office space with holy water on both the first and seventh floors. Following the office blessing, the bishop joined those gathered and Mayor Tom Henry, who proclaimed Nov. 6 as Catholic Charities Day. In his remarks the mayor, whose father, Jerome, was executive director of Catholic Charities 45 years ago, commented that there are those who continue to speak of how their lives were touched by Catholic Charities and his father’s leadership all those years ago.
A reception followed the ceremony during which tours of the first and seventh floor offices were conducted.
Interim Executive Director Lisa Young felt the blessing held great meaning for Catholic Charities’ staff and volunteers. “It’s unity. And I think it is God’s covering over us, God’s protection over us and bringing us all together — unifying us. And I think that’s what this whole ceremony is all about. … This is something special,” she said, adding, “And to be able to meet everyone and to see everyone who supports us. … It’s a great way for us to connect with the diocese.”
Catholic Charities Board President Pat Houlihan remarked, “We set a pretty high standard with our mission — to serve the needy and the poor as the Church would have us do. We can’t do it alone. We need God to be with us. So this blessing is like a ribbon cutting for the work we’ll do here.”
Catholic Charities is a state licensed COA accredited social services agency serving people in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, Steuben, St. Joseph, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties and has additional offices in South Bend and Auburn.
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