Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Charities: more than 100 years on, still ‘living the mission’

from Catholic Charities Spokane

(From the November 19, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

St. Margaret Shelter’s “Trunk or Treat” event provided a safe, fun environment for celebrating Halloween this year. (IR photo courtesy of Catholic Charities)

What exactly does Catholic Charities do? Whom do you serve?

Despite over 100 years of charitable work in the Spokane Diocese and 13 current programs that serve over 70,000 individuals each year, Catholic Charities Spokane is commonly asked these questions. The mission statement declares: “Catholic Charities Spokane (CCS) is a network of agencies, institutions, parishes, and individuals united in Gospel spirit, who are servants to the poor, and supporters for families and aides to the parishes and communities in meeting the social service needs of people in Eastern Washington.”

This mighty mission is why these questions are not so easy to answer. Where do you begin?

The best place to begin is right here, right now, with the most current ways Catholic Charities is “Living Our Mission.”

Take, for example, how the Catholic Housing Communities’ staff is currently volunteering at the House of Charity. Each week, different property staff members help serve meals at the House of Charity. While their daily work with low-income housing residents is employment and service, this alternative vantage point connects them to a different aspect of the mission. Individuals have reported that the experience is “fun, rewarding, and something they would like to continue to do.” Not only do they get to serve a new community of individuals, but they have the opportunity to meet and work with other Catholic Charities’ employees.

Another wonderful example of living our mission is the recent success of St. Margaret’s “Trunk or Treat” event, a new twist on Halloween where children trick-or-treat from car to car in a controlled and safe environment. St. Margaret’s Shelter, for homeless women and their children, partnered with Gonzaga University student athletes, the CCS Junior Board, and the Latter-day Saints youth group to provide an event that literally hundreds attended, complete with bouncy house, face painting, and a visit from Spokane Firefighters. This is joyful mission work; providing a fun, free event for families of St. Margaret’s, St. Anne’s Children and Family Center, Childbirth and Parenting Assistance (CAPA), and the community at large, while partnering with others who have a heart for service.

And last, but not least, an update on the newest permanent supportive housing development under construction on 2nd Avenue in Spokane. The walls are taking shape at Buder Haven, named for the parents of Sister Madonna Buder of the Sisters for Christian Community. The facility is slated to open next spring. Following the success of Father Bach Haven, another 50 extremely low-income, homeless men or women struggling with multiple special needs will have a home. The dignity found in shelter and caring supportive services is proven to launch a new way of life for many we serve.

So how do we answer these questions? The current response will be different day to day, month to month, year to year. We adapt to the needs of our clients. We adapt to changes in funding sources and requirements. We adapt to downturns in the economy that bring fewer dollars to us and yet more people to us who need help and hope. We innovate internally and with community partners; we work with gracious volunteers, skilled advisors and board members all in an effort to ensure we can “Live Our Mission.”

Without the faithful support of the diocesan family, the answer might be, “CCS cannot live our mission.” Catholic Charities thanks our priests, parishes and parishioners for being advocates of our work and prayerful supporters in so many ways. Current news, events, and updates are always available at

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