Vatican’s Ambassador to the U.S. Gives Homily at Catholic Charities 100th Anniversary Mass
Sunday, May 07, 2017 by Communications

Bringing a message from Pope Francis, the Vatican’s Apostolic Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, served as homilist today at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago 100th Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Name Cathedral. 

As the largest Catholic Charities in the country, the Chicago Archdiocese agency provides services to nearly 1 million people each year. This year it celebrates 100 years of service and support to anyone in need.

In his homily, Archbishop Pierre remarked to the 1,200 attendees and 25 priests concelebrating the Mass that “you know all too well the darkness of our world and of this great city – the tremendous poverty, hunger, and violence. You know the fear and loneliness in which many immigrants, many of whom are poor, are forced to live. It is your love – our love- Catholic Charities – that will illuminate this city.”

“It is impressive that every 30 seconds someone turns to Catholic Charities for help,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “Catholic Charities is precisely where Pope Francis calls us to be, a church out of itself and present at the margins of society, where those who suffer are. We are blessed in Chicago to have a vigorous and vibrant Catholic Charities.”

“Catholic Charities is the Church’s field hospital in our most desperate and under-resourced communities; a shining light in areas that can feel covered in darkness,” said Monsignor Michael Boland, President of Catholic Charities. “Today 3,000 staff, 15,000 volunteers and more than 400 community partners, including parishes, help us fulfill our mission of providing compassionate care to anyone in need. Where Catholic Charities is, we know there is hope”

From April 2017 – April 2018 Catholic Charities will celebrate the 100th anniversary milestone with a variety of special events. On June 12, Cardinal Cupich and Monsignor Boland will host a Civic Dinner at the Hilton Chicago, with special guest Catholic Charities USA President & CEO Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D. Other events will be held throughout the year, including a fall symposium, “Building Peaceful Communities,” and a spring volunteer week. For details on 100th Anniversary celebrations, visit

Catholic Charities was founded just days after the country entered World War I, at a time when women were left caring for their families alone and children were left orphaned following the flu epidemic. Cardinal Mundelein called together a group of prominent businessmen to be the fundraising arm of the Church. This initiative quickly evolved to provide direct social services to those most in need.

The agency that began at the once gritty intersection of Des Plaines and Randolph has grown to have more than 150 locations across the Archdiocese, in the most vulnerable and under-served communities.

Catholic Charities services span a wide range, including housing, food, emergency assistance, counseling, veterans’ needs, senior services and support, child development, immigration and refugee support, youth mentoring, and more.

The agency was a pioneer in social services, leading the way in providing a holistic approach to both individuals and families in need. It led the way in many innovative social service programs and partnerships. It was the first to partner with Cook County to treat a DUI offense as a medical condition; with the VA and HUD to open the first permanent supportive housing for veterans, the St. Leo Campus; and with the federal government to develop the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) food centers in food desert communities, the first of its kind in the nation.

Commenting on the agency’s future, Monsignor Boland added, “There is a tremendous need for agencies such as Catholic Charities, who are nimble and efficient, and also provide compassionate care. At all times our staff treats each person who comes to us with respect and dignity, with an ultimate goal of helping them become as self-sufficient as possible. This year we celebrate ‘A Century of Hope’ and reaffirm our commitment to the next century of providing help and hope to all of those need us most.”

Watch the 100th Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving here:

Read Apostolic Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre’s homily:

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