Catholic Charities works with all, for all who are in need

This article originally appeared on the Catholic Missourian’s website and can be read in its entirety there.


ou don’t have to be Catholic to get help from Catholic Charities.

“Some people hear the name and think, ‘If I’m not Catholic, I’m not able to receive help,” said Dan Lester, executive director of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO).

“But we never turn away someone looking for assistance because they’re not Catholic or not Christian,” he said. “As we like to say, we help because of what we believe, not because of what they believe.”

Mr. Lester recently spoke to a faith- and community-minded audience at a meeting of the Capital Area Interfaith Alliance in Jefferson City.

About 15 members, including Monsignor Robert A. Kurwicki, diocesan vicar general and pastor of St. Michael parish in Russellville, attended.

After quickly clarifying who’s eligible to receive help, Mr. Lester addressed a wide variety of services CCCNMO has a hand in providing throughout the 38 counties that make up the Jefferson City diocese.

Audience members were especially interested to hear about:

  • CCCNMO’s work to resettle refugees fleeing danger and persecution in their home countries;
  • the agency’s plans to purchase and convert the Shikles Auditorium Building into a hub of charitable outreach in the Capital City;
  • its ongoing commitment to providing long-term disaster case management and assistance to people recovering from recent natural disasters in the state; and
  • its collaboration with other faith-based and public agencies and organizations to help people in need.

“Since this is the Capital Area Interfaith Alliance, people were especially interested in how we engage as a diocese from an interfaith perspective,” said Mr. Lester.