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Embracing the Call: A reflection on service with Catholic Charities

By Mike Maag

After serving on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO) for three consecutive three-year terms, I must now step down from the board, as required by the bylaws.

As I prepare to pass the baton, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity given to me to contribute to this vital organization’s mission.

The last nine years serving on the board, with the last two as president, has truly been an honor.

The time has been filled with extended moments of excitement, compassion, resilience, and at times anxiety, yet always with an unwavering commitment to our mission. 

As board president, one of my key goals has been to expand Catholic Charities’ reach throughout the 38 counties of the Diocese of Jefferson City.

While this goal has yet to achieve full fruition, (because of this, I wish I had more time on the board of directors) I rest assured that Bishop McKnight and the current board will continue to pursue this expansion.

I wish to see Catholics across our diocese truly embrace this organization as their own.

Catholic Charities embodies the fundamental principle of “Catholic charity” which we all share as a faith community.

By uniting behind its mission, we can create a powerful positive impact on those most in need of support and uplift our communities in the process.

The Parish Social Ministry sub-committee of the board has the goal to transform our parishes into Centers of Charity and Mercy.

I encourage you to get involved through your local parish and deanery, actively participating in this sacred work.

I ask you to please consider becoming a Parish Ambassador to Catholic Charities.

In Bishop McKnight’s Pastoral Letter, A Steward’s Journey: Our Call to Greater Communion, his three-year diocesan plan outlined establishing Catholic Charities Parish Ambassadors as a key point of strengthening the parish’s ability to be Centers of Charity and Mercy.  

I am making a broader call to action for Catholics within our diocese.

As Catholics, we are called to witness our faith in our lives and how we live.

Each of us has a role in uplifting those in need, allowing others in our community to witness our faith and parish as a Center of Charity and Mercy.

When we come together as Catholics, pooling our collective efforts and resources, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. 

I encourage you to envision opportunities for new programs that can make a positive impact on your community.

You have the power to identify local needs and you can act.

Whenever you recognize an area of need, you can apply for a Charity and Mercy Grant through Catholic Charities.

These grants, providing up to $5,000 in funding, can help you kickstart initiatives to address those needs.

The application process is straightforward and accessible through the Catholic Charities website (cccnmo.diojeffcity.org).

With a little effort, you can picture your parish as a Center of Charity and Mercy, where the least fortunate members of your community feel welcomed, supported and uplifted.

Imagine the impact on their lives. 

By taking such steps, we not only uplift those in need but also inspire others to join our mission of compassion and service.

Together, we (the parish and CCCNMO) can truly embody the principle of “Catholic charity” throughout the diocese.

If asked to serve, say “yes.”

If you wish to volunteer at CCCNMO, please call our volunteer coordinator at 573-635-7719.

As I conclude my time on the board of directors, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, and Bishop Emeritus John R. Gaydos for their leadership and support.

My sincere thanks go to our Executive Director Litz Main, former Interim Executive Director Sister Kathleen Wegman, and former Executive Director Dan Lester for their unwavering dedication to the mission.

I am deeply grateful to the previous board presidents, Linda McAnany, and John Landwehr, for their guidance and service, as well as to the entire board of directors, both current and past, for their leadership and governance.

And lastly, I would like to express my appreciation to the entire staff, volunteers, donors, partners, and supporters of Catholic Charities for their generosity and commitment to our mission.

Finally, I wish Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri continued growth and success in its mission of service.

As I reflect on my time with the organization, I am grateful to have been a small part of such a wonderful charity.