Parish Engagement

Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Jefferson City are answering the call to be Centers of Charity and Mercy. We're helping with:


Interim Executive Director
Sr. Kathleen Wegman, SSND

Sr. Director of Communications
Ashley Wiskirchen

Sr. Director of Development
Tori Baker

Sr. Director of Finance
Dan Kempker

Sr. Director of Programs & Services
Chelle Smith-Vandergriff

Sr. Director of Support Services
Leslie Prenger

Agency Receptionist and Administrative Assistant
Jennifer Hudson

Parish Ambassadors

Collaborating with parishes in the Diocese of Jefferson City, we are building a network of Parish Ambassadors to engage parishioners and increase access to Catholic Charities services.

Engagement Webinar Findings

Catholic Charities hosted three webinars and one in-person presentation throughout June and July to engage with the Diaconate community, who serve as Parish Ambassadors. Our goal was to facilitate conversations that explore how the community perceives its local parish as a Center of Charity and Mercy, gauge parishioner engagement, and find practical ways that Catholic Charities can support and grow charitable works.

Visiting with around 30 participants, we used survey questions (below) to engage with attendees and spark discussions on how folks approach a parish for assistance, how the parish responds, and where Catholic Charities could fill in the gaps or build capacity to meet local needs.

While you can see survey responses (compiled from all sessions) below, some highlights and key insights from our time together include:

  • Acknowledging that community members perceive most parishes as a source of help for rent/utility relief and material aid. Interestingly, many (or most) requests at parishes are made by non-parishioners or non-Catholics.
  • Realizing that while "mental health resources" was on the lower end of "common themes in requests for assistance", Counseling Services is far and away the top request in terms of services CCCNMO provides that parishes desire
  • While Charity and Mercy Grants are available to parishes in an effort to build their capacity to offer charitable works, "formation and training" was named as the way CCCNMO could best support or increase charitable works at parishes. A few ideas for formation and training provided to parishes included:
    • Catholic Social Teaching formation opportunities for Social Concerns Committees and Pastoral Parish Councils
    • Crisis interception/intervention training for Parish Secretaries who are indicated as the "front line" of intercepting requests for assistance
    • Food security needs assessment and consultation for parishes in areas that have a high volume of food insecure community members
    • Catholic Disaster Preparedness Program (CDPP) trainings to help parishes ready their congregations and their properties ahead of disaster, then grow to serve as a hub for help if a disaster were to strike their community


Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO) is the social services outreach arm of the Diocese of Jefferson City. We are tasked with assisting our bishop, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, with ensuring the Catholic Church in Central and Northern Missouri is fulfilling her mission to reach out to those on the margins and follow through with our biblical call to serve those in need.

  • We believe in the message of Jesus that conveys love and hope.
  • We affirm the sacredness and dignity of all human life.
  • We work in partnership with others who share in our mission.
  • We pursue excellence and uphold integrity in all we do.
  • We offer service to those in need regardless of background, belief or circumstance.

Together we help those who are hungry achieve food security, welcome new neighbors to safety from war torn areas around the world, support survivors of natural disasters to rebuild their homes and their lives, counsel those struggling with addiction and mental illness, and advocate for systemic change to alleviate poverty of body, mind, and spirit.


Click here to learn more about the five core programs that make up Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri.

Click here to download the latest Missouri Poverty Report, which includes county-by-county information

Click here to download a map of the Diocese of Jefferson City which outlines the Deaneries and Counties of our parishes.

Click here to learn more about the Catholic Social Teachings that drive our work.

Click here for CCUSA's Prayers and Reflections page, which includes many beautiful prayers for our mission, programs and clients.

Ambassador Connection
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Become a Catholic Charities Parish Ambassador

Use this form to sign up to become a Parish Ambassador. In this project, you will receive a special newsletter to help keep you aware of programs and services at Catholic Charities, with special formation opportunities and resources that can help build your parish's capacity to be a Center of Charity and Mercy.

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Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri

Agency Phone:

1015 Edmonds Street
Jefferson City, MO 65109

1240 E. Brown School Rd.
Columbia, MO 65202

421 West 3rd Street
Sedalia, Missouri 65301

Mailing Address
Catholic Charities of Central and Nothern Missouri
P.O. Box 104626
Jefferson City, MO 65110

Diocese of Jefferson City
Chancery Offices
2207 West Main Street
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Phone: (573) 635-9127

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