Helping those in need during coronavirus pandemic
BY MSGR. RAYMOND E. RIFFLE
MANAGING DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC CHARITIES
This year, Divine Mercy Sunday had a special significance for all of us at Catholic Charities because we see ourselves as pilgrims on a lifelong mission of mercy, working to provide help and create hope for people in need throughout the four counties of our diocese.
Since Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg came into existence in 1954, during every crisis, the first requests we typically receive are for the most basic of needs such as food and shelter. However, because of the restrictions caused by the coronavirus, we now receive more requests for food per day than we had normally received in a week before the COVID-19 crisis.
With school closures and the lack of free lunch programs, many of the people we are assisting are children. In addition to the daily need of food, urgent requests for baby supplies arrive every hour. At the same time, each day, we respond to the needs of the newly unemployed who are struggling with rent and utilities. Needless to say, these are all time-critical requests.
I am proud to say that Catholic Charities is responding to those calls and using every resource we have available to help. However, our work can only continue with your support. Right now, we need your stewardship more than ever. I ask you to please take a moment and pray for people who are suffering, people who are in need and for the safety of all the people on the front lines of this crisis who serve us every day.
I also ask you to please consider visiting our website — ccharitiesgreensburg.org. Click on “Get Involved” and learn how you can volunteer. To donate, click the “Donate Now” button at the bottom of the screen.
On our website, you can also learn how Catholic Charities connects people with the assistance they need. However, in this time of social distancing, we are taking connectivity one step further. I am happy to tell you that Catholic Charities’ counselors are now available through telecounseling for people struggling with mental health challenges during this crisis.
Finally, at the end of April, we took a unique approach to helping children and parents during this time. I hosted a Facebook event designed for children. Entire families were invited to gather in front of the computer or television to reassure them that faith will help them through.
Dr. Paul Niemiec, director of counseling at Catholic Charities, hosted a webinar for parents to provide discussion resources for helping children understand what is happening and express their worries.
On behalf of Bishop Edward C. Malesic and myself, and the staff, board and volunteers of Catholic Charities, thank you for the many ways you continue to help us do God’s work and assist his people who are most in need.
God bless you, and stay safe.
Counseling staff adapts
BY DR. PAUL NIEMIEC
DIRECTOR OF COUNSELING, CATHOLIC CHARITIES
Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Catholic Charities to change the way it reaches out to clients.
Since staff cannot meet in their offices for face-to-face sessions with individuals who need counseling services, we are responding by going virtual. Counseling sessions are done through a secure, encrypted virtual platform and are face-to-face via a computer, tablet or smartphone.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania defines Catholic Charities as a “life-sustaining entity” since we are a church-affiliated health care agency. We are permitted, and expected, to continue to provide the services and support people need. Especially in a time of increased stress and uncertainty, changed routines and financial concerns increase anxiety in some individuals. The loss of familiar ways of living, depression and perhaps interpersonal conflict are other emotional challenges that can develop in difficult times. None of this is easy for any of us.
People with a computer or smartphone, internet connection and email address can meet with a counselor and begin or continue the work of emotional healing.
Catholic Charities accepts calls from people who seek our faith-based counseling. We can begin to work together virtually. Virtual counseling is another tool our counselors will have to meet people’s needs after pandemic restrictions are removed. Think snow days, for example, when travel may be difficult for clients or counselors. Some people may prefer virtual counseling instead of a session in our offices. We are able to do that. It is part of Catholic Charities’ mission “… to serve the human needs of individuals and families, regardless of their religious affiliation.”
Contact Catholic Charities: 724-837-1840
- Webinar for Parents about Coronavirus
- Story Time for Children about Coronavirus
- New Telehealth Options for Counseling
- “Donate Now” Button for Emergency Food Boxes, Material Resources
CATHOLIC CHARITIES EVENTS
Fourth annual Designer Purse Bash & Crystal Bake Sale raises $7,000 for charity
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg returned to The Barn at Ligonier Valley in November to host its fourth annual Designer Purse Bash and Crystal Bake Sale. More than 200 guests enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon while raising money for people in need. Carson’s catered a buffet lunch, and sangria, spiced apple cider and the “River of Rose” were served. The crystal bake sale again proved to be a crowd favorite as 70 pies, cakes, cookies and desserts plated on Lenox, Waterford and other unique vessels sold out in under 20 minutes. The day also featured drawings for designer bags and raffles of handbags and jewelry, plus door prizes such as scarves, candles and fashion accessories. The event raised more than $7,000 to benefit the programs and services offered by Catholic Charities. The 2020 event is tentatively set for Nov. 1 at The Barn at Ligonier Valley with tickets on sale in September. Watch ccharitiesgreensburg.org for information.
Save the Date for the annual Paul R. Smiy Memorial Golf Outing
Friday, Aug. 7 (tentative), Ligonier Country Club.
Watch ccharitiesgreensburg.org for information, sponsorship opportunities and registration.
Proceeds provide emergency food, heat and rent assistance for people in need.
Annual Diocesan Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday
Christ the Divine Teacher School Students Raise Money for Local Foundation in Memory of CDT Alumna
Mary Fahey Award presented to Mary Queen of Apostles Student
Sister Maureen Halloran, SC, in her 73rd year of religious life
Annual Acies Mass in South Greensburg
Sister Janet M. Neider, SC in her 66th year of religious life
Bishop celebrates 10th anniversary of both St. Francis of Assisi Parish and pope’s election
Thousands of teens set to gather in Indianapolis for NCYC 2023
Sister Mary Michelle Shuda, in her 65th year of religious life
Eucharistic Congress planned for Diocese in May
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