Local involvement a hallmark of Catholic Charities

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and Catholic Charities’ 2018 Justice for All Honoree, explains what life is like for those living at the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to her many responsibilities as executive director, she has cared for almost 100,000 migrants who have fled for the United States to escape violence.
Photo by Jose Sanchez

The principle in Catholic teaching known as subsidiarity holds that helping those in need should be done at the lowest capable level, closest to the affected persons.

The goals are always freedom and self-sufficiency, encouraging those being helped to participate and accept responsibility in reaching these goals.

An example of subsidiarity in action within the church is Catholic Charities. These local organizations not only know, but are also intimately tied to, their communities and the people they serve. And they are nimble enough to respond to changing needs.

Functioning at the diocesan level, Catholic Charities agencies are unencumbered by the bureaucracy of mega-organizations and big government agencies, yet are large enough to have the necessary infrastructure to run an effective operation. They can also tap into the resources of affiliate Catholic Charities organizations in other dioceses and through the national umbrella agency, Catholic Charities USA, as needed.

Here in the Camden Diocese, Catholic Charities has been an integral part of the social services community for 81 years, serving thousands of clients annually in the six counties of South Jersey.

In a few weeks Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, will be holding its largest annual fundraising banquet and awards ceremony, the Justice for All Awards Dinner. All proceeds from the event go to direct client services.

These services address some of the greatest human needs in the region. Whether the individual in need is a homeless veteran seeking stable housing or a job, an immigrant trying to learn the English language, family members of addicted loved ones in need of spiritual and emotional support, or an ex-offender re-entering society intent on making a new start in life, clients are known well by Catholics Charities staff. A bond of trust develops between them that inspires both to do their best and not let each other down.

Subsidiarity respects personal dignity by recognizing that everyone is capable of giving something to others. This principle underpins all of the work and all of the relationships of Catholic Charities.

By extension, Catholics and other members of the South Jersey community have an opportunity to unite their own commitment to subsidiarity by attending the upcoming Catholics Charities Justice for All Dinner. At this event, they will hear about many good works been done at the local level, work that will be recognized by the “Disciples of Mercy” Awards.

Attendees will also learn more about the important work being done on the U.S.-Mexico border by Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the main honoree of the evening, who will be awarded for her unwavering care and advocacy for the tens of thousands of migrants at the border.

For tickets, sponsorships, and more information about Catholic Charities’ Justice for All Dinner, visit: www.CatholicCharitiesCamden.org/JFA2018