CCUSA Update Vol 47 No 3

CCUSA enters the podcast world

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) launched its new podcast channel “Charities at Work.” It can be accessed on the CCUSA website as well as the following podcast platforms: iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and SimpleCast.

“Charities at Work” will focus on the work and mission of the Catholic Charities ministry in the United States, both the national office (CCUSA) and local agencies. Topics regarding the Catholic faith in general will also be featured.

The first seven episodes of Charities at Work will explore the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching as outlined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: 1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person; 2. Solidarity; 3. Care for Creation; 4. Call to Family, Community, and Participation; 5. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; 6. Rights and Responsibilities; and 7. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers.

Each of the seven themes will be discussed by a moderator and two guest speakers, who will consider the particular theme in terms of its theological foundations and practical implications. Each podcast will be around 30 minutes in length.

Episode 1 considers the Life and Dignity of the Human Person through the insights of Father Ragan Schriver, special assistant to the president at CCUSA, and Brian Corbin, executive vice president of member services at CCUSA. Schriver discusses the theological and pastoral foundations of the principle of human dignity, and Corbin looks at the practical implications of the teaching.

Two AmeriCorps VISTA members share their experiences over the last year

Abby Qualliotine | Brigid McKeon

On June 24, 2020, CCUSA held a lunch and learn telemeeting during which two AmeriCorps VISTA members – Abby Qualliotine, VISTA Leader, and Brigid McKeon, VISTA member at CCUSA – shared their work experience over the previous year.

Qualliotine and McKeon spent their VISTA year with CCUSA, serving the national office in Alexandria and local Catholic Charities agencies across the country. The year was marked with an amazing variety of activities for both of them, including assisting the Catholic Charities ministry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 As VISTA Leader, Qualliotine helped over 50 VISTAs thrive in their assignments by checking in with them via video chats and providing webinars on topics like self-care and maintaining a work-life balance during the pandemic. Qualliotine also created a Life After AmeriCorps program to counsel and prepare members for their next professional opportunity after their end of service as well as a recruitment checklist to improve the process of onboarding new members for local Catholic Charities.

McKeon spent the year as a VISTA for CCUSA and assisted the ministry by furthering a border deployment program to send volunteers to help with migrants coming into the United States, supporting the 2Gen programming at Catholic Charities agencies through webinars and site visits, and lending a hand in organizing shipments of donated food items during the coronavirus crisis.

Both Qualliotine and McKeon remarked how fruitful their year with CCUSA had been, and they look forward to using what they learned as they move on to careers focused on helping people, especially the most vulnerable and forgotten.

Zach Cahalan, strategic director for Disaster Operations at CCUSA, appointed to NVOAD Board

Zach Cahalan, strategic director for Disaster Operations at CCUSA, recently became a member of the NVOAD Board of Directors by membership vote at the 2020 NVOAD Annual Member’s Meeting (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster National VOAD). Cahalan has been doing disaster work since 2006, supporting local and national disaster needs.

Zach Cahalan

“It’s an honor and privilege to have the support of my peers in providing my experience and insights to this amazing organization,” Cahalan said. “I’ve benefited countless times from ongoing collaboration with NVOAD members and this affords me an opportunity to pay it forward.”

NVOAD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership-based organization that builds resiliency in communities nationwide. It serves as the forum where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle – preparation, response, recovery and mitigation – to help disaster survivors. CCUSA, then the National Catholic Disaster Relief Committee, was one of seven national founding members in 1970 and remains committed and invested in advancing the NVOAD mission: to be a forum where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle—preparation, response and recovery—to help disaster survivors and their communities.

CCUSA Commemorates Juneteenth

Juneteenth Prayer Service Program

In light of the tragic killings of African Americans, including most recently George Floyd, Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD brought CCUSA board members and staff together in prayer on June 19, 2020, to commemorate “Juneteenth,” which celebrates the ending of slavery for African Americans in the United States.

Opening with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem, the service highlighted African American culture as well as some of the day-to-day struggles inflicted upon the African American community. Prayers, historical facts, scripture readings, poems, music, and tears filled the service with a sense of pride and hope for change.

As the service concluded, everyone was asked to sit in silence in remembrance of George Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time that elapsed when his life was taken so unjustly from him on Monday, May 25, 2020. This moment of silence after prayer accentuated how life can be taken so quickly.