A local pastor whose faithful labor of love has made his parish a beacon of working for justice is one of three exemplary area servants Catholic Charities will recognize the week of November 8-12.
St. Vincent De Paul pastor Rev. Ray Chase will receive the Msgr. Arthur F. Valenzano Joyful Servant Award. Commissioned to recognize a joyful life and spirit in service, the award honors the spirit of Msgr. Valenzano, the late rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who served on the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees until his passing in 2015.
Fr. Chase said the honor, to him, is a challenge to become better at his work for the people he has the privilege of spending time with.
“I have something to live up to, because Msgr. Art always wanted people to live more deeply,” Fr. Chase said. “I believe his biggest desire for winners of this award would be to see it as a challenge for potential growth. It truly is a privilege to receive this award, and I hope I can be faithful to it. I am, and will always be, moved by this award and being chosen for this honor.”
Fr. Chase began his ministry with Catholic Charities of Baltimore 43 years ago. He started as a deacon at Gallagher Services, formerly known as the Gallagher Center, in 1978. His parish, St. Vincent de Paul at the foot of the I-83 expressway, is motivated by social and racial justice work.
Catholic Charities Executive Director Bill McCarthy believes Fr. Chase shares the same joyful and giving spirit as Msgr. Art.
“Fr. Ray is always offering some form of encouragement or gratitude to others,” said McCarthy. “Just like Msgr. Art did, Fr. Chase has been serving and giving to others for more than 40 years, seeing the dignity in every person. So many people give in a transactional manner, but Frs. Art and Chase give in a relational manner. They both have given with a sense of optimism and joy, which is always welcomed by those that are often treated as if they are invisible to the world. These men both have truly lived our values and been truly joyful servants.”
Fr. Chase has served in many roles with Catholic Charities throughout the years, and currently serves as chaplain at the organization’s Jenkins Senior Living Community near Halethorpe, a campus hosting The Neighborhoods at St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Caritas House Assisted Living, St. Ann Adult Day program, and two senior apartment communities.
Along with Fr. Chase, Catholic Charities will recognize two other pillars of the community. Johns Hopkins University graduate Karen Sun is being honored with the Anne Lindsey Otenasek Youth Service Award for her commitment to women and children experiencing homelessness and poverty in Baltimore. Geri Olsen will receive the Distinguished Service Award for her 27 years of service to the residents and staff of St. Vincent’s Villa.
In addition to our three awardees, Catholic Charities will also honor six employees with its Mission in Action Award for extraordinary examples of commitment: Steve Branson, director of case management services; Patti Bulger, resident associate for senior congregate housing; Michael Jolley, facilities project management for Senior Services, Jill Kratz, manager of services for senior communities; Bonnie March, office manager at Villa Maria Community Resources Behavioral Health Clinic in Lansdowne; and Erin Moyer, clinic director at Villa Maria Community Resources Behavioral Health Clinic on the Fallsway.
During the week of Nov. 8-12, Catholic Charities will also feature stories about neighbors’ personal journeys toward better lives, podcast conversations with experts discussing senior care, homelessness & poverty prevention, workforce development, immigration, behavioral health, and intellectual & developmental disabilities, and more. Find all content at catholiccharities-md.org and on the Catholic Charities Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.
Catholic Charities of Baltimore is Maryland’s largest private provider of human services, with more than 80 programs in 200 locations to serve children and families experiencing homelessness and poverty, individuals with intellectual disabilities, immigrants, and seniors without regard to religion, race or other circumstances. www.catholiccharities-md.org.