Annual Catholic Appeal – Supported Ministries and Services



Here are the programs supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal:

Pastoral Services

Institutional Chaplains put into action the corporal works of mercy by visiting the sick in hospitals and nursing homes and bringing comfort and reconciliation to the imprisoned. They also provide spiritual support and guidance to civil service and law-enforcement personnel.

Ordained Deacons collaborate with the Bishop and priests to serve the people of God through their threefold ministry of liturgy, word and charity.  Strengthened by the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, deacons serve also as a bridge between the clergy and laity.  Eighty-four deacons currently minister in the diocese with 8 deacon candidates in their first year of Deacon Formation for ordination in August 2017. This ministry traces its origin to the earliest days of the Church and its first martyr, St. Stephen, as attested in the Acts of the Apostles.

The Office of Hispanic Ministry assists parishes and diocesan offices in realizing their mission to the Hispanic flock. Guided by the Diocesan Plan for Hispanic Ministry, the diocesan team fosters the development of spirituality, community building, social action, and leadership and theological formation with its Mobile School of Evangelization. The diocese’s growing Hispanic population is estimated at over 100,000. Nineteen parishes serve as regional Hispanic Ministry Centers, addressing various liturgical, formation, apostolic, and outreach needs. Additionally, weekly masses are regularly celebrated in Spanish seasonably at two migrant laborer camps.

The Ministry for Black Catholics seeks to explore and implement evangelization efforts needed to lift the spirits of Catholics of African Descent, and to bring others, both churched and unchurched, into the family of the Body of Christ. The Ministry seeks to generate opportunities for Black Catholics to share their gifts with the larger community and participate more fully in the Church as individuals.

The Office for Marriage and Family Life (OMFL) provides formational, educational, supportive, and spiritual enrichment programs & resources for parishes, individuals, couples and families.  Over the past year, the OMFL has implemented a new and updated pre-Cana curriculum, a Catholic-based regional bereavement support series, and a women’s integral parish study program.  The program affirms women in their dignity and vocation as daughters of God.  The OMFL is looking forward to offering a regional divorce & separated support series in 2015.  The Office also works with the Bishop to celebrate the gift of sacramental marriage through the annual wedding anniversary Mass.

The Office for Religious delegate serves as liaison between the Bishop and the religious of the diocese and their major superiors.  The Diocese of Wilmington continues to attract religious for ministry even when there are no other members of their religious orders within the diocese.  A spirit of living and working together is the hallmark of our religious men and women.  Their contributions to the diocese along with their unique community charism help to diversify and broaden the mission of the gospel.

The Office of Worshipworking with the Bishop is charged with the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The office develops and deepens the liturgical life of diocesan parishes and institutions by serving as a resource on liturgical matters such as music, sacramental celebrations, devotional practices and liturgical formation.

The Office for Pro-Life Activities provides programs and information to strengthen our diocesan witness on issues related to the dignity and value of all human life.  The office continues to play a role also in the struggle over religious liberty issues and the struggle for authentic marriage.  The director consults with individuals on questions of bioethics; and the Respect Life Committee works to maintain a united front in the pro-life community.


Catholic Education

Our Catholic Schools educate nearly 11,000 students in faith, knowledge and service. Students learn, celebrate, live, and pray the Catholic faith each day enhanced by regular opportunities for worship and service.  Catholic schools are centers of academic rigor in which the core curriculum is enriched by arts integration programs, one-to-one iPad and laptop initiatives, world languages, co- and extra-curricular activities, and athletics.  Assessment data demonstrates that students score well above national averages at all levels. In Catholic schools students receive an outstanding education with 99% continuing their studies in colleges, universities, or other post-secondary programs.

Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry is committed to developing Christian values in young people through programs that catechize, evangelize, and promote social justice through service. To supplement the work of the local faith community, CYM offers two weeks of summer service (Pitcher and Basin); opportunities for young people to lead on the diocesan level through the Youth Leadership Team; practice good sportsmanship and live a healthy lifestyle through CYM Sports; and participate in intentional leadership development at the biennial Leaders Today, Leaders Tomorrow Conference. The CHAOS rally and the Youth Pilgrimage are annual opportunities to engage youth and young adults as active members of the universal church.

Deaf Ministry offers sacramental and spiritual support and nourishment to those in the hearing impaired community. Through a collaborative effort, a signed mass is now offered bi-monthly. Interpreted (ASL) masses are held each Sunday in at least one diocesan location. Particularly, there are interpreters at each Sunday 9:15 mass held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, in Bear, Delaware. Deaf Ministry works with other regional support ministries to ensure that events and programs offered specific to the deaf are promoted to those in our diocesan community. When necessary, the Ministry helps to identify or provide interpreter services to assist children who participate in religious education programs.

The Office for Religious Education assists the Bishop in his ministry and responsibility as the chief teacher of the diocese, ensuring faith formation at all stages of one’s life journey.  The Office supports parishes and schools as they work to proclaim the Gospel and catechize children, youth, and adults in their communities. ORE provides training programs and workshops for catechists; guidance to DRE’s and CRE’s; and encourages each parish to strive for excellence in their catechetical ministry. Last year more than 10,400 children received instruction from 1,652 catechists in 52 diocesan Religious Education programs.

Special Needs Ministry offers religious formation programs for children, youth and adults. In addition to overall religious education, these programs help individuals with special needs prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. The diocese currently supports two parish centers with programs focused solely on providing religious formation to those with special needs and sponsors regular prayer groups for members of the adult Faith and Light community. Through Special Needs Ministry, the diocese also provides assistance and consultation to parishes to help them offer an inclusive environment where possible to support special needs programs on their local level.


Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities’ Basic Needs Program helps low-income individuals and families to become more self-sufficient. The program offers financial coaching and case management services in addition to providing financial grants for basic living expenses. Once the immediate threat of homelessness is averted, households in crisis can work with Catholic Charities case managers towards achievable economic goals, such as creating and maintaining a household budget, securing employment or a higher-paying job, securing child-care and accessing health benefits. Providing these additional services increases the knowledge base of the household and prepares them to meet and avoid future financial crises.

Bayard House is the only licensed residential program in Delaware providing direct client care service to at-risk homeless pregnant teens and young women. Bayard House also serves neighboring communities with a Food Cooperative program, and provides education on the realities of teen pregnancy to high school students through its Project Straight Talk program. Catholic Charities Pregnancy Counseling service, offered through the Bayard House program, allows an expectant mother to carry her child with dignity while making responsible decisions regarding the well being of herself and her unborn child. This service is free to the client.

Located in Milton, DE, Casa San Francisco provides shelter for up to 12 adults for approximately 30 days, as well as a wide range of services aimed at helping low-income residents of Sussex County. Shelter residents work with case managers to obtain income and find affordable local housing opportunities. Casa also operates a Food Cooperative program, a Senior Food Distribution program, and an Emergency Food Pantry. Last year 140,180 lbs. of food was distributed providing more than 116,800 meals.

Behavioral Health, Addiction Recovery Support, and Domestic Violence Services provides outpatient counseling to individuals and families with mental health concerns. Counselors help those struggling with such issues as depression and anxiety, as well as supporting recovery for individuals with substance abuse problems like addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication and behavioral addictions such as gambling, internet gaming, and sexual addictions. In Kent and Sussex Counties, seniors can receive counseling treatment at their nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Likewise, at-risk children in Kent County are able to attend counseling sessions in select elementary schools. Domestic Violence and Anger Management programs are also offered through Charities’ Counseling Services.

HIV Services provides financial coaching and case management services in addition to providing financial grants for basic living expenses for households affected by HIV/AIDS.

The Immigration Program assists individuals and families with issues related to their legal status in the United States that are causing, may cause, or have caused family separation and difficulties in personal, social and economic development. The Refugee Resettlement Program provides reception, placement and monitoring services for cases assigned through a contract with the USCCB.

Besides providing safe, affordable housing for seniors and individuals with a disability, Pastoral Services at Marydale Retirement Village offers supportive and positive assistance to tenants through its pastoral care program. The pastoral coordinator provides opportunities for residents to participate in sacramental and liturgical worship, as available, and provides information and referral services, coordinates other social services provided by government or private agencies, and helps tenants access other assistance programs, like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, food stamps, and medical assistance.

Seton Center is a multi-purpose neighborhood community center located in Princess Anne, MD. Seton Center offers a wide variety of programs to local residents, the area’s Hispanic community, and migrant farm workers. Those in need have access to the Basic Needs program, Behavioral Health Services, Immigration help, membership in the Food Cooperative, access to an Emergency Food Pantry and a Thrift Center. Seton Center also provides health screenings, women’s support groups, and information and referral services. Last year Seton Center received over 4,000 clients and distributed 110,575 lbs. of food that provided more than 92,000 meals.

Operating since the 1930’s, the Thrift Center provides quality used clothing, furniture, appliances, household goods, and mattresses, to families with limited income.


Administration & Communications

The Office of Public Relations and Media establishes and maintains positive relationships with the secular media. The office distributes news releases, oversees the diocesan website, and produces radio programs with the goal of advancing a greater understanding of the Church, Church teachings, diocesan and parish ministries and services, and the Bishop’s priorities.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington is committed to the protection and safety of children and youth. The Office of Safe Environments is charged with directing and monitoring the policies, guidelines and procedures that are designed to ensure an environment of safety for all children and youth in the diocese.  For the Sake of God’s Children is the diocese’s program focused on maintaining a safe environment for children in all educational institutions, parishes, organizations and activities of the diocese.

The Dialog, the official newspaper of the diocese, is distributed 26 times a year through parishes to 22,000 parish homes.  Its website, is also updated daily with diocesan, national and international church news.

The Tribunal is an ecclesiastical court established by the Bishop to administer justice according to the Code of Cannon Law of the Catholic Church. Most cases heard relate to the validity of marriage in the Catholic Church.