Annual Catholic Appeal – Supported Ministries and Services

ACA 2017Here are the programs supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal:


Catholic Education

Catholic Campus Ministry provides an international faith community which serves as the students’ parish family while in school. It provides prayer services, retreats, faith formation, leadership and ministry training, service opportunities, ecumenical fellowship, social events, spiritual direction, Confirmation classes, and weekly Mass to assist those seeking to be in communion with the Catholic Church.

Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Wilmington serve more than 10,000 students each day. The mission of Catholic schools is to educate students as citizens of the world: knowledgeable, dedicated to service, and open to the calling of Jesus Christ and the Gospel in the Catholic tradition. In Catholic schools students pray, learn, and celebrate the faith each day enhanced by regular opportunities for worship and service. Catholic schools are centers of academic rigor.  The curriculum is enriched by one-to-one technology initiatives (individual mobile devices such as iPads, tablets, etc.), arts integration programs, advanced placement courses and college dual-enrollment programs, virtual learning opportunities, co-and extra-curricular activities, and athletics.  Annual assessment data demonstrate that students score well above national and state averages on standardized testing at the elementary and secondary levels. In Catholic schools students receive an outstanding education with 99% continuing their studies at the university level. Catholic education is holistic in developing the mind, body, and spirit.

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 we provide opportunities for young people to lead on the diocesan level through the Youth Leadership Team. We also encourage and promote the practice of good sportsmanship and living a healthy lifestyle through CYM Sports. One of our largest annual events is our Youth Pilgrimage, which provides an opportunity to engage youth and young adults as active members of the universal church. In addition to the work and service we provide the youth of the diocese our ministry also provides training opportunities for those individuals who work directly with our youth. These trainings ensure that they are up to date on all the current laws and procedures while also providing them with the most up to date and effective methods to connect and minister to the youth.

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.

The Office for Marriage and Family Life (OMFL) provides Catholic formational and informational programs for parishes, couples, and families.  Pre-Cana prepares engaged couples for the Sacrament of Matrimony through a series of workshops.  Other programs address topics such as couples entering a second marriage, blended families, Natural Family Planning, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and Retrouvaille.  The OMFL also facilitates various events in the Diocese which support marriage and family goals, including but not limited to “Family Day” and “World Marriage Day” and coordinates the Annual Bishop’s Wedding Anniversary Mass and reception.

The Office of Religious Education functions as a resource to parishes to promote the catechetical ministry of the Diocese as articulated by the Bishop of Wilmington. Catechesis is from the Greek word meaning to echo, or resound. The aim of catechesis is to lead people into communion with Jesus Christ, to encounter Him, and to discover the meaning of their lives in Him. The Office of Religious Education supports ongoing spiritual and professional development for parish Directors of Religious Education, catechists, and parents participating in the catechetical mission the Church. All members of the Church have been invited to participate in its catechetical mission, but their role is more defined; to form intentional disciples. Through an authentic transmission of the faith, catechists prepare children, young people, and adults to enter into the fullness of Christian life and to live as they have been taught. The Office of Religious Education supports faith formation in all stages of development and serves more than 10,000 students per year in 52 Religious Education programs throughout the Diocese of Wilmington.

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 to achieve economic goals such as create and maintain a household budget, secure employment or a higher-paying job, secure child-care and access health benefits. These services increase the knowledge base of the household, preparing the client to meet and avoid future financial crises. Last year, Catholic Charities served over 5,400 individuals through Basic Needs.

Bayard House is the only licensed residential program in Delaware providing food, shelter, and direct client care to at-risk, homeless, pregnant, and newly parenting teens and young women. The program strives to have mom deliver a healthy baby and become a self-sufficient head of household. The Bayard House Diaper Bank program makes available diapers to qualifying families six times a year, and its Food Cooperative provides monthly food distributions. 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. The Project Straight Talk program provides education on the realities of teen pregnancy to high school students.

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. Last year, 100 persons found shelter at Casa San Francisco. Casa also operates the largest Food Assistanceprogram in Sussex County, serving 12 sites throughout the County. In addition to shelter services, Catholic Charities now offers Basic Needs, Immigration, and Behavioral Health services at the Casa location.

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 are able to attend counseling sessions in select elementary schools. Domestic Violence and Anger Management programs are also offered through Charities’ Counseling Services. Catholic Charities counselors treated 675 clients last year through its many services.

Food assistance provides a sustainable source of nutritious food to individuals who are at risk of hunger. Charities operates two types of programs: food cooperatives which provide monthly food packages for qualified households, and emergency pantries to provide 2-3 days of food for households in crisis. Cooperatives are located at Bayard House, the Kent County Office, Casa San Francisco, the Sussex County Office, and Seton Center. Emergency pantries are located at Casa and Seton Center. Casa also operates a Senior Food Distribution program. Over 5,100 households received food from at least one of Catholic Charities food assistance programs in the past year.

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. Catholic Charities provides service to unaccompanied minors who arrive in Delaware, making available basic needs support including food and clothing as well as immigration counseling and links to legal assistance. The Refugee Resettlement Program provides reception, placement and monitoring services for cases assigned through a contract with the USCCB. The two programs provided services to 427 individuals last year.

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, and Food Assistance. Seton Center also provides health screenings, women’s support groups and information and referral services. Last year Seton Center provided service to 1,177 households.

Operating since the 1930’s, Thrift Services provides quality used clothing, furniture, appliances, household goods, and mattresses to families with limited income. Thrift Servicesalso provides these items to clients in need at all Catholic Charities locations. There are two Thrift Centers where shoppers can purchase goods – a large one in Wilmington offering furniture, appliances, and mattresses as well as clothing and small household goods, and a smaller one at Seton Center offering clothing and household goods.

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.

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 of Hispanic Ministry assists parishes and diocesan offices in realizing their mission to the Hispanic flock. The Hispanic Ministry 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. Twenty 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.

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 also serve as a bridge between clergy and laity. Deacons presently serve in all but six parishes in the Diocese of Wilmington. Eighty-six deacons currently minister in the diocese with another eight deacon candidates in their fifth year of Deacon Formation, anticipating ordination in August 2017. Additionally, 21 men were accepted into diaconal formation in 2016. They have begun a five-year process of spiritual, pastoral and academic formation.

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 from over 35 religious communities which reflect diversity in charisms, ministry and cultures. Every year new communities of religious come into this diocese. There is a great spirit among the religious men and women who value working together to spread the gospel and serve the needs of the people of God.

The Office of Worship assists the Bishop, Priests, and Deacons of the Diocese in their preparation and enrichment regarding the proper and prayerful celebration of the Church’s Liturgy. The Office of Worship also assists in providing resources for sacramental and liturgical formation for parishes, schools, and diocesan organizations. It offers consultation, training programs, and resources for liturgical ministers and parish musicians. The Office is also responsible for diocesan liturgical celebrations at which the Bishop celebrates

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 by cooperating with pro-life groups like 40 Days for Life, Delaware Right to Life, and advocates for abolishing the death penalty and preventing Physician Assisted Suicide.  The office sees to the distribution of materials for Respect Life Month and of other information throughout the year.

Administration & Communications

The Office of Public Relations and Media strives to establish and maintain positive relationships with the secular media. The office distributes news releases, oversees the diocesan website, and produces and distributes radio programs with the goal of advancing a greater understanding of the Gospel, the Church and its teachings, diocesan and parish ministries and services and the Bishop’s priorities. The Office oversees use of emerging social media such as Facebook and YouTube as well as emerging communications media such as podcasting, and consults with other diocesan departments, schools, parishes, and other ministries in the area of internal and external communications and media relations.

Office of Safe Environments

The year 2017 marks fifteen years since the inception of For the Sake of God’s Children, the safe environment program of the Diocese of Wilmington. During this time span, thousands of people throughout the Diocese in parishes, schools, and diocesan organizations have undergone background checks and have received clearance through For the Sake of God’s Children to minister and work in some capacity with children and youth.

Each year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops evaluates and audits all the dioceses’ safe environment programs throughout the country.  Over the fifteen year history, including the current year, this Diocese has received successful evaluations and audits, and has been found in complete compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

For the Sake of God’s Children is designed to ensure a safe environment for all children and youth in the Diocese of Wilmington.  Details can be found on the diocesan website.

The Dialog, the official newspaper of the diocese, is distributed 26 times a year through churches to 20,000 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 Canon Law of the Catholic Church.  Most cases heard relate to the validity of marriage in the Catholic Church.