Here are the programs supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal:
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. Institutional chaplains are the face of Christ to those they service in the special corners of the diocese in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore Counties.
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. Currently, 19 parishes serve as regional Hispanic Ministry Centers, addressing the various liturgical, formation, apostolic, and outreach needs. Also, weekly masses are regularly celebrated in Spanish seasonably at two migrant laborer camps.
The Ministry for Black Catholics of the Diocese of Wilmington represents Catholics of African Descent as we work in collaboration with other departments within the diocese. The Ministry seeks to explore and implement evangelization efforts needed to lift the spirits of Black Catholics, and to bring others, both churched and unchurched into the family of the Body of Christ. The diocese values Black Catholics and is sensitive to the needs of the Black Community. Evangelization, especially of the youth, is very important and essential to the Church.
The Office for Marriage and Family Life provides and supports educational and pastoral programs for individuals, couples and families. The office extends to all boundaries of the diocese by providing marriage preparation courses, offering Engaged Encounter weekend retreats, and assisting couples who will remarry in the Church prepare for their new life. Additionally, OMFL provides enrichment, support and healing to widowed, separated and divorced persons and works with the bishop to celebrate the gift of sacramental marriage through an 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.
The Office of Worship working with the Bishop is charged with the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The office develops and deepens the liturgical life of the 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. This year the office has played a role also in the struggle over religious liberty issues. The director consults with individuals on questions of bioethics, and the Respect Life Committee works to maintain a united front
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. Seventy-eight deacons currently minister in the diocese with 10 deacon candidates in their final year of formation for ordination in August 2013. A new class of 10 men is in the first year of discernment. An additional 17 deacons are retired. 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 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.
Catholic Campus Ministry provides an international faith community which serves as the students’ parish family while in school. It provides weekly Masses, prayer services, retreats, faith formation, leadership and ministry training, service opportunities, ecumenical fellowship, social events, spiritual direction, Confirmation classes, and RCIA training to assist those seeking to be in communion with the Catholic Church.
Our Catholic Schools educate students in the light of Jesus Christ. Formation in Catholic faith and quality academics are complimented by a wide array of extra-curricular, co-curricular and service opportunities. Catholic school students receive an outstanding education with 99% going on to university study. National achievement testing indicates that students perform well above the national average. Students are invited to value the role of faith in learning and to understand the importance of service to parish, community and the world.
Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry is committed to engaging leaders at the local level. Working with youth ministry leaders in parishes and schools, CYM helps assess the needs of young people and identify opportunities for faith formation. Working with organizers of young adult groups, CYM provides leadership development opportunities and facilitates communication among those involved in young adult and campus ministry programs. To support our work, CYM offers Pitcher and Basin, Youth Leadership Team, CYM Sports, the Young Adult Leadership Committee, and the annual Pilgrimage as ways to engage youth and young adults as active members of the local universal church.
Deaf Ministry is a collaborative effort with Religious from the Philadelphia region who specialize in work with this community. Through the ministry, sacramental and spiritual nourishment for the deaf community is the focus. Each Sunday, an interpreted Mass is held in at least one location in the diocese. Notably, there are interpreters at each 10:30 Sunday Mass at St. Catherine of Siena in Wilmington. When necessary, the diocese also helps provide interpreter services to assist deaf children who participate in a religious education program.
Office for Religious Education upholds the ministry of the Bishop as the diocese’s chief teacher and supports parishes and schools as they work to proclaim the Gospel and catechize adults, youth, and children in their communities. The office provides training programs and workshops for catechists and guidance to DRE’s, CRE’s including sponsoring of graduate level formation programs and encouraging each parish to strive for excellence in their catechetical ministry. In partnership with the University of Notre Dame, the ORE supports the Echo program to form the next generation of leaders for the Church. The office continues its efforts to encourage and support greater partnerships between the parish and school catechetical programs and the households of faith.
Special Needs Ministry offers religious formation programs for children, youth and adults. In addition to overall religious education, these programs help those with special needs prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. There are currently two parish centers offering religious formation that are staffed by catechists with special training. The diocese also provides assistance to those parishes who offer special needs programs on their local level. In addition, the diocese sponsors regular prayer groups for members of the adult Faith and Light community.
Catholic Charities’ Basic Needs Program helps low-income individuals and families to become more self-sufficient. The program provides eligible clients with financial grants for basic living expenses, budget guidance to enhance financial stability, information about and referrals to additional community services, and case management coordination.
Bayard House provides a safe, secure residence to homeless, pregnant teens and young women. The only licensed residential program in Delaware providing direct client care service 24/7 to at-risk homeless pregnant and/or newly parenting adolescents and women, Bayard House is at the heart of the mission of Catholic Charities. 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 at the Bayard House site, allows the expecting mother to carry her child with dignity while making well thought-out decisions. This service is free to the client.
Located in Milton, DE, Casa San Francisco provides shelter for up to 10 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. When their stay has ended, residents may be able to continue working with Casa staff for additional support and case management. Casa also operates two food distribution programs and an emergency food pantry which have seen distributions of groceries double in the last two years.
Counseling, Substance Abuse, 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 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. A Spanish-speaking clinician in New Castle County provides service for Latino clients and families. Domestic Violence and Anger Management programs are also offered through Charities’ Counseling Services.
HIV Services provide emotional, educational, material and financial support and programs for persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families through emergency financial assistance, budget guidance, eyeglasses, medication co-pay assistance, transportation help, and information and referral services.
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, 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 can obtain basic needs assistance, mental health counseling, and immigration help in addition to periodic food cooperative distributions, emergency food packages, new and gently used clothing and household goods, health screenings, women’s support groups, and information and referral services.
Operating since the 1930’s, the Thrift Center provides quality used clothing, furniture, appliances, household goods, mattresses, to families with limited income. The Thrift Center is also home to The Market, a partnership with the Food Bank of DE that provides a low-cost resource for groceries to area residents.
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 Dialog is the official newspaper of the diocese, is distributed 26 times a year through parishes to 25,000 parish homes. Its website, www.the dialog.org is also updated daily with diocesan, national and international church news.