Faith and Charity Catholic Appeal – Ministries Supported by the Appeal



Ministry Descriptions

Following is a description of the ministries supported by the Faith and Charity Catholic Appeal:

 Catholic Education

Our Catholic Schools serve nearly 10,000 students each day. Our schools are characterized by five words – Believe; Learn; Serve; Lead; Succeed – describing the mission and ministry of almost 900 educators each day in 36 Catholic elementary, and high schools.  Our students pray, learn, and celebrate the faith daily enhanced by regular opportunities for worship and service and receive an outstanding education with 99% continuing their studies in colleges, universities, or other post-secondary programs.

The Office of Religious Education functions as a resource to parishes to promote the catechetical ministry as articulated by our Bishop.  The Office supports ongoing spiritual and professional development for parish DRE’s, catechists, and parents serving more than 10,000 students per year in 52 Religious Education programs throughout the diocese.

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 in addition to the practice of good sportsmanship through CYM sports.  Programs like March for Life, Youth Leadership Team, and the annual Youth Pilgrimage help to empower young people for leadership with their peers, in their schools, in the Church and their community at large.

The Office for Marriage and Family Life provides Catholic formational and informational programs for parishes, couples, and families. Pre-Cana classes prepare engaged couples for the Sacrament of Matrimony.  Other programs address topics such as remarriage, blended families, natural family planning, miscarriage and loss of a child through our FootPrints Ministry – Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and Retrouvaille.  The Office also facilitates various events supporting marriage and family goals such as World Marriage Day and the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass.

Special Needs Ministry offers religious formation programs for children, youth and adults and helps individuals prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.  Through Special Needs Ministry, the diocese provides assistance and consultation to parishes to help them offer an inclusive environment to support special needs programs on their local level.

Catholic Campus Ministry provides a faith community which serves as the students’ parish family while they study at a college or university within the diocese.  Prayer services, retreats, faith formation, leadership and ministry training, service opportunities, ecumenical fellowship, social events, and spiritual direction are offered depending upon interest and resources.  Mass is celebrated weekly either on campus or in the parish of the college or university.

Deaf Ministry offers sacramental and spiritual support and nourishment to those in the hearing impaired community.  A signed Mass is now offered bi-monthly and interpreted (ASL) masses are held each Sunday in at least one diocesan location.  Particularly, there are interpreters at each Sunday 9:15 a.m. Mass held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, in Bear, Delaware.


Pastoral Services

The Office of Hispanic Ministry assists parishes and diocesan offices in realizing their mission to Hispanic communities fostering the development of spirituality, community building, social action, and leadership and theological formation.  Twenty parishes serve as regional Hispanic Ministry Centers and weekly Masses are regularly celebrated in Spanish seasonably at two migrant laborer camps.

The Office of Pro-Life Activities provides programs and information to strengthen our witness on issues related to the dignity and value of all human life.  The Respect Life activities 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.

Ministry for Black Catholics explores and implements 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.

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 and provide spiritual support and guidance to civil service and law-enforcement personnel.

Ordained Deacons serve the diocese through their threefold ministry of Liturgy, Word, and Charity.  Eighty-five permanent deacons, of which 17 were ordained in 2021, are serving in all but eight parishes in the diocese.  Nineteen men are participating in the Deacon Formation Program’s inquiry year.  The next ordination will be in early 2029.  This year, we had one ordination to the transitional diaconate (James Gebhart) and one ordination to the priesthood (Father Enemuo).  We currently have 10 seminarians.

 The Office of Vocations supporting those called to religious life and caring for our seminarians. Nurturing vocations carries the light of Christ and our Church into the future.  To date, our diocese includes 98 diocesan priests, 138 women religious, 121 permanent deacons and 67 men religious.


Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities addresses human suffering and promotes restoration and well-being by providing caring services to families and individuals in need, particularly those most vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved.  Catholic Charities heeds its call to care for the least among us by supporting those who face complex social problems such as teen pregnancy, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, chronic poverty, and mental illness.

LIHEAP  LIHEAP services include several programs open to families who meet eligibility qualifications.  The Fuel Assistance Program provides one annual benefit of home heating assistance for low income families who need help paying winter energy bills.  The Energy Crisis Intervention Program provides help to eligible households in an emergency situation.  The Summer Cooling/ Electric Assistance Program provides help to low-income families by paying a portion of summer electric bills.  The Weatherization Assistance Program maximizes energy savings and improves a family’s health and safety in the home.

Casa San Francisco in Milton provides shelter for up to 12 adults for approximately 30 days, as well as a wide range of services aimed at helping those who need it most in Sussex County.  Shelter residents work with case managers to obtain income and find affordable housing opportunities.  In 2023, Casa provided 3,650 days of care to homeless individuals in Sussex County and 2,422 people were served.  Casa San Francisco also operates the most extensive Food Assistance program in Sussex County, distributing over 80,170 lbs. of food.

Bayard House, the only licensed residential program in Delaware, provides direct client care service to at-risk homeless, pregnant, or newly parenting adolescents and women.  Bayard House provided 3,040 days of care to moms and babies in 2023 who would otherwise be homeless.  The Bayard House Diaper Bank program, distributed over 20,500 diapers to families in need.  The Diaper Bank makes available diapers to qualifying families six times a year.  The Diaper Bank located at Bayard House is an affiliate of the National Diaper Bank Network, providing free diapers to qualifying households. Participating households must meet income guidelines.  Diaper Bank members receive a distribution of diapers for children up to the age of 3 and up to six times a year.

Seton Center, a multi-purpose neighborhood community center located in Princess Anne, MD, responds to the needs of residents, the area’s Hispanic community, and migrant farmworkers by offering a 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.  Seton Center served 4,269 individuals in 2023, of which 3,212 were basic needs and 1,057 were through the pantry.

Catholic Charities’ Food Assistance food cooperatives and emergency pantries provide a sustainable source of nutritious food to individuals at risk of hunger.  Cooperatives are located at the Wilmington Thrift Center, 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.  In 2022, over 5,000 individuals received food from at least one of the Catholic Charities Food Assistance programs.

The Immigration Program assists individuals and families with issues related to their legal status in the United States. Catholic Charities provides services to single adults, families, women with children, and unaccompanied minors who arrive in Delaware.

Basic Needs Program assists low-income individuals and families through financial coaching and case management services and provides financial grants for basic living expenses.  Households in crisis can work with case managers to achieve economic goals such as creating and maintaining a household budget, securing employment or a higher-paying job, securing child-care, and accessing health benefits.

Behavioral Health Services Program offers routine and community-based outpatient therapy services to individuals throughout the State of Delaware.  The program functions as a community mental health provider targeting all populations, including adults, adolescents, children, families, and couples with mental health, relational, behavioral, or substance abuse issues.  The program provides services to all individuals regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or age.

Marydale Retirement Village  Marydale Village is a subsidized, independent living housing community for low income seniors aged 62+, or 18+ and have a physical disability.  Those who meet income eligibility guidelines must be able to live independently, including bathing, dressing, meals, taking meds, and keeping unit in order.  The facility is pet-friendly, holds monthly planned activities, and is easily accessible to shopping and major highways. Located on 18 acres in Newark, Delaware, Marydale comprises 108 individual apartments that are rented exclusively to low-income seniors and disabled people.  Marydale residents live independently and enjoy the companionship of peers in a unique, garden-style community.  Without the opportunity to live at Marydale, many of its residents would be at risk of homelessness.


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/podcasts 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 and consults with other diocesan departments, schools, parishes, and other ministries in the area of internal and external communications and media relations.

The Office of Safe Environment ensures the protection and safety of children and youth.  The Office is charged with directing and monitoring the policies, guidelines and procedures designed to safeguard an environment of safety for all children and youth in the diocese.

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.