Mass and Yale Club Event Puts the Spotlight on Organization’s Mission to Build and Strengthen Catholic Faith in America’s Poorest Communities.
(November 1, 2013) More than 200 Catholics from across Greater New York City gathered for a sold-out dinner event Tuesday October 22nd with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, to learn more about the transformative power of faith and how Catholic Extension inspires hope and ignites change in America’s poorest Catholic communities. Earlier in the day, Fr. Jack Wall, president, Catholic Extension concelebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“I have been a fan for decades of Catholic Extension,” said Cardinal Dolan. “Just as Pope Francis has caught the imagination of the world by saying the Church has got to go out to the highways and byways, Catholic Extension has been doing that for decades...when you have a jewel like Catholic Extension, it deserves national support.”
Catholic Extension, based in Chicago Ill., is a national organization started in 1905 with a mission to build faith across the country. It serves 91 poor dioceses, representing nearly half of the country’s dioceses, by investing in people, ministry and infrastructure. Catholic Extension is responsible for building more than 12,000 churches and in some dioceses is responsible for building 100 percent of its parish churches so that American Catholics can experience the fullness of their faith.
“Every Catholic in the United States ought to be involved in Catholic Extension,” explained Fr. Wall. “This is our responsibility as American Catholics to continue to build up communities of faith that are transformative in the world in which we live. It is also one of the most patriotic things we can do. If we can bring the poor into deep and rich experiences in the Church, it is transformative in the society as well.”
Demonstrating the transformative power of faith, three women religious, the Felician Sisters, recipients of the 2012 Lumen Christi Award and grant from Catholic Extension, shared their stories of how they helped ignite change and inspire hope in a racially divided and religiously-conflicted community in impoverished Williamsburg County, South Carolina.
“Where you find Catholics living their faith in impoverished communities, you experience faith’s transformative power, for their faith in God is the one thing that tells them every day that they are more than their circumstances,” Fr. Wall explained. “And, living from this faith inspires hope and that hope ignites change--change in the hearts of individuals, in their communities and in their society.”
Catholic Extension is funded by the generosity of individual donors and foundations nationwide. The work of Catholic Extension, including the Young Leadership initiative developed through partnerships with Fordham University, Boston College and the University of Notre Dame, receives significant support from Catholics in the Archdiocese of New York and the Northeast.
To learn more about Catholic Extension, please contact Kathleen Gunn, 212-849-6810, firstname.lastname@example.org.