Working on poverty program, interns saw CCHD value

Categories: Around the Diocese

Collection Sept. 14-15 for annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Sept. 13, 2013, edition
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully

As an intern Laura Fanucci educated parishioners on the importance and impact of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection.

Today, about five years later, Fanucci continues to find herself integrating what she learned and taught into everyday living.

Adobe Photoshop PDF“It helped me to see how Catholic social teaching and the work our church does on social justice is central to who I am as a Catholic; it is central to who we are as a church,” she said. “It’s part of how I raise my kids, it’s part of how I live out my marriage and it’s part of whatever work I’m doing. Heart for justice and heart for the poor has to be at the heart of what we are doing.”

After relocating, Fanucci and her husband joined a parish with a strong social justice ministry to help her kids learn the value of it. Working for the Collegeville Institute on an ecumenical research project on calling and living out one’s faith, she keeps her lessons on CCHD in mind.

“CCHD’s teachings on poverty and social justice have informed that too,” she said, “because we’re all called to work for justice and we’re all called to serve others through whatever professional work or personal relationships we have.”

CCHD is a program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designed to alleviate the root causes of poverty.

Local groups funded

This year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection in the St. Cloud Diocese is Sept. 14 and 15.

CCHD was established in 1970 and has since funded numerous groups locally and across the United States. Local grants in 2012 and 2013 were awarded to Wadena Microfinance Enterprise, Casa Guadalupe, New Beginnings and a local group activity for Asamblea de Derechos Civiles de Minnesota.

The internship position is funded through a national CCHD grant. Interns write articles, speak in parishes, visit CCHD funded groups, organize events and examine their Gospel calling to the poor and vulnerable.

Rebecca Kotz, CCHD intern of 2012-13, found the experience valuable as well.

“One of the great things I got out of it was a greater knowledge of Catholic social teaching and how that plays out in the world politically, socially, economically and how the church responds to different social concerns,” Kotz said.

She wrote articles, attended taskforce meetings, helped organize a parish social ministry conference, spoke about the CCHD collection and helped sort through grant applications.

Kotz, a political science major at St. Cloud State University and founder of Students Against Trafficking and Sexploitation, hopes to continue to work on human rights issues in her career.

Current CCHD intern Ruth Knowles, a senior at St. Cloud State University, looks forward to educating people and spreading the word on CCHD.

“It’s important that people are aware of CCHD,” Knowles said. “It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up. It’s helping people make communities safer places and better places to be.”

CCHD funds groups that reflect Catholic moral and social teaching on human life and dignity, according to its website.

Kathy Langer, diocesan director of CCHD, sees the campaign making a difference for people.

“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development asks the tough questions, ‘Why are people hungry? Why are people unemployed? Why are people not making enough money to feed their family?’ and then looks for answers,” Langer said.

“This funding helps people regain their dignity. The Catholic Church is all about human life and human dignity. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development really does empower people to believe in themselves and to accomplish things they couldn’t otherwise do on their own.”

Twenty-five percent of the funds raised will stay in the St. Cloud Diocese to fund local programs.

Recipient of local funding, the Wadena Microfinance Enterprise helps local entrepreneurs with a microfinance program.

Casa Guadalupe, based in Cold Spring, provides programming and services to empower Central Minnesotan immigrants to be socially, economically and civically engaged in their communities.

New Beginnings is a residential program in St. Cloud for pregnant women, new mothers and their babies. Asamblea de Derechos Civiles de Minnesota is working on immigration reform.

Broad reach

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised will be awarded to groups receiving national grants. National grants have been awarded to organizations such as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), T Riders Union Project of Alternatives for Community Environment in Roxbury, Mass., Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Network of Minnesota and Hands Across the World of St. Cloud.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement works to preserve family farms by advocating for the enforcement of existing water and air pollution laws and local control of zoning and placement of new animal processing factories.

The T Riders Union Project of Alternatives for Community Environment seeks to ensure equity, affordability and quality service for low-income transit-dependent riders.

The Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Network of Minnesota provides support, education and advocacy to peers, family members, mental health providers, policy makers and the general public. Hands Across the World, which helps newly arrived immigrants with cultural, social, economic, English language and life skills, used the funding to coordinate servant leadership training and educate and initiate a taskforce on human trafficking.

Local groups are invited to apply for national and local grants.

Thorough screening

For an organization to receive local funding, it must contact the local CCHD office, participate in a site visit, fill out an application form and receive approval from Bishop John Kinney.

To receive national funding, groups must fill out a pre-application, complete a full application, participate in a site visit and receive approval from a local grants committee, Bishop Kinney and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ CCHD subcommittee. Pre-applications are open now. See the CCHD website for more information.

CCHD does not fund groups that violate fundamental Catholic teaching, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website. Langer said the U.S. Bishops have worked hard to address questions on how the funding is used. More information on their processes and accountability measures is available on the CCHD website.

Parishioners can donate to the campaign by putting money in their envelope that is in their packet of Sunday offering envelopes. Contact your parish for details on how the checks should be written out. Usually, these checks can be addressed to the parish. Include “CCHD collection” in the memo line.

Donations can also be sent to the Diocese of St. Cloud, P.O. Box 1248, St. Cloud MN 56302. Checks mailed to the diocese should be written out to “Diocese of St. Cloud.” Include in the memo line “CCHD collection.” For more information about the CCHD collection, contact Langer at: 320-229-6020 or check out the CCHD website at: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/.