Dear Friends of Catholic Charities,
It is a pleasure for me to once again present you with this Annual Report for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. In 2011, the State of Illinois unjustly terminated its foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities due to our sincerely held religious beliefs. It was a very difficult time in our long history and this politically motivated action by the State had devastating consequences for Catholic Charities across Illinois. In the Springfield Diocese, we at Catholic Charities suffered profound financial hardship and the emotional trauma of losing dozens of loyal employees and friends. We were publicly ridiculed and deemed no longer worthy of caring for abused and neglected children as we had faithfully done for decades. However, despite these crippling setbacks, we refused to just go away. Through the leadership of Bishop Paprocki and the Catholic Charities Corporate Board of Directors, we began to reexamine our mission and to explore other ways we could fulfill our religious obligations to serve the poor and suffering. In a very real sense, we began to “open our eyes” to other unfulfilled societal needs and injustices.
In asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit, what we found was a vast array of opportunities to serve. We found thousands of people living in remote, rural communities who were hungry. We found people who were being unjustly persecuted in the legal system with no ability to defend themselves. We found opportunities to partner with Catholic hospitals to serve people living in poverty struggling to meet their basic health needs. We found immigrants who wanted to pursue citizenship, but did not have the financial means and expertise to accomplish this dream. In short, what we found was that there is no shortage of people in desperate situations needing to be shown the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since 2011, Catholic Charities has worked hard to expand its services every year. What has sustained us has been our unwavering faith and the incredible support from our donors, board members and volunteers. It would have been impossible to have “rebounded” so strongly without the critical contributions of time, talent and treasure that all of you have committed to our mission. Not only did Catholic Charities survive, but we have thrived on the inspiration and dedication of those who selflessly give so that others may not suffer. It has been an honor for me to witness this tangible example of the simple truth that all things are possible under God. I humbly ask for your continued support of our efforts and to pray for those who cry out for mercy.
Steven E. Roach, MS
Diocese of Springfield in Illinois