Catholic Charities of the three dioceses in Colorado—Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo—was recognized by Gov. John Hickenlooper when he proclaimed Jan. 22 “Catholic Charities Day” in the state.
The three agencies combine to “comprise the largest nonprofit charitable social service organization in Colorado,” the governor wrote in a formal proclamation—serving more than a half-million Coloradans each year through nearly 40 programs in three primary areas: family and child care, women’s services, and housing and shelter.
“Catholic Charities has long been an advocate in the public arena for the poor, the oppressed and the vulnerable in our society,” Hickenlooper wrote, “providing a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
The morning of Jan. 22 at the regular session of the general assembly at the state Capitol, the three archdiocesan directors—Larry Smith, Archdiocese of Denver; Mark Rohlena, Diocese of Colorado Springs; and Joe Mahoney, Diocese of Pueblo—were introduced and recognized by the legislature.
Smith was introduced by Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver; Rohlena by Rep. Tim Dore, R-Elizabeth; and Mahoney by Rep. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. Additional representatives took the floor to praise the work of Charities, including Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, parishioner of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
“Today we highlighted the great work that Catholic Charities does in Colorado, particularly with the homeless, and the great work they do for women,” Williams told the Denver Catholic Register. “There are so many women that are single parents, who may be with child, and need help—who need shelter, food.
“They don’t ask what your denomination is, they just help people,” she said, adding that she was also impressed with the agency’s response to natural disasters, including $2.4 million raised to help with disaster relief following last September’s Front Range flooding.
“Catholic Charities plays a vital role in our society for people who find themselves in trouble and in moments of need,” added Dore, a parishioner of Our Lady of the Visitation in Kiowa in the Colorado Springs Diocese. “They extend that mission of the Church to bring Christ’s light to them—and help bring them back to a place where life is better.”
Last year Catholic Charities’ ministries combined to provided 1.1 million nights of shelter and 635,000 meals to clients.