Catholic charities

Catholic charities refer to a number of Catholic charitable organisations.

Catholic spiritual teaching includes spreading the Gospel while Catholic social teaching emphasises support for the sick, the poor and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental provider of education and medical services in the world.[1]

Some charitable organisations are listed below.


The Catholic church has had a long tradition of co-ordinating charity to the poor, something that was closely linked to the early Christian eucharist, with the office of deacon being started for this purpose.[2]

Over time this became a part of the bishop's responsibilities and then from the fourth century onwards was decentralised to parishes and monastic orders. After the reformation the church lost a large amount of property in both Catholic and Protestant countries, and after a period of sharply increased poverty poor relief had to become more tax based.

List of Catholic charities

See also


  1. ^ Agnew, John (12 February 2010). "Deus Vult: The Geopolitics of Catholic Church". Geopolitics. 15 (1): 39–61. doi:10.1080/14650040903420388.
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Care of the Poor by the Church" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
Aid to the Church in Need

Aid to the Church in Need (German: Kirche in Not, Italian: Aiuto alla Chiesa che Soffre) is an international Catholic pastoral aid organization, which yearly offers financial support to more than 5,000 projects worldwide. It aims to help Christians in need wherever they are repressed or persecuted and therefore prevented from living according to their faith.

Aid to the Church in Need's General Secretariat and Project Headquarters is in Königstein, Germany. With 23 national offices, Aid to the Church in Need provides aid to Catholic communities in more than 140 countries around the world.


An almshouse (also known as a bede-house or poorhouse) is charitable housing provided to people in a particular community. They are often targeted at the poor of a locality, at those from certain forms of previous employment, or their widows, and at elderly people who can no longer pay rent, and are generally maintained by a charity or the trustees of a bequest. Almshouses were originally formed as extensions of the church system and were later adapted by local officials and authorities.

Ascension (company)

Ascension is the largest Catholic health system in the world and the largest non-profit health system in the United States with facilities in 23 states and the District of Columbia. It is a faith-based collaboration of hospitals, medical practices, and innovators that shares best practices and the objective of developing healthier communities throughout the United States by community outreach and researching means of reducing the cost of healthcare. The organization is headquartered within Greater St. Louis in the northwestern suburb of Edmundson, Missouri.

In its fiscal year ending 30 June 2014, Ascension provided $1.8 billion for programs that benefit communities and that care for indigents. Subsidiaries of Ascension provide various services including health care delivery, physician practice management, venture capital investing, treasury management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

Caritas Internationalis

Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Collectively and individually their claimed mission is to work to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed. The first Caritas organisation was established by Lorenz Werthmann on 9 November 1897 in Germany. Other national Caritas organisations were soon formed in Switzerland (1901) and the United States (Catholic Charities, 1910).

Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities is a network of charities with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2005 Forbes magazine ranked it as the fifth largest charity in the United States in terms of total revenue. The organization serves millions of people a year, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds

Catholic Charities USA is a member of Caritas Internationalis, an international federation of Catholic social service organizations. Catholic Charities USA is the national office of 165 local Catholic Charities agencies nationwide.

Founded in 1910 as the National Conference of Catholic Charities, the organization changed its name in 1986 to Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). CCUSA's president and CEO, Sister Donna Markham OP, Ph.D., is the first female president to lead CCUSA in the organization's 105-year history. She has held this position since 2015.Their motto is "Working to reduce poverty in America". Their mission statement is "The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of good will to do the same."

Community of Sant'Egidio

The Community of Sant'Egidio (Italian: Comunità di Sant'Egidio) is a lay Catholic association dedicated to social service, that arose in 1968 under the leadership of Andrea Riccardi. The group grew and in 1973 was given a home at the former Carmelite monastery and church of Sant'Egidio in Rome. In 1986 it received recognition from the Vatican as an international association of the faithful. Its activities include the Church's evening prayer together daily as a stimulus for lending assistance to the whole spectrum of needy persons: "lonely and non-self-sufficient elderly, immigrants and homeless people, terminally ill and HIV/AIDS patients, children at risk of deviance and marginalization, nomads and physically and mentally handicapped, drug addicts, victims of war, and prisoners."

Sant'Egidio consists of a network of small communities of fraternal life spread in 73 countries distributed as follows: Africa (29), Asia (7), Europe (23), North America (8), South America (5). There are about 50,000 community members. It takes an ecumenical approach to its work.

Sant'Egidio has been honored for its effectiveness in peace negotiations and in addressing the AIDs epidemic in Africa. It also has a high profile in its opposition to capital punishment.


A diaconia was originally an establishment built near a church building, for the care of the poor and distribution of the church's charity in medieval Rome or Naples (the successor to the Roman grain supply system, often standing on the very sites of its stationes annonae). Examples included the sites of San Vito, Santi Alessio e Bonifacio, and Sant'Agatha in Rome, San Gennaro in Naples (headed by a deacon named John in the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth century.The word has now come to mean the titular church of a Cardinal Deacon.

An alternative spelling, diakonia, is a Christian theological term from Greek that encompasses the call to serve the poor and oppressed. The terms deaconess and diaconate also come from the same root, which refers to the emphasis on service within those vocations.

Diakonia is a term derived from Greek, used in the Bible, New Testament, with different meanings. Sometimes, refers to the specific kind to help any people in need. At other times, it means to serve the tables, and still others, refers to the distribution of financial resources.

Also in contemporary theology the word diakonia presents a variety of connotations and representations. For FLD (Diakonal Lutherans Foundation in Brazil)[1], diakonia means serve to change people's lives, to contribute to the construction of citizenship of the less fortunate.

Also in some South American countries it is a native meal.

Edward D. Head

Edward D. Head (August 5, 1919 – March 29, 2005) was the 11th Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York from 1973-1995.


L'Arche is an international private voluntary organization that works for the creation and growth of homes, programs, and support networks with people who have intellectual disabilities. It was founded in 1964 when Jean Vanier, the son of Canadian Governor General Georges Vanier and Pauline Vanier, welcomed two men with disabilities into his home in the town of Trosly-Breuil, France. Today, it is an international organisation operating 147 communities in 35 countries, and on five continents.Worldwide, L’Arche is organized into regional and national groupings of independent, locally operated agencies which it calls “communities." Each L'Arche community normally comprises a number of homes and, in many cases, apartments and day programs as well.

List of Catholic charities in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York covers New York, Bronx, and Richmond Counties in New York City (coterminous with the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, respectively), as well as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties in New York state. It is home to over 100 charitable organizations, run by many different religious orders, as well as by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese.

Malteser International

Malteser International is an international non-governmental aid agency for humanitarian aid of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Developed in 2005 from the foreign aid service of Malteser Germany (founded 1953), and having the status of an independent eingetragener Verein since 2013, the agency has more than 50 years of experience in humanitarian relief. It currently implements around 100 projects in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. The organization has regional headquarters for Europe and the Americas, and its General Secretariat is located in Cologne, Germany. The membership of Malteser International consists of 27 national associations and priories of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who are responsible for supporting the organization within their jurisdictions.

Missionaries of the Poor

The Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) is an international Roman Catholic monastic religious institute of Brothers and Sisters dedicated to "Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross" to serve the poorest of the poor. It was started in 1981 by "The Honorable" Father Richard Ho Lung, O.J. in Kingston, Jamaica and has now grown to over 550 Brothers and Sisters from 13 countries.

Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza

Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza (PCA), also known as “Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza ai Profughi”, “Vatican mission” and “Vatican Relief”, was a papal ad hoc commission, created by Pope Pius XII on April 18, 1944, to provide quick, non-bureaucratic and direct aid to needy populations, refugees, and prisoners in war-torn Europe.

The needs of millions of people after the war and the thirty million refugees in Europe created new challenges for charities throughout the world. Its large-scale assistance was to be quick, to the victims and basic. On April 18, 1944, Monsignore Ferdinando Baldelli, Carlo Egger and Otto Faller started on behalf of the Pope the official Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza. Parallel to these efforts, Madre Pascalina was asked by the Pope to direct his personal charity efforts, the Magazino, officially under Monsignor Montini, later Pope Paul VI. As the Vatican has decided not to publish summary statistics on the full extent of its charity, only spotty information is available. The papal Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza to the most needy populations of Europe delivered more than ninety thousand crates, weighing well over six million pounds. They were shipped by rail from Vatican station to dozens of countries, Catholic, Protestant and Pagan”. The Pope asked the faithful, bishops, governments and the United Nations for help. In 1946, he invited 50 000 children to the Vatican. They each received a full meal after which the Pope thanked the benefactors of the United Nations for their great generosity.As Bishop of Rome, Pope Pius XII felt a personal obligation towards needy Romans. He increased papal soup kitchen rations from three million rations annually to forty million by the year 1947. On Christmas 1944, he personally gave gift packages to three thousand Roman children and delivered another four thousand to children on the Feast of Epiphany, two weeks later. By Christmas 1945, Pope Pius had forty thousand packages. The Swedish King Gustav V, awarded Pope Pius XII with the “Prince Carl Medal”, given annually to the person with the most outstanding record in charity in the world. Millions of refugees and displaced persons existed in post-war Europe, many of them in Italy. The Red Cross and the PCA did their best to issue on the spot identity papers to these millions of victims, who had lost everything. After 1990, the activities of the PCA and the Red Cross were critically reviewed, as it became known, that both organizations had aided German and Croatian war criminals to leave Europe in the so-called Rat line. Furthermore, declassified British Foreign Office and CIA documents revealed that Pope Pius XII and his closest aides Giovanni Battista Montini (who would later become Pope Paul VI) and Domenico Tardini were well informed and even played an active role.The temporary ad hoc organization received official status on June 15, 1953, when the Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza (PCA) was renamed into Pontificia Opera di Assistenza (POA). In Northern Italy, it assisted 300,000 flood victims over a long period of time in 1953. At the death of Pope Pius XII, it assisted eight million needy persons through diocesan offices throughout Italy. Pope Pius repeatedly supported these charity efforts in several messages, his annual Christmas messages and in his encyclical Haurietas Aquas. The French hierarchy created in 1946 its own Secours Catholique and the Catholic American hierarchy initiated the War Relief Services WRS, which was associated to the National Catholic Welfare Conference. The Papal and other Catholic charities depended largely on the generosity of American Catholics after the war, who contributed thirty million dollars over a very short period of time.As national Catholic charities began to mushroom, Pope Pius XII initiated the creation of an international Catholic Charity Conference and invited national organisations to a meeting in Rome on September 15, 1950. They agreed to a permanent cooperation and elected Ferdinando Baldelli as president. In the following years, Catholic charities developed in Latin America and Asia. As war relief services lost in importance, these charities specialized increasingly in emergency aid, such as Hungarian refugees after the revolution, earthquakes, or floods in The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. In 1970, POA was changed into Caritas Italiana by Pope Paul VI.

Although Pope Pius XII began to speak on the subject in his last months of 1958, the concept of large-scale international development aid was not formalized during the time of Pope Pius.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami

The Archdiocese of Miami (Latin: Archidioecesis Miamiensis, Spanish: Arquidiócesis de Miami) is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America. Its ecclesiastic territory includes Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties in the U.S. state of Florida. The archdiocese is the metropolitan see for the Ecclesiastical Province of Miami, which covers Florida. The archbishop is Thomas Wenski. As archbishop, he also serves as pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the mother church of the archdiocese. Also serving are 428 priests, 160 permanent deacons, 50 religious brothers and 300 religious sisters who are members of various religious institutes. These priests, deacons and persons religious serve a Catholic population in South Florida of 1,300,000 in 118 parishes and missions.Because of the vast number of immigrants, Mass is offered in at least a dozen languages in parishes throughout the archdiocese. Educational institutions consist of two schools for the disabled, 60 elementary/middle schools, 13 high schools, two universities, and two seminaries. Radio, print, and television media outlets owned and operated by the archdiocese supplement teaching, communication, and ministries.Several social service organizations are operated by the archdiocese which include two hospitals, nine health care centers, three homes for the aged, and two cemeteries. Charities include homeless shelters, legal services for the poor, an HIV/AIDS ministry, and the Missionaries of Charity and Society of Saint Vincent de Paul ministries to the poor. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami is a separate non-profit organization operated by the archdiocese. It claims to be the largest non-governmental provider of social services to the needy in South Florida.

Saint Dismas Prison Ministry

Saint Dismas Prison Ministry was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2000 to offer spiritual services for Catholic prisoners in the United States. The president is George Williams, a Jesuit priest.It was named after Dismas, the repentant thief. The ministry was founded in 2000 by Ron Zeilinger who found no "Catholic organization of a national scope providing Catholic materials” The ministry distributes bibles to prisoners.In 2006, Scott Jensen chose to remain on the ministry board after he was forced to leave the Wisconsin State Assembly following a felony conviction that was later overturned.

Santa Casa da Misericórdia

Santa Casa da Misericórdia is a Portuguese charity founded in Lisbon in 1498 by Queen Leonor of Portugal.It declares itself to be a Catholic lay brotherhood and to work through 14 Works of Mercy, seven of a spiritual nature: to teach the humble, to give good advice, to punish those who do wrong, to console the sad, to pardon offenses, to suffer patiently, to pray for the living and for the deceased; and seven of a corporeal nature: to visit the ill and imprisoned, to free captives, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry and thirsty, to shelter travelers and to bury the dead. It is currently the oldest working NGO in the world, if not the first. It isn't supervised by the Church or the State.

After the Lisbon Santa Casa da Misericóridia de Lisboa, similar organizations were created in many other cities and towns of Portugal and of the former Portuguese Empire, like in Brazil, Macau and even in Nagasaki, Japan.The União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP) (in Portuguese) provides additional information on the Misericórdias in Portugal and throughout the world. Currently, there are 388 active Misericórdias in Portugal and over 2000 similar organizations in Brazil.

Seán Patrick O'Malley

Seán Patrick O'Malley (born June 29, 1944) is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church serving as the Archbishop of Boston. O'Malley is a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, commonly known as the Capuchins.

O'Malley was elevated to the cardinalate in 2006. He was considered a papabile contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on February 28, 2013, until Pope Francis was chosen on March 13, 2013. On April 13, 2013, Francis appointed O'Malley as one of eight cardinals of the Council of Cardinal Advisers to help the Pope govern the Catholic Church and reform its central administration. Since March 22, 2014, O'Malley has served as President the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. On January 14, 2017, Francis appointed O'Malley to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Vincentian Family

The Vincentian Family comprises organizations inspired by the life and work of Vincent de Paul, a 17th-century priest who "transformed the face of France."

He directly founded the Confraternities of Charity (today known as the AIC) the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. Frederic Ozanam, inspired by a Daughter of Charity, Rosalie Rendu, founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Betty Ann McNeill has written a definitive work identifying some 268 institutes that meet at least one criterion as members of the Vincentian Family. The Vincentian Family, inter alia, has, as its incumbent head, Tomaž Mavrič of Buenos Aires, the incumbent worldwide superior general of the Congregation of the Mission, elected during the community's 42nd General Assembly (June 27 – July 15, 2016) in Chicago.

Youth Off The Streets

Youth Off The Streets is a non-denominational community organisation working for young people who are homeless, drug dependent and recovering from abuse. Youth Off The Streets supports these young people as they work to turn their lives around and overcome immense personal traumas such as neglect and physical, psychological and emotional abuse. The organisation began in New South Wales and has extended its services to six countries worldwide.

Personal ordinariates,
prelatures, and apostolic
of the faithful
Other associations
of the faithful
Other associations
Third orders
See also
Bible and
By country
of the faithful

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