By Sheila Ojendyk
GREENVILLE — There’s a “new wind blowing” in Catholic social justice according to Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch, director of Catholic Charities for the Piedmont Deanery. All over the United States, people in Catholic social services are collaborating with people from the Catholic health care system to serve the poor and vulnerable.
Sister Margie said the vision to collaborate social services in the Upstate started taking shape when Catholic Charities needed to find a new home base.
Sister Margie’s dream is a new building for Catholic Outreach Ministries. Catholic Outreach Ministries will be a collaboration between Catholic Charities, Bon Secours-St. Francis Health System, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, and Mercy Housing. Mercy Housing is a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy that builds affordable housing and rehabilitates existing housing for low-income families.
Services available from Catholic Outreach Ministries will include direct financial assistance to needy families, marriage and family counseling, crisis intervention including crisis pregnancies, alternatives to abortion, and immigration services. The office will also be a contact point for volunteers.
Sister Margie emphasized that the laity are taking a strong lead in this new approach to serving the poor. Bill Misiaveg, St. Mary’s parishioner and co-chair of the building committee, explained his role.
“A business reversal caused me to re-evaluate the way I viewed people and gave me greater appreciation for the many blessings which I had received and took for granted,” he said. “God calls us to glorify him and to obedience by loving and serving all his people, especially the poor, the sick, children and the suffering. … Christ is alive — here with us. He requires us to help, get involved, to serve according to our means and gifts.”
The budget for the facility is $350,000. Approximately $115,000 has been raised. Other funding is sought from grants and appeals to parishes, foundations, and individual families. Catholic Charities has no base of income, so $250,000 must be raised before groundbreaking can begin.
Sister Margie said, “I want to be located in close proximity to a Catholic parish serving the poor and a Catholic hospital located in the same impoverished neighborhood. West Greenville became a most ideal location for a site.” The final site and building plans are not yet finalized.