Catholic Charities relocates, dedicates Blue Parkway location

Bishop James V. Johnston addresses those gathered for the Catholic Charities building blessing and dedication ceremony on October 24. Over 100 were in attendance. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph has moved from downtown Kansas City to Suite 250 at 4001 Blue Parkway, a red brick corporate building next door to Swope Health Services. The move was mostly to better serve the clients who most frequently come for services at Catholic Charities.

“We looked at the different demographics that we were serving and found a spot on the parkway that was right in the middle of the zip codes we were serving in our office downtown,” explained Chris Ice, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph. “We had an opportunity to sell our building and found a new place, and, being fiscally responsible, it made sense to make that move.”

After a week of moving and unpacking, Catholic Charities reopened to serve the community on October 16. The number of people served since moving to the new location is “surprising, but in a good way,” Ice said.

“Our one concern with moving was for the people we were serving: could they find us? The resounding answer is yes, and more so. We’re seeing an uptick in the people we are serving,” he said. “It’s good to know that we’re open for business and being able to get back to what we do well, which is serving the poor and vulnerable in our area.”

A number of new clients coming to the Blue Parkway location speak Spanish. Ice said that Sister Sol Angel Diaz, Franciscan Sister of Mary Immaculate and new addition to the Catholic Charities staff, has been a great help already in the Welcome Center with her bilingual skills, greeting those who are Spanish-speaking and helping them get the care they need.

Catholic Charities Foundation Director of Development Susan Walker reads from the sacred scriptures.

“She has been a wonderful addition to Catholic Charities,” Ice said.

Catholic Charities will continue to provide its core services of emergency assistance and workforce development and education, as well as its focused programs for veterans, disabled and deaf persons, and children and families, but in a new environment. One of the new features is the names of conference rooms: each is named after a saint, typically one that served those in similar situations to persons coming to Catholic Charities. And right off the entrance of the Welcome Center is the new Our Lady Undoer of Knots Chapel, which both visitors and staff can utilize for prayer.

“We all have knots in our lives that we have to untie, so it’s an opportunity to pray to the Blessed Mother to help undo those knots,” said Ice.
Catholic Charities formally dedicated the building on October 24. Over 100 people, including local government councilmembers and members of the Catholic Charities board, came to tour the new facilities and to attend the blessing of the building by Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr.

In his homily during the blessing, Bishop Johnston reflected on the immensity of the universe and the wonder of how the God who created it all loves mankind and took on human nature to redeem us.

The Workplace Development Classroom at the new Catholic Charities building is in a room named after St. Joseph the Worker.

“All of this immense universe is basically a sign of how much we are loved and how important we are. I mention this because it is related to what we are about here: we recognize the dignity, the wonder of every human being,” he said.

“Because of our sin and our blindness we can look at people as problems, obstacles to our progress,” he continued.

“Catholic Charities exists to be a countersign [to the culture] that every human person is valuable, has dignity, and is made in the image and likeness of God, and that we’re about highlighting that, endorsing that, serving that goodness in every person. It’s a beautiful witness, beautiful work that we do here,” said Johnston. “I thank you for being here in this moment in our history, as we continue a new chapter in continuing the great work of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.”

 

 

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Saturday
November 18, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph