The Catholic Church “can’t be a church without helping those in need,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput as he launched the 2020 Catholic Charities Appeal (CCA) Friday, Jan. 17 at Divine Providence Village, an archdiocesan intermediate care facility for adults with intellectual disabilities in Springfield, Delaware County.

Archbishop Chaput said the initiative, which is the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s most important annual fundraiser, has targeted $12.5 million as its 2020 goal.

“It’s a lot of money, but there’s a lot of need,” he said.

The archbishop stressed that this year’s CCA theme, “Giving Hope to All,” highlights the critical nature of the campaign.

“Hope is an essential part of human happiness,” he said, describing such confidence as a sense that “things are going to be OK, or even better” through experiencing the love of God and others.

CCA Board of Directors president Linda McDonough said that the appeal benefits “tens of thousands of people, regardless of their faith” through more than 180 organizations and ministries within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The appeal, which is managed by the nonprofit Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia (CFGP), focuses on social services, evangelization, education, parish and spiritual life, clergy and local mission activities.

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Several representatives from beneficiary organizations shared their reflections on the appeal’s impact. Jean Calvarese-Donovan, administrator of Divine Providence Village, said CCA funding enables the facility to provide “high quality care in a spiritually rich environment.”

Calvarese-Donovan noted that many adults with intellectual disabilities are now living longer. However, the increased life expectancy has intensified her agency’s need for resources.

“Our funding falls short,” she said. “Donations to the Catholic Charities Appeal help us to bridge the gap.”

She added that the community is also looking to expand and develop “cutting-edge programs” to serve an aging population with special needs.

Calvarese-Donovan was joined at the podium by Louise Kubicek, a longtime resident of Divine Providence Village, who thanked those in attendance.

CCA supporters share in “the amazing mission of the church,” said Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Kathleen Schipani, director of archdiocesan Office for Persons with Disabilities and the Deaf Apostolate.

Sister Kathleen said that her office relies on CCA funding to impact the lives of “over 208,000 Catholics with disabilities in the archdiocese.”

In particular, she said, the office assists parishes in providing those with disabilities “access to the sacraments and to full participation in liturgical celebrations.”

Such efforts include helping parishes “to break down physical barriers and to carefully plan for more accessible parish buildings.”

More importantly, she added, the office works with parishes to develop awareness and skills that create a “liturgical, pastoral and social” welcome for all.

The archdiocesan Deaf Apostolate — which provides Mass, catechesis, pastoral care and adult faith formation in American Sign Language (ASL) — enables “the deaf to find a home in the church,” said Sister Kathleen.

In her concluding remarks, McDonough said that after listening to descriptions of the work funded by the CCA, “everyone should have a good day.”

Kubicek, who prior to the gathering had confessed to being slightly nervous about speaking at the televised news conference, quickly replied, “I had a good day.”

Lori, a resident of Divine Providence Village, thanks Archbishop Chaput at the launch of the 2020 Catholic Charities Appeal. (Photo by Sarah Webb)