Following is a letter of support from Bishop Walker Nickless on the 2023 Catholic Charities Christmas collection. It appears in the Dec. 7 edition of The Lumen.
Gifts of the season – hope, peace, joy and love
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
The church’s new year has begun as we are in the season of Advent, a season of hope, peace, joy and love. Most of all, it is a season of preparation and watchfulness for the many ways the Lord comes to us.
It is also a season of giving, and we often generously support important charitable causes. Each Christmas, parishioners in our diocese have the opportunity to help those in need through the Catholic Charities Collection at Christmas Masses in each parish.
“Give the gifts of the season to children and families in need” is the theme for the 2023 collection. Catholic Charities has served the most vulnerable for 80 years and continues to serve throughout northwest Iowa. Last year Catholic Charities helped over 3,300 individuals and families.
The work of serving women and children dates almost as far back as the Diocese of Sioux City’s establishment as an independent diocese in 1902 with the opening of St. Monica’s Home for pregnant women in 1906 in Sioux City and St. Anthony’s Orphanage in 1910. In 1943, Father Robert Keefe added mental health care for children and adults as a service, recognizing the need to provide help to those individuals and their families.
In 1943, Father Robert Keefe added mental health care for children and adults as a service, recognizing the need to provide help to those individuals and their families.
The mission of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Sioux City continues that of providing care for children and families in need, without the barrier of cost.
More than ever, youth and young adults need our help as they struggle with mental health issues.
The availability of smartphones, social media, and other social factors have greatly increased the rates of mental illness and suicide in our youth. The Centers for Disease Control reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death of youth in Iowa, first leading cause in Nebraska and South Dakota.
The good news is Catholic Charities provides help for our youth at locations throughout northwest Iowa and by telehealth. They offer school-based therapy on-site at our Catholic and some public schools. There is no cost for mental health assessments for school-aged children through the Pathways to Hope and Healing Program.
In the past three years, the number of child enrollments at Catholic Charities increased from 19% to 38% of total clients.
We can all make a difference in the lives of our youngest neighbors, giving them a happier life that includes hope, peace, joy and love. I invite you to give generously to the Christmas collection via your parish collection at the Christmas Masses. We also have the option to contribute conveniently via Venmo (catholiccharities_siouxcity), online at cathchar.com/christmas or by mail to Catholic Charities, 1601 Military Road, Sioux City, IA 51103.
Participating in this collection allows Catholic Charities to have the resources needed to keep the welcoming doors open to serve all in need, true to our Catholic faith.
In this season of giving, I thank you for including the good work of Catholic Charities in your Christmas and year-end charitable gifts.
May you be blessed in this Advent season as we await the joy we will experience celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmas.
Your brother in Christ,
Most Rev. Walker Nickless
Diocese of Sioux City