A Letter from the Executive Director

As I reflect on the past several months and contemplate the good work of the staff, I am truly humbled to be in this role and to lead this organization. I often reflect on our mission and pray that I am given the grace to respond to Christ’s call to care for those in need each and every day. As our 95th Anniversary Year begins to wind down and as the Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to an end, we must not lose focus or hope for the future and those that so desperately rely on us to Provide Help and Create Hope.

After 95 years of Providing Help and Creating Hope throughout Eastern Connecticut, I am surprised how many in the communities we serve, do not know who we are and what we do. One of the biggest misconceptions that I have faced about our Agency is the perception that our clients must be Catholic or belong to a parish within the Diocese to receive service and that we only help those who are poor and disadvantaged. Catholic Charities serves people of all faiths and not just those who are poor and disadvantaged.

Did you know, that since January, 

• 1,920 adults and children were served through our Emergency Basic Needs program and over 2,855 services were provided to help with Emergency Food, Clothing, Rent and Utility Assistance. Our Intensive Case Management program helped 113 households and provided 195 services to develop comprehensive plans to use resources for success in greater self-sufficiency including obtaining and maintaining employment, stable housing, and better financial management skills.

• 590 individuals received over 4,506 units of direct service through our licensed Behavioral Health Service program. Clinical services were provided to people of all ages and situations to address issues including depression, anxiety, domestic violence, sexual abuse, grief, behavioral problems as well as adult and adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment to abusers and family members. These psychiatric, group, family and individual services included therapeutic interventions designed to meet a variety of family needs to improve the well-being of family members, reducing risks of crisis, abuse as well as neglect, with the goal of keeping families together.

• Our Adoption Services Program was relicensed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and has served 320 clients, facilitated reunions between adult adoptees and birth mothers, provided non-identifying information to adopted adults, wrote home studies for couples seeking to adopt, provided monthly breakfasts for “waiting mothers” and provided post-placement services for our adoptive homes.

• In our Parenting Education and Pregnancy Service Programs, 415 clients were served in 43 classes, providing 337 units of service which included education about parenting, pregnancy, community referrals and ongoing counseling and support.

• As a member of the Catholic Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC), our Immigration Assistance Program provided consultation and legal services for 200 foreign born immigrants, providing 356 units of service, wishing to become Permanent Residents or U.S. citizens with the commitment to address and support strong citizenship and communities.

One of our saddest realities is that many of those who come to us do not have the luxury of hoping or dreaming. They put all their effort and energy into surviving. As we do all that we can to help address their immediate needs, we are also committed to help them take advantage of opportunities to become more stable and self-sufficient. To our delight, many who turn to us for assistance embrace these opportunities for change. What a privilege it is to witness their personal success as they achieve goals they never had time to contemplate or tackle when hungry, afraid, anxious or facing a crisis.

One of our most important roles at Catholic Charities is to help those who have the courage to admit their need and ask for help. When we tune out the noise of the secular world and listen to our heart, we can hear Christ urging us to follow in His example to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the anxious, and heal the sick. We can be compelled to be images of the love and compassion that accompanied His actions as we reach out to act. We are that reminded that even as God’s son reached out for comfort, we must trust and reach beyond fear and pride that hinder our ability to seek God’s care from others.

Organizations like Catholic Charities do what we do because He did it first and called us to His example. When you support those efforts you turn despair into hope and help those who have stopped dreaming rediscover the glory of dreaming a future and finding a way to make it come true. It is easy to see those served by Catholic Charities as the hidden face of Christ. During this time of thanksgiving, I give thanks for the privilege of being part of their lives.


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Catholic Charities Newsletter

Making A Difference

Volume 1, Issue 1


The Celebration of Family Champions - 2016

Diane Manning, Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies Board Chair; Edward J. Tessman, Catholic Charities Executive Director; Carole Gilbert, 2016 Catholic Charities Family Champion Staff Member; Angela Arnold, 2016 Catholic Charities Family Champion Board Member; Joette Katz, State of Connecticut Commissioner Department of Children and Families; Alyssa Goduti, President & CEO Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies

The Celebration of Family Champions has become an opportunity for The Council to recognize two individuals from each member agency who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to strengthen and support families in Connecticut.

To celebrate these family champions The Council first recognizes that it is a person's individual talent, skill and dedication that changes lives forever. Angela Arnold and Carole Gilbert achieved this honor in their own personal way, by demonstrating the best of what their agency has to offer, consistently giving more, reaching further, and taking bold steps to strengthen and improve the lives of families throughout our state.



Catholic Charities USA

Pictured are Edward J. Tessman, Executive Director and Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, CEO and President of Catholic Charities USA

At a recent meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, Ed had the opportunity to spend time with Sister Donna Markham and talk about the organization’s strategic priorities, vision and identity. The Diocesan Directors Leadership Institute Program, sponsored by Catholic Charities USA, gives new Diocesan Directors an opportunity to meet with their peers from across the country as well as meet with staff from Catholic Charities USA.

For more information please contact: Mr. Edward J. Tessman: 860-889-8346, edwardtessman@ccfsn.org

Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich Inc. is a 501(c)(3)charitable organization registered in Connecticut.


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