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Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich: Key Dates and Milestones of the 2020s

Posted on February 01, 2022 in: Milestones

Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich: Key Dates and Milestones of the 2020s

Our History Continues . . .


Susan Connelly was named Interim Executive Director on February 19th  while continuing as Finance Director following Edward Tessman’s resignation as Executive Director on January 30th.

Father Hussion Columbiettes Auxiliary #2969 shown here with the personal care items for the "Treasure Boxes & Bags" collection.

Catholic Charities Senior Management Team met to decide how best to continue to provide essential services while strictly adhering to the government mandates after the March 13th declaration of a national emergency due to COVID-19. State health safety guidelines required facial masks, social distancing, and temperature monitors.

“Providing Help and Creating Hope'' became the outstanding watchword as Catholic Charities assisted anyone in need via telephone or email rather than in-person visits whenever possible. Individuals, parish, and civic groups, donated food, infant necessities, and healthcare items to the four offices for daily distribution. The Layette Program of the Norwich Diocesan Council of Catholic Women continued in their mission as well.

Bishop Cote thanked Dr. Stephen M. Coan in May for his service as a member of the Board of Directors and for his extraordinary generosity to Catholic Charities through the years.

All who chose to continue services provided by the Behavioral Health Program were successfully transferred with clinical documents completed by June 15th.

While National COVID-19 cases surpassed 3 million on July 7th, No COVID-19 cases occurred at the Catholic Charities offices.

Susan Connelly, Chief Operations Officer and Laura Malone, Chief Administrative Officer at the 2021 Golf Tournament.

Susan Connelly was named Chief Operations Officer while continuing as Finance Director and Laura Malone was named Chief Administrative Officer on October 13th.

The Annual Catholic Charities Appeal was held in November. People of all faiths in Eastern Connecticut came to Catholic Charities for help. More than 118,132 meals from our three emergency food pantries were supplied to those in need. Over 1,060 services were provided for new families, infants and toddlers. Over $268,342 was used for direct relief to help those struggling to pay their bills. Rental and utility assistance were provided to 837 individuals and families. 313 Thanksgiving baskets were distributed. 404 families and children helped through “A Very Giving Christmas”. Clinical Charitable Care services totaled $47,542.

The Day newspaper featured Catholic Charities in its “Make a Difference” series. Thanks to the outpouring of donations, parents and three children were able to stay in their home by paying their rent and utilities.



COVID-19 vaccination sites were announced in January for adults 75 and over. All adults were available for a shot in April. In May, shots were authorized for children between 12 and 15. By December, children ages 5 to 11could receive the vaccinations.  Masks and social distancing mandates were gradually lifted throughout the year in public offices and gathering places, according to the needs and safety of workers and participants. Catholic Charities offices required masks.

The Pregnancy and New Parent Support Group met monthly with caseworkers by Zoom to help participants deal with the difficulties they were going through as parents.

Jack Babbitt has served as a Board Member. He now contributes his expertise as Grant Writer.

Norwich Diocesan Council of Catholic Women held their annual Layette collection on June 5th for expectant mothers and families in Eastern Connecticut.

Undeterred by COVID-19 social distancing and mask mandates, NDCCW President Connie Gillies and members held a drive-through and drop- off event at St. Joseph Church, Willimantic.


Catholic Charities provided over 1,000 infant and toddler items to families faced with the consequences of COVID-19. Generous donors contributed diapers, wipes, new winter clothing, formula, baby food and baby toiletries.

Cynthia Majeski, who served Catholic Charities for twenty-one years, retired in March. She was administrative manager since 2015, having succeeded Nancy DePietro who retired after many years of service.

Bishop Cote thanked Alex Marku in April for his generous service on the Board of Directors.

Backpack donations provided by the Twisted Jesters Motorcycle Club

Atty. Ralph J. Monaco, Catholic Charities Board Member Development Committee Chair, and Catholic Charities Annual Golf Tournament Founder died suddenly on July 10th. The Catholic Charities 16th Annual Golf Tournament was held September 13th at Great Neck Country Club, Waterford in honor of Atty. Monaco. The 92 golfers and sponsors raised much needed $20,000 to fund the many life-giving services provided by Catholic Charities.

The Council on Accreditation (COA) Reaccredited Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich, Inc., on August 31st after a detailed review and analysis of its organization’s administrative operations, including financial practices, and its service delivery practices.

The Board of Directors approved the Middletown Office move from 151 Broad Street, a building provided by St. Sebastian Church, to office space in the Amazing Grace Food Pantry on Main Street. Bishop Cote and the Board thanked Reverend James Thaikoottathil, JCD, Pastor of St. Sebastian Church, for providing the Broad Street space.

Donations of non-perishable food items for Thanksgiving were collected at the four Catholic Charities offices. Parish outreach committees and individuals donated new and unwrapped toys or gift cards and encouraged “Adopt a Family” for Christmas.

The 100th Anniversary Family Fundraising Social is scheduled for May 14, 2022.
More details will be published in future issues of the Four County Catholic.

This series of Catholic Charities Milestones 1921-2021 was just a glimpse back in time of the help and hope given to our sisters and brothers in need throughout Eastern Connecticut since its inception by New London’s St. Mary Star of the Sea parishioners, the Connecticut Council of Catholic Women, and The Crowley Club, more than 100 years ago. At that time, much like today, Connecticut was recovering from a war and the effects of a global pandemic. Children, widows, the elderly and handicapped all needed the help that organized social services could provide.

Our work is far from over.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich Inc., a member of Catholic Charities USA, will Provide Help and Create Hope for the next 100 Years as the people of God continue to support the ever-changing needs of children, teens, adults, and families without regard to race, religion, or economic circumstances. Catholic Charities will continue to minister to the needs of people of all faiths during their time of crisis. This is the foundation of our daily work. Standing in the gap for our sisters and brothers in need is the mission of Catholic Charities and we are deeply committed to providing charitable and compassionate assistance to families and persons who need a helping hand through difficult times and circumstances.

Jesus has given us all this mandate-

“Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
(Matthew 25:40)

We honor and are grateful for all who have ministered in the name of Jesus Christ.

Readers are invited to add their remembrances of people and events by emailing editorial@norwichdiocese.net . Please include Catholic Charities 100th in the Subject field.


By Jacqueline Keller

Retired Diocesan Director of Communications and Board Member of Norwich Diocesan Catholic Charities.

Support from Foundations, Trusts and Collections through the Years

Mary E. Branigan Trust, Isabel Grimes Trust, John C. Geary and Delia A. Geary Trust, Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, The Ray H. and Pauline Sullivan Foundation.  Norwich Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Annual Collection, Annual Catholic Charities Collection, Annual Catholic Appeal of the Diocese of Norwich.The United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. Middlesex United Way.

Board of Directors

Past Members (2009-January 2022)

Angela Arnold, Jack Babbitt, Rev. Msgr. Thomas R. Bride VG (deceased); Kenneth Capano, Dee Carnahan, Dr. Stephen Coan, James Coughlin, Mildred E. Devine, John Estelle, Atty. Kathryn D. Guinan, Lois Geary, Atty. Michael Jewell, Valerie Jane Leger, Dr. Herbert Levinsky (deceased), Alex Marku, Atty. Ralph Monaco (deceased), Richard Long, John Piteo, Mark Ricciardelli.


Current Members (January 2022) 

Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, D.D. President; Rev. Msgr. Leszek Janik, JCL, VG, Vice President; Anthony Joyce, Treasurer; Dawn Marie Day, Secretary; Kenneth Capano, Director Emeritus; Kathleen Capon, Michelle Delaney, Renee Fecteau, Jacqueline M. Keller, Dr. Christopher Lipinski.


Advisory Boards
Current (January 2022)

Middletown Advisory Board: Tom Dente, Mary Garry, Deacon Peter Gill, Connie Gillies, Jackie Haywood, Heidi Lyons, Pam Perrone, Mary Todzia.
Willimantic Advisory Board: Jed Larson, John McGill, Beth Murphy, Lynda Nappy, Susan Palmer, Gary Pillion, Benjamin Shires.

We want this to be as complete and accurate a record as possible so please send additions, corrections, and any photos you would like to share to Communications@NorwichDiocese.net by March 30, 2022.

Catholic Charities
Diocese of Norwich

331 Main Street
Norwich, CT 06360