Southeast Texas is alive with many diverse cultures. Immigrants from various areas of the globe come to Southeast Texas with their native cultures and religious customs. Many of those who fled to theUnited States, in the early seventies, were Catholic. In 1975, the United States Catholic Conference assumed a dominant role in the resettlement of these immigrants. The Diocese of Beaumont accepted the responsibility of resettling refugees and set an initial target of 1,000 people. In October 1976, the Resettlement Office was formed to address this issue. The Resettlement Office’s services included providing reception, placement, case management services, childcare, job development, job placement, support services, and immigration services to refugees. In 1986, this program was renamed The Partnership for Human Development.
The Diocese of Beaumont began using the name Catholic Charities for social service programming in 1989. Two years were spent evaluating the social service safety net throughout the diocese with the goal of designing programs that met a recognized human need without duplicating the services provided by other organizations. From this research, programs of service developed. Catholic Charities merged with the Partnership for Human Development, the diocese’s first social service agency, placing all such services under one umbrella.
The ultimate achievement for social service organizations is to reach fiscal self-sufficiency or meet the need of the social problems it addresses. One such Catholic Charities success is The Hamlet. Catholic Charities operated a residence for people with AIDS in the final stages of life, The Hamlet, in rural Orange County from July 1989 through May 1998. The Hamlet experienced a decline in occupancy, primarily caused by improvements in HIV/AIDS medication regimens and positive changes in society’s view of persons infected with HIV/AIDS. The Hamlet closed in May 1998 as the need had been met. Catholic Charities was also the operating agency for the Garth House—Mickey Mehaffy Children’s Advocacy Program inBeaumont from January 1991 until April 2001. Garth House provides a safe, non-threatening place for an abused child to tell his/her story with a trained interviewer. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, social service organizations, and foundations enabled this program to achieve fiscal self-sufficiency and become a separately incorporated 501(c)(3).
In the wake of the devastating regional effects of Hurricanes Rita and Ike in 2005 and 2008, respectively, the agency expanded its programming to address regional disaster assistance and financial case management to help residents rebuild their lives. These programming initiatives live on still, having evolved into means of community assistance beyond their original visions. Similarly, the Elijah's Place program for grieving children expanded in 2010 to include a component of support for children affected by divorce and separation.
In 2007, the organization underwent a name change, shifting the name of the corporation from “Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Beaumont, Inc.” to “Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas.” The current name better expresses that the Diocese of Beaumont and Catholic Charities’ service territory consists of nine counties (Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk and Tyler) commonly referred to as Southeast Texas.
While Catholic Charities is separately incorporated from the Diocese of Beaumont, we remain the social service arm of the diocese, assisting the bishop in his pledge to serve the poor within his diocese, regardless of their religious affiliation. Catholic Charities is committed to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and in conjunction with supporting “The Common Good” we offer services to anyone, without regard for their religious preference. The Board of Directors and staff support our Mission Statement: People of faith responding to needs by serving, teaching, building community, and preserving the dignity of indiviudals and families of Southeast Texas.
Catholic Charities is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) Corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible as provided by law. Through the years, Catholic Charities has continued to Provide Help and Create Hope in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
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2014 Form 990
2013 Form 990
Click here for our Annual Report
2015 Annual Report
2014 Annual Report
SHARING CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
Challenges and Directions
REFLECTIONS OF THE U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS
The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents. In these brief reflections, we wish to highlight several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.
LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and assisted suicide. The value of human life is being threatened by increasing use of the death penalty. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY, AND PARTICIPATION
The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The family is the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities – to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
THE DIGNITY OF WORK AND THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected – the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live. We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means learning that “loving our neighbor” has global dimensions in an interdependent world.
CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION
We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.
This summary should only be a starting point for those interested in Catholic social teaching. A full understanding can only be achieved by reading the papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents that make up this rich tradition.
Copyright 1999, United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Washington, D.C.
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