Catholic Charities USA opens centennial celebration

From now through September, Catholic Charities USA will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol, the celebration opened Nov. 19 with a reception for 300 people at the Newseum, one of Washington’s newest and most interactive museums.

Catholic Charities used the kickoff of its centennial year to honor one of its longtime supporters, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick with the first of 100 Centennial Medals. The agency will present 99 more medals to supporters, staff members and others affiliated with the nationwide network of social service agencies by the time the centennial observance ends. But they won’t necessarily have such a grand celebration or glitzy location, because plans call for the medal to be awarded locally at Catholic Charities agencies, board meetings and small, private gatherings.

In presenting the medal, Father Larry Snyder, CEO of Catholic Charities USA, said Cardinal McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washignton, has kept the deep needs of America’s poor and forgotten foremost in his ministry.

In his usual self-deprecating way, Cardinal McCarrick said his mother, if she were alive, wouldn’t have believed a word that Father Snyder had to say about him.

Turning serious, he commended the people gathered for their passion for justice and commitment to the poor, and urged them to continue to fight poverty in any way possible, especially in today’s economically uncertain times.

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