Catholic Charities USA Presents Centennial Medals to Past Presidents and Former Staff

Oct 26, 2010, 10:11 ET from Catholic Charities USA

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities USA, the 100-year-old social service network working to reduce poverty in America, has presented specially commissioned Centennial Medals to past presidents and former staff in recognition of their deep commitment to the vision and mission of the organization. The individuals were honored during Catholic Charities USA's 2010 Centennial Celebration.



The past presidents include:

  • Rev. Thomas J. Harvey,  Catholic Charities USA president from 1982-1992:  During Tom Harvey's tenure, the National Conference on Catholic Charities helped found the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, promulgated its first Code of Ethics, and celebrated its 75th Anniversary in San Francisco with blessings and praise from Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan.  The National Conference on Catholic Charities officially changed its name to Catholic Charities USA and in 1986, Pope John Paul II addressed the Annual Gathering of the membership in San Antonio, TX.  In 1990, CCUSA entered into an agreement with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to coordinate domestic disaster response in the United States.
  • Rev. Fred Kammer, SJ, Catholic Charities USA president from 1992-2001:  Under Fr. Kammer's leadership, CCUSA launched a process to review its foundational mission and embarked on Vision 2000 to refocus the work of Catholic Charities locally and nationally in the tradition of the Cadre Study of 1972.  CCUSA founded the Racial Equality Project, revised its by-laws in the spirit of Vision 2000, and created professional interest sections within the membership.  In All Things Charity: A Pastoral Challenge for the New Millennium was approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Most Rev. Joseph Sullivan, a member of the Cadre Study team and Episcopal liaison to Catholic Charities USA, chaired the writing committee.  The voice of Catholic Charities was integral to the document
  • Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, Catholic Charities USA president from 2001-2003:  Fr. Hehir assumed his position in the midst of the attack on the World Trade Center and the devastation at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.  Donors generously contributed $31 million that CCUSA used to support local agencies as they embraced the victims of these national disasters.  Seeking to demonstrate the joint work and collegial connections of two major organizations within the American Church, Catholic Health Association and Catholic Charities USA held their historic joint Annual Conference in Chicago.  In 2003, the Archbishop of Boston summoned Father Hehir back to Boston to assist with local issues.
  • Thomas DeStefano, Catholic Charities USA president from 2004-2005: A retired executive director of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, Tom DeStefano answered the call of the Board of Catholic Charities USA and immediately stepped in as the Interim President serving until 2005, making him the first lay president of the organization and bringing with him his professional skills, his deep experience with direct service at the local level, and his tremendous commitment to the vision of Catholic Charities.

The former staff include:

  • Sharon Daly: Sharon Daly's work on Capitol Hill was well known.  She rallied support for the poor, arguing on behalf of the hungry, the homeless and those out of work or working, but not earning a decent wage.
  • Brother Joseph Berg: Brother Joseph Berg, CSC, worked for Catholic Charities USA for more than 35 years, serving in various capacities. In his later years at CCUSA, he took on the preservation of CCUSA's history, gathering and organizing CCUSA's organizational documents and working to create an archive for CCUSA's papers at Catholic University of America.
  • Rosemary Winder Strange: Rosemary Winder Strange was a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity for 25 years and served in Catholic Charities agencies in Pennsylvania and Alabama before coming to Catholic Charities USA in 1984 to serve as director of Social Services. After 12 years at CCUSA, she became executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice in Florida, where she served until 2001.

Catholic Charities USA was founded in 1910 "to bring about a sense of solidarity" among those in charitable ministries. Since 1910, Catholic Charities USA has encouraged professional social work practice, provided opportunities for training and networking, and served as a national voice and expert on poverty issues. The Centennial is a time to reflect on past accomplishments and renew the commitment to serve those in need.

For more information about Catholic Charities USA visit

Catholic Charities USA's members provide help and create hope for more than 9 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrates its centennial anniversary.

SOURCE Catholic Charities USA