Catholic Charities has a long and rich history of helping those in need.
In the 1800’s,
With the influx of Catholic immigrants into the mainstream of American culture, parishes became the focal point for providing not only spiritual care, but often times food, clothing, and shelter.
In the 1900’s,
Various Catholic agencies began springing up when the need for help was more than the parishes could handle. Agencies offering services such as adoption, foster care, and counseling were consolidated for economic and efficiency reasons.
Out of this…
The first formal convening of Catholic Charities was held in Washington, DC.
Consistent with the national evolution of Catholic Charities, the first formalized Catholic “charitable” presence was established by the Sisters of St. Joseph, who founded St. Joseph’s Hospital that same year.
The Bishops of New York State acted to achieve the legal foundation necessary for the existence of a Diocesan Catholic Charities structure.
Bishop John O’Hern established Elmira Catholic Family Services. This new organization built upon the previous work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Chemung County Community Chest welcomed the addition of this new Catholic agency which came into existence during the most trying period of the depression. While the Elmira agency was an independent entity, it became an affiliate of Rochester Catholic Charities.
Bishop Matthew H. Clark established a regional presence of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester in Elmira. Originally known as the Southern Tier Office of Social Ministry, it was renamed Catholic Charities of the Southern Tier in 1994.
Various counties served by Catholic Charities of the Southern Tier became separate agencies with their own Boards of Directors in response to the growing conditions facing the individual counties. Many important decisions impacting programs could now be made by people familiar with the specific needs in each county.