Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said that “in times like this it is even more urgent for us to assist our brothers and sisters who are in the most need.”
Archbishop Carlson included that point in a letter to priests and deacons of the archdiocese about guidelines regarding the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in the community. He cited the economic impact the emergency is having on individuals in parishes as well as the community as a whole. Archbishop Carlson asked for support of organizations responding to the crisis, including Catholic Charities of St. Louis, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis and the Annual Catholic Appeal.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul temporarily suspended person-to-person home visits, but parish conferences are still taking calls, according to John Foppe, executive director. “The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s goal is to keep as many food pantries functioning as possible, with altered procedures for non person-to-person contact such as porch deliveries, food bagged/picked up and distributing food vouchers/gift cards to those in need,” Foppe said.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Archdiocesan Council of St. Louis consists of more than 3,600 volunteer members belonging to 140 parish-based chapters known as conferences. Services include arranging utility and prescription drug assistance and assisting with housing and transportation needs. As a Catholic lay organization, an essential part of the Society’s work is to maintain the dignity of people being served.
People who need help are asked to call 2-1-1. “We care about the health and safety of our neighbors in need, our volunteers and our community,” Foppe said.
The Society reported a spike in calls and expects to see more in the coming weeks.
All Catholic Charities agencies are reviewing services as recommended by health officials. Some services are being modified, and some non-critical services have been postponed.
As of March 17, the offices of Saint Louis Counseling, a Catholic Charities agency, remain open for clients who have an appointment and have not been out of the country in the past two weeks, do not feel ill and have not been around anyone who has been ill in the past two weeks. In addition, waiting areas and all offices are disinfected daily; clients are asked to stay in their cars on the parking lot until their appointment time; therapists are required to stay home if not feeling well or if they may have been exposed to someone who is ill, and clients are rescheduled as needed.
Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, a social service provider in St. Charles, made a plea for financial support to assist it in caring for its neighbors facing additional challenges because of health concerns and income loss.
“As we have for nearly 40 years, the Care Service stands ready to serve those in crisis in our community,” the agency explained in a statement. “Your support today and in these weeks to come is all the more critical to ensure our work to serve those in crisis and prevent homelessness and hunger continues during and after this emergency.”
Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, which is supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal, serves people in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties with a mission to protect families, especially children and people who are elderly or disabled. Several Catholic parishes, schools and agencies work in partnership with Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service.
Pam Struckhoff, executive director of the Care Service, said their clients live paycheck to paycheck, and many are single mothers working at low-wage jobs. “They can’t afford to lose a paycheck,” Struckhoff said.
Some landlords have temporarily stopped eviction processes for families that don’t pay rent and some utility companies are suspending disconnects until the crisis ends, but that just buries the families in debt, Struckhoff said. “What will happen is our families in two months will get a bill for $800 and they barely had $300. So it just spirals out of control.”
Struckhoff said clients are worried, and the Care Center is reassuring them help is available.
The Annual Catholic Appeal also provides grants to Catholic Charities, parish food pantries, the Rural Parish Clinic, Peter and Paul Community Services, Rural Parish Workers of Christ the King and others.
>> How to help
To donate, contact:
• Society of St. Vincent de Paul at www.svdpstlouis.org/donate. Donations will help people in need with food and other basic needs. For information, call (314) 881-6000.
• Catholic Charities at www.ccstl.org/get-involved/donate
or call (314) 367-5500. Individuals in need of services from a Catholic
Charities agency may contact ccstl.org or call (314) 367-5500.
• Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service at www.jacares.org/how-to-help/.
For information, call (636) 441-1302, ext. 263 or email
[email protected] Checks may be mailed to 4116 McClay Road, St. Charles,
Cardinal Ritter Senior Services is
asking people to send letters, cards and drawings to residents at its
skilled nursing facility, Mary, Queen & Mother Center, and its
assisted living facilities, Mother of Perpetual Help, DuBourg House and
St. Elizabeth Hall, which are closed to visitors due to concerns
In a statement, the Catholic Charities agency
stated, “we are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our
residents and our employees. As we have prepared for COVID-19 to impact
the St. Louis region, we have been working with and obtaining advice
from health authorities, including the Center for Disease Control, the
Department of Health and Senior Services and the Center for Medicare and
As concerns grow over the spread of COVID-19
coronavirus within the St. Louis region, Cardinal Ritter is “taking
every precaution to protect our residents, their families and our CRSS
staff team. The health and safety of the people in our care are top
priorities every day at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services. We have
implemented a wide variety of measures to provide the best services to
our residents while keeping them safe,” the statement added.
Cardinal Ritter has a webpage devoted to COVID-19 at https://bit.ly/33oXv0y.
This page is updated as soon as new information becomes available. At
this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 in any of Cardinal Ritter
Senior Services’ facilities.
Mass is cancelled at all facilities
because outside visitors are being restricted. However, the chapel will
be open for residents. Because of the importance of daily Mass to
residents, assistance is provided in helping them stream Mass into their
rooms. A director of pastoral care at Mary, Queen & Mother Center
and Mother of Perpetual Help Assisted Living who is continuing pastoral
care at those facilities.