On a picturesque fall evening in October, the halls of the former Sts. Simon and Jude School in south Louisville were bustling with students. The sound of multiplication facts and clicking keyboards came from families enrolled in Doors to Hope, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
With a new $5,000 grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Doors to Hope plans to expand its support of immigrant women and families, said Lorena Miller, director of the ministry.
Doors to Hope is one of three organizations to receive local grants from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
The grants are funded by the annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection, which will take place in Archdiocese of Louisville parishes next month — Nov. 23 and 24 — following the World Day of the Poor, which will be observed Nov. 17.
The campaign seeks to address the root causes of poverty, said Deacon Lucio Caruso, director of mission for Catholic Charities of Louisville. It was established in 1969 as the national anti-poverty and social justice initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Funds gathered through this annual campaign go to organizations and ministries that address the systemic causes of poverty and effect social change, Deacon Caruso said.
Since its beginning, more than $300 million in CCHD grants have funded about 9,000 community-based projects across the nation, he said.
Last year, parishioners in the Archdiocese of Louisville gave more than $65,000 to the campaign. Twenty-five percent of that amount stays here in the archdiocese to support local initiatives, Deacon Caruso said.
In addition to Doors to Hope, two other groups received the local CCHD grants — Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the River Region and Catholic Charities of Louisville’s Refugee Youth Employment Program. Each received $5,000.
All groups that receive grants must be in conformity with Catholic teaching. And their applications must detail what the money would accomplish, Deacon Caruso said.
Doors to Hope plans to use the CCHD grant money to support increasing demands for education and advocacy in the Latino community, Miller said.
The ministry was established in 2012 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. It provides educational programs to women and immigrant families in south-central Louisville. First housed at the Holy Name Church campus on South Third Street, the organization moved to a larger location at Sts. Simon and Jude Church, 4335 Hazelwood Avenue, in 2018.
Doors to Hope serves about 100 people a week, Miller said. About 60 to 65 people regularly volunteer, including high school students, retired teachers Sisters of Charity and Xaverian Brothers.
The ministry offers instruction in English as a Second Language, GED and citizenship preparation, as well as computer classes, after-school tutoring and a women’s support group.
Tutors also support parents integrating into the community and educates them about their rights and resources available to them “during a time that is difficult for many immigrants,” Miller said.
To have the support of the CCHD and the larger Catholic Church means a great deal, Miller said.
“It’s very important that we ‘welcome the stranger,’ ” she said, recalling the words of Pope Francis. “To have their (CCHD) support is so important. It shows that we are not alone in this effort.”
In addition to the local grants, two organizations in Louisville received national CCHD grants — Catholic Charities of Louisville and Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT).
Catholic Charities was again awarded $50,000 and CLOUT again received $65,000.