New space lifts people’s dignity, CEO says 

Parishioners and clergy listened during a tour of the new Catholic Charities Center, 435 East Broadway, April 15. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

The seven tenets of Catholic social teaching — which guide the work of Catholic Charities of Louisville — cover a wall from floor to ceiling in the agency’s new Catholic Charities Center on East Broadway.

“It’s the foundational premise of the work we do. People often ask why we do this work and that’s the answer,” said Lisa DeJaco Crutcher, CEO of Catholic Charities.

Among those principles are the dignity of the human person and the dignity of work. And the newly opened building at 435 East Broadway will address both — lifting the dignity of the agency’s workers as well as its clients, she said. 

“We see them not just as recipients of help but as people with dignity,” DeJaco Crutcher said of the people the agency serves. The center makes that “visually apparent.” 

She noted that the new center has private rooms where staff can meet with clients instead of in a hallway — something that was common in the agency’s former headquarters on South Fourth Street.

Archbishop Shelto J. Fabre prayed during a ribbon-cutting event for the Catholic Charities Center on East Broadway April 15. Mayor Craig Greenberg, left, and Lisa DeJaco Crutcher, right, bowed their heads for the prayer. (Photo Special to The Record by Eli Jacob)

The new space will lift the dignity of the staff members, too, she said, noting the renovated building features such amenities as wellness rooms for nursing mothers and a prayer room.

On April 15, hundreds of people from the community toured the new headquarters. Mayor Craig Greenberg helped with the ribbon-cutting and Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre blessed the building.

Earlier in the day, Father John Schwartzlose, Catholic Charities’ director of mission, led a short prayer and blessing service with a tour group that included priests and deacons.

Following the blessing, Bart Weigel, chief operating officer, led a tour of the building. The group stopped by various offices where they heard about the work being accomplished.   

“We have 10 programs, but only one mission and that’s to care for those in need,” Weigel told the group. 

Weigel also pointed out that having most of the agency’s programs and staff in one building will help them to “better understand what everyone does.” 

Prior to the new building, Catholic Charities’ staff was split between two primary locations — 2911 South Fourth Street on the campus of Holy Name Church and in the 2200 block of West Market on the campus of the former St. Anthony Church. About 115 of the agency’s 144 employees now work from the new headquarters.

DeJaco Crutcher agreed with Weigel. The central location will be helpful to clients and provide “huge benefits in terms of productivity” for the staff, starting with simple tasks like signing documents, she said. 

In the past, this would often require a staff member to drive to her office to have her sign. She said it’s good seeing staff members under the same roof having discussions and collaborating.

Father John Schwartzlose, director of mission at Catholic Charities of Louisville, far right, blessed the agency’s new center at 435 East Broadway on April 15 during an open house. At left, Father Jacob Zulu and Father Joseph Graffis joined in prayer. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
Ruby Thomas
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