Catholic Community Connection (CCC) is dedicated to enhancing collaboration among Catholic organizations in the Diocese of Cleveland. To extend the reach and impact of human services-related programs, CCC partners with nonprofits like Catholic Charities to support their work. We interviewed Patrick Gareau, President & CEO of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, about the joint efforts of these two faith-based resources:


Patrick Gareau, President & CEO
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland

How does Catholic Charities embrace “church in the field?”

When I think of the church as a field hospital, I think of our different programs where that rings true. In serving the needy and most vulnerable in our society, our services are based on what they need, not who they are.

We meet the customized needs of people struggling with addiction, homelessness, and mental illness. We treat the elderly—people who need nursing homes, assisted living, and hospice care. We help parents raise their children and get them on the right path toward a quality education. We help people who come to our family centers or seek out migration and refugee services.

Virtually everything we do relates to the concept of “church in the field.” We meet people where they are and help them get where they need to be—all according to the gospel values that we embrace.


How does Catholic Charities “Serve the Lord with gladness?”

The people who are called to this type of work have a passion for helping others. We applaud that. We teach it. And we expect it.

Everybody has a position within our organization, and we are part of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict has described the works of charity as every bit as important as celebrating the sacraments and proclaiming the word of God. I remind people of how their role in the church is that significant, and I believe they get joy out of serving because they understand the magnitude  of what they’re doing to help others.