CHARLESTON—The fifth annual Autumn Gathering of Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa), was held Oct. 23, beginning with Mass at the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Charleston. Bishop Michael J. Bransfield celebrated the Mass and commended the people who gave of their time, talent and treasure to aid those in need through the efforts of Catholic Charities. “I thank you for this work … throughout the diocese,” the bishop said. “The congregation has a solemn duty to the suffering. We pray that God gives us the strength, the ability to do something that would help the suffering.” He concluded with, “I pray for you and I ask for your prayers. Especially, for those who have these responsibilities … and that they continue their work in the vineyard of the Lord.”
Lynne Snyder Photo Attendees of Catholic Charities West Virginia’s Autumn Gathering in Charleston are pictured at the gala Oct. 23.
Following the Mass, attendees made their way, for a short distance, to the Embassy Suites Hotel, for the annual gala. Patricia M. Phillips, director of Development and Marketing for CCWVa, shared these words: “The annual Autumn Gathering continues to grow as not only a source of much needed revenue for Catholic Charities West Virginia, but more importantly an opportunity for inspiration and discussion about the critical work of alleviating, preventing and reducing poverty in West Virginia. We are grateful for the ongoing support of our sponsors. Especially, Premiere Sponsor Wheeling Jesuit University and Honor the Legacy sponsors St. Joseph Catholic Church, Huntington; Marshall Catholic Newman Center; St. Mary’s Medical Center; and Mr. John ‘Jack’ Homer.” Following the meal, Jack Kane, emcee, welcomed all, while Msgr. P. Edward Sadie, V.F., gave the invocation. Kane then introduced the keynote speaker, Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, USDA. He shared some of the history of CCWVa. He spoke of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), instituted by President John F. Kennedy. This program was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Concannon said this is a most needed program. “It was important to JFK and it is important to me,” he said. “Those who once supported the needy are now dependent on food banks themselves.” Concannon also noted that 45 million people are on a wide variety of food programs in this country. The government subsidizes these programs, but it is also necessary for the volunteers to continue their efforts as well. He stated that, “It can not be either or, it needs to be both.” Matthew Bowles, a board member of CCWVa, thanked all who helped make the evening a success. “I’d like to thank Bishop Bransfield for hosting an important gathering of parish and community leaders who are working on problems facing the poor in their neighborhoods, the Catholic Charities West Virginia Development and Marketing team for putting together the event and Danny Vance for chairing the committee,” he said. “The evening highlighted the real and immediate hunger being faced every day in West Virginia and made clear the importance of the work being done by Catholic Charities, parish partners and other community organizations around the state to offer food, food related education, and dignity to our neighbors in need.”