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September 8, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
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Building an education endowment fund
Catholic Charities opens
offices in Richmond
 
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, above, sprinkles holy water during the blessing of the new Catholic Charities building in Richmond. Catholic Charities new West County service center is across the street from St. Mark Church.
All: josÉ luis aguirre/The Catholic Voice

Catholic Charities of the East Bay has opened a new center in Richmond, extending its reach to provide service to the poor and vulnerable.

"Part of our long term strategic plan is to locate in communities of need," said Chuck Fernandez, chief executive officer, during an open house Aug. 20.

"What better place to be than the Iron Triangle," Fernandez said. The Iron Triangle, named for the crossing of three rail lines in the heart of old Richmond, is recognized as a long-troubled, low-income area.

"For almost 80 years Catholic Charities of the East Bay has been caring for the poor and disadvantaged … going to those peripheries with the light of Christ, changing the lives of children, young adults and families, promoting self-sufficiency, strengthening families and pursuing safety and justice," said Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, as he blessed the building.

Catholic Charities bought the building last year for $1.8 million, invested $1 million in renovation. It is using 13,500 square feet of the 37,000 square foot building. A small business is renting the remaining space.

The building was converted into training rooms, community rooms, offices, counseling rooms and a state-of-the-art computer lab. It is across the street from St. Mark Parish, with its entrance on Harbour Way.

The center offers help with immigration, employment and refugee resettlement. There are play areas for children while parents await counseling.

"Catholic Charities is founded on the teachings and on the love of Jesus Christ, who commands us to stand with the poor and disadvantaged, to welcome immigrants and refugees, to find shelter for the homeless and bring light to the lives of those victims of violence," said Bishop Barber.

"… we do that not just as another nonprofit organization," the bishop said. "We do that because of love, reflecting, like the moon, the love of Christ to those in the periphery, bringing them inside … inside our society, inside our lives… inside our hearts."

Catholic Charities plans to expand offerings at the Richmond center over the next year. It also has centers in Oakland and Concord.

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