Archbishop Timothy Dolan joined a Christmas celebration with Catholic Charities staff members and the community at St. Cecilia Parish in East Harlem on December 22, 2010.
Catholic Charities operates emergency food programs and case management services at St. Cecilia's for an ever-growing immigrant community in the parish that has expanded with the influx of Mexican, Central and South American and Chinese families.
The Church of St. Cecilia has deep roots in the Harlem community dating back to 1873. Two years ago, Fr. Mushi of the Apostles of Jesus became pastor after The Redemptorist fathers served the parish and the community for more than 30 years. He was recently joined by Father Francis Iroot.
Catholic Charities Community Outreach Services has been a presence at St. Cecilia's since 1972. Today, Jose Jimenez, the site supervisor, has helped expand Catholic Charities services to the community to include eviction prevention, crisis intervention, and financial literacy classes, among other social services. The Catholic Charities food pantry serves an average of 200 households a week and has provided 20,800 individuals with 187, 300 meals since January 2010.
Catholic Charities staff served as "elves" to help the Archbishop distribute age-appropriate gifts to every child.
The Christmas Celebration ended with the Archbishop sharing a holiday meal with all guests.
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