January 30, 2018

2018 Annual Catholic Appeal kicks off at Springfield’s Gray House

Story and photos by Stephen Kiltonic

Teresa Liberti, executive director of The Gray House social services agency, is pictured with Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski at the Jan. 30 kick off of the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal.

SPRINGFIELD – At an 11:30 a.m. press conference held Jan. 30 at The Gray House in Springfield’s North End, Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski launched the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) and announced its theme, “In giving, we receive,” taken from the Prayer for Peace by St. Francis of Assisi.

Funding from the ACA supports 40 community-based social agencies, ministries and programs in the four counties of the Springfield Diocese. The four types of ministries receiving ACA support include services to young people; services to those in need; services to the family and the elderly; and pastoral and spiritual support services.

An English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor conducts a session at The Gray House in Springfield.

“When we reach out to others and help them, especially those who are most in need and most vulnerable, we feel that sense of God working through us in our world to help transform it and to help make our world better,” said Bishop Rozanski. “So, in giving, we do receive. It might not be the physical things. It might be the intangible things. But those intangible things we receive really help us to bring the love of God to others,” he said.

The Gray House, founded in 1982 by four Sisters St. Joseph and a laywoman, is one of the human service agencies that benefits from the ACA funding, enabling it to offer adult education support and a food pantry that serves more than 100 families each week.

“Both of those programs, we have seen an increasing need for the services, especially in the past few months with the evacuees from Puerto Rico coming over. We’re able to get them into our classes and help them learn the language so that they could get jobs here and really improve their situation,” said Teresa Liberti, executive director of The Gray House, who also spoke at the conference.

She added that the food pantry benefits the evacuees as well as others in the community, helping them “to get back on their feet.”  

“Last week, in a matter of four hours, we saw 160 families. Many of those families have several children. We’re really focused on getting people nutritious meal – fresh produce, meats, dairy – stuff that’s going to help the children grow and develop properly,” said Liberti.

“With grants dwindling, this money is something that is very important to us and really allows us to continue our services and also to continue improving to meet the needs of our neighbors,” said Liberti.

All the money raised in the ACA stays in the Springfield Diocese and, in addition, supports Catholic Latino Ministries; family services, including pregnancy support; seminary and clergy educational support; and pastoral and spiritual ministries.

Pictured are (left to right) Sisters of St. Joseph Jane Morrissey and Cathy Homrok, two of the founders of The Gray House, Bishop Rozanski and Teresa Liberti, Gray House executive director.

Bishop Rozanski praised the individuals and businesses that contributed nearly $2.7 million to last year’s campaign. “I’m grateful for what they have given in the past and their continued generosity in helping this Annual Catholic Appeal really make a difference in our western Massachusetts community.”

The ACA has been in existence for over half a century.

The 2018 ACA takes place during the Lenten season, beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Contributions to the Annual Catholic Appeal are tax deductible and may be made through check, credit card, pledge, matching gifts or online at

At the conference, Bishop Rozanski also responded to questions surrounding the implementation of a series of “listening sessions” that will held in February and March at various parishes throughout the diocese in preparation for an upcoming pastoral synod.

“We live in challenging times, especially for people of faith. What I’m hoping through these listening sessions to do is to really root ourselves in the Lord Jesus so we can be that community who shows others the way to him. How can we best form disciples of the Lord Jesus here in 2018, in our circumstances in western Massachusetts and beyond,” Bishop Rozanski said.

More information on the listening session times and locations will appear on and in the upcoming Catholic Mirror magazine.