Catholic Charities
Zoe Manning, Archbishop Alexander Sample, Kaitlin Koleno, Yilan Shao, and Richard Birkell.
Catholic Charities
Zoe Manning, Archbishop Alexander Sample, Kaitlin Koleno, Yilan Shao, and Richard Birkell.

The work of Catholic Charities is integral to the Church in western Oregon, and with “new leadership and energy” is moving forward, Archbishop Alexander Sample told a group of the organization’s supporters at a lunch Dec. 9.

“I am very excited about the great things that are ahead,” said the archbishop, who remarked that with a new executive director, Richard Birkell, and several new board members, he sees a new enthusiasm at Catholic Charities.

“Over the years to come we are going to continue to build the kind of cooperation and strategic partnership among agency members with the aim of creating a network of agencies statewide that can truly be the vehicle for God’s love and grace in Oregon,” said Birkell.

Attendees also heard from Molly O’Donnell, coordinator of the Financial Wellness Program at Catholic Charities and how her department’s work has helped families climb out of poverty through financial education and training.

Catholic Charities helps many kinds of people in need, including refugees from other nations, homeless women and pregnant women.

The lunch included announcement of winners in Catholic Charities’ annual Christmas card design contest for children. Front cover of the card went to Yilan Shao, fifth grader at Valley Catholic School, Beaverton with two inside art pieces done by Zoe Manning, kindergartner from O’Hara Catholic School, Eugene and Kaitlin Koleno of Holy Family School, Portland.