Catholic Charities hosts Development Day

Staff spends the day recognizing their rewarding work

By Claudia Mathis
Staff writer

Joseph Slavik, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, accomplished his goal. He wanted the employees of Catholic Charities of the Syracuse Diocese to have an opportunity to network, share their stories and progress, and to acquire new ideas.

Slavik organized Professional Staff Development Day for the Catholic Charities staff, held on June 22 at Le Moyne College. The employees, who represented each region of the diocese, attended workshops, listened to national speakers, attended Mass with Bishop Cunningham and witnessed their coworkers receive the Mission Valued Peer Awards.

“We got some great responses,” said Slavik. “They said that they enjoyed the workshops. Also, they liked the opportunity to get to know one another and said that the speakers were knowledgeable and engaging.”

Slavik recognized the value of offering the event since a similar opportunity for Catholic Charities employees was offered 11 years ago when he was director of Broome County Catholic Charities. The event was held during the church’s jubilee year, 2000.

Brian Corbin, executive director of Catholic Charities Services & Health Affairs in the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, gave the morning keynote address at the latest gathering. Corbin also serves as adjunct faculty member of Walsh University in North Canton, where he teaches Business Ethics/Social Responsibility. In addition, he serves on the faculty of the Catholic Studies Program, teaching courses in social doctrine, Christian living/moral theology and bioethics in the Department of Theology.

Corbin used Scripture in his presentation defining Catholic Charities’ identity and explaining the work that it does. He utilized the story of God’s creation from the Book of Genesis to illustrate the model for Catholic Charities’ mission. “God created each one of us in His image,” said Corbin. “These 31 sentences give us the reason why the Catholic community is so insistent on human dignity.”

Corbin also discussed Genesis, chapter 18, the story of how Abraham offered food to three strangers who approached his home. “Hospitality — is that not the trademark of Catholic Charities?” asked Corbin. “There’s a fantastic quote in the Letters to the Hebrews that says, ‘Be mindful of strangers, you don’t know if it’s God.’”

By drawing analogies to Scripture readings, Corbin defined another characteristic of Catholic Charities. The organization offers help to everybody, regardless of their status. “See the Lord in who you are serving,” advised Corbin. “We don’t serve just clients, we serve Jesus. That’s our mission.”

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