Mt. 25: ‘For I was hungry, and you gave me food’

For 300 years, the Catholic Church of New Orleans has lived out the Gospel imperative of Matthew 25:35-36 by providing SERVICE in times of need to its fellow citizens in the local community.

Here is a snapshot of the ways in which the Archdiocese of New Orleans reaches out in service to people of all faiths.

‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 
– Matthew 25:35-36


Christopher Homes, Inc., founded by Archbishop Philip Hannan in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy, develops and manages dignified and affordable housing for the elderly and disabled. There are 21 Christopher Homes buildings at 14 sites, totaling 2,400 apartments, across the metro area. (504) 596-3460;

The affordable housing ministry of the Willwoods Community helps applicants 18 and older find safe, secure and affordable housing at nine apartment communities in New Orleans, Metairie, the West Bank, St. Rose and LaPlace. (504) 830-3714;


The archdiocese operates Chateau de Notre Dame, which offers a continuum of senior care: independent and assisted living apartments, skilled nursing, home care and hospice services, Chateau de Notre Dame offers apartments and nursing care, (504) 866-2741; Notre Dame Home Care and Notre Dame Hospice, (504) 227-3600; Our Lady of Wisdom Healthcare Center in Algiers, (504) 394-5991; Wynhoven Health Care Center in Marrero, (504) 347-0777.

Lafon Nursing Facility in eastern New Orleans is operated by the Sisters of the Holy Family. It is one of the oldest nursing homes in the U.S. (504) 241-6285;


New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries, an archdiocesan ministry, operates, maintains and restores tombs at 13 historic cemeteries, including the city’s oldest – St. Louis No. 1 on Basin Street, established in 1789. Catholic cemeteries are open to the burial needs of all faiths and recently added new burial and cremation properties to its historic acreage. (504) 596-3050;


God’s Special Children, Family and Friends offers a monthly Mass and several parties a year at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Metairie for families with members who have special needs.

God’s Northshore Blessings celebrates Masses on the third Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Church, 312 Lafitte St., Mandeville.

Padua Community Services, including Padua Community Homes and Padua Homes, provides services and residences for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (504) 392-0502;

Therapeutic Family Services places medically fragile children or those who have moderate to severe emotional, behavioral or developmental problems with families that provide specialized foster care. (504) 310-6939;

Catholic Charities’ Deaf Action Center provides professional sign-language interpretation by certified interpreters and supportive services for people who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. (504) 615-7122;

Several schools, including Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belle Chasse and St. Michael Special School, offer instruction for students with learning challenges.


Catholic Charities’ Spirit of Hope Disaster Program provides disaster case management to those affected by disasters. (504) 310-6998;


Catholic Charities’ Project SAVE (Stopping Abuse through Victim Empowerment) offers free, emergency legal representation for victims of domestic violence living in Orleans Parish. Staff attorneys help secure temporary restraining and protection orders, temporary child support, custody and use of property. The focus is on keeping survivors of domestic violence safe and protecting their legal rights. (504) 310-6872;


The Office of Catholic Schools has 74 Catholic elementary and high schools that educate more than 34,000 students. All elementary schools have pre-K4 programs, and most have pre-K3. There are nearly two dozen licensed daycare centers for 2-year-olds; some offer infant care. (504) 866-7916;

Several religious orders also run elementary and high schools and universities. There are three Catholic colleges in the archdiocese: Loyola University New Orleans, the University of Holy Cross and Xavier University of Louisiana. St. Joseph Seminary College and Notre Dame Seminary offer studies for those discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

Also, Catholic Charities operates five early childhood Head Start Centers. (504) 861-6359;


Catholic Charities has two mentoring programs for youth. Isaiah 43 is a parenting and mentoring ministry that focuses on helping youth, families and church parishes by strengthening skills for peace-building, mentoring activities, parenting fellowship and family support. (504) 310-8772; 

The Foster Grandparents’ program seeks men and women 55 and older to volunteer as mentors and role models to local youth. (504) 310-6882;

The archdiocese’s Office of Marriage and Family Life  conducts marriage and family ministry trainings, marriage preparation and enrichment and other family enrichment programs. (504) 861-6243;

Catholic Counseling Service provides quality counseling and psychotherapy services to individuals, couples and families through the lens of the Catholic faith. This office recently moved to South Carrollton Avenue across from Notre Dame Seminary. (504) 861-6245;

Catholic Charities’ School-Based Counseling works with the St. Charles Parish School Board Special Education Department to provide school social-work services to children and young adults. (985) 307-6882


Daughters of Charity Health Centers offer 10 locations for primary and preventive care, prenatal care, pediatrics, pharmacy, dental, eye care, behavioral health, enrollment for Medicare, Medicaid, the Health Insurance Marketplace and Women, Infant and Children (WIC). (504) 482-2080;

Mercy Family Learning Center opened in New Orleans in 1992 to provide community-based mental health and educational services for children, adolescents, adults and families, regardless of income. Mercy has locations in Metairie, Mandeville and the West Bank. Mercy also has the Learning Center in Mandeville for students with learning differences and runs a school-based mental health program called Project Fleur-de-Lis that supports and conducts interventions and trainings for children, families, educators, communities and members of the military impacted by traumatic events. (504) 376-2590;

Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa is the only Catholic hospital in the archdiocese. It is part of The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS) that also operates Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe and Our Lady of the Lake St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. (985) 730-6700;

Catholic Charities has an adult day healthcare center, the Greenwalt Center. (504) 461-5889; 

PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) provides a comprehensive package of health services to keep elderly individuals (age 55-plus) living in the community. Services are customized and holistic to the particular needs of each participant and coordinated by an interdisciplinary team of professionals. PACE offers locations in Bywater and Marrero. (504) 835-0006;

Catholic Charities offers Health Guardians, which provides intensive medical and behavioral health-care navigation and case management to individuals with chronic mental illness. (504) 310-6908;

The Health-Care Chaplaincy program of the archdiocese provides Catholic chaplains in hospitals for the spiritual and emotional comfort of hospital patients and families of all denominations. Through its pastoral ministry for the sick, the chaplaincy program uses priests, deacons, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and chaplains to meet patient and family needs. (504) 227-3606;


Project Lazarus, a residence in Bywater for persons with HIV/AIDS, was co-founded in 1985 at the height of the AIDS epidemic by two Catholic priests as a hospice at which men and women could die with dignity. Housed in an historic former convent and rectory, Project Lazarus provided vital housing and support services to these individuals. Thanks to medical advancements, people with HIV/AIDS are living longer, healthier lives than ever before, but still struggle with issues, such as homelessness, addiction, discrimination and mental illness. Project Lazarus strives to provide residents with the tools they need to rise out of homelessness and poverty and achieve independent living. The residence provides transitional housing for up to 23 adults, typically serving about 70 persons annually. (504) 949-3609;


The archdiocese’s numerous anti-homelessness initiatives include The Rebuild Center, a collaborative of four Catholic entities on the grounds of St. Joseph Church on Tulane Avenue that provides weekday breakfast, lunch, showers, health screenings, transportation, help with photo IDs, mail service and art time. (504) 273-5573;

Ozanam Inn, a ministry of St. Vincent de Paul, has been providing overnight shelter and other support services to homeless men at its Camp Street hub since 1955. (504) 523-1184;

CCANO Homeless Program provides case management services to individuals and families in need of rapid rehousing or permanent assistance. (504) 310-8788;

St. Jude Community Center, a mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, serves weekday breakfast and lunch and Saturday lunch to walk-in guests. (504) 525-1551;

Hotel Hope is staffed by the Sisters of the Presentation. It provides short-term, hotel-style housing and intensive case management to homeless mothers and their children as they work toward stable housing and employment. (504) 233-4760;

The City of New Orleans Shelter and Engagement Center, a new 100-bed, 24/7 shelter in the former VA Hospital, counts St. Jude Community Center, Second Harvest Food Bank and Catholic Charities’ Health Guardians program among its service providers.  (504) 658-4000.


Because it rests along the I-10 corridor and is an international tourist hub (for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and sporting events), New Orleans is a magnet for human trafficking. Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services says the number of reported trafficking victims in New Orleans increased by 52 percent from 2016 to 2017. The archdiocese’s Respect Life Office works with community organizations to train groups to identify red flags for trafficking. It also does anonymous walks through the French Quarter to engage possible human-trafficking victims confidentially. (504) 286-1119;


Second Harvest Food Bank was founded in 1982 by Archbishop Philip Hannan, and after Hurricane Katrina, it became the largest food bank in the U.S. It now provides food and support to more than 700 community partners in 23 civil parishes in south Louisiana. It also mobilizes food distribution across the country after natural disasters. (504) 734-1322;

Catholic Charities’ Food for Families/Food for Seniors warehouses, packs and transports supplemental food boxes to more than 120 sites throughout the state for distribution to low-income seniors 60 years of age and older who meet USDA income guidelines. Executive director Tim Robertson says there is space available for qualifying seniors to participate in the free program. (504) 245-7207;


Catholic Charities provides free or low-cost legal immigration counseling and legal assistance to individuals and families who are eligible for immigration benefits but cannot afford private attorneys. It particularly serves at-risk groups, such as unaccompanied children, survivors of domestic abuse, trafficking victims and those detained in immigration facilities. It also offers ESL classes, social support and education, literacy and citizenship classes. (504) 310-6886;


The St. Vincent de Paul/Sister Lory Schaff Adult Learning Center at 2601 Canal St. meets the needs of undereducated adults and assists their entrance into post-secondary institutions and/or employment. (504) 827-2999; 

Catholic Charities’ Workforce Development program helps individuals who are unemployed connect with job resources, training programs and educational opportunities. (504) 310-8737;


ACCESS Pregnancy is for women facing an unplanned or troubled pregnancy. Services include free, confidential and caring pregnancy assistance services. (504) 832-1503;

Woman’s New Life Center, 4612 South Claiborne Ave., New Orleans, offers a pro-life medical and professional counseling center helping women and their families with unplanned pregnancies and related issues such as pregnancy testing and ultrasound. Related services, including post-abortive counseling, are offered here through Hope Woman’s Clinic and Hope Fertility Care Center. (504) 831-3117;

Catholic Charities’ St. Vincent Maternity Clinic in Metairie offers affordable, private medical care for low-to-moderate-income women during pregnancy. (504) 837-6346;

Domestic and international adoptions are facilitated by Catholic Charities’ Adoption Services. Through the open-adoption model, birth parents and adoptive parents can determine how closely they would like to be in contact with each other throughout the adoption process. Open adoptions have benefits for birth parents, adoptive parents and the child. (504) 885-1141;


Catholic Charities’ Voyage House is an independent, permanent and supportive housing program for single, unaccompanied homeless women ages 39 and older who experience substance abuse, mental health issues or other non-mobilizing physical disabilities. (504) 269-3969;

Catholic Charities’ Counseling Solutions is another venue providing counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups of all faiths. (504) 310-6933;

Catholic Charities offers Ciara Permanent Housing, Ciara Independent Living, and Bridges to Self-Sufficiency, providing shelter, case management and care focused on homeless families, homeless women and homeless men and women with chronic mental and physical health needs. (504) 523-3755;


Connecting and re-connecting families during and after the incarceration of a family member is a priority. The archdiocese offers parenting courses, programs to strengthen family relationships and Bible studies. “Just because someone is in prison doesn’t mean he stops being a family member,” said John Messenheimer, prison ministry coordinator for Catholic Charities. In 2007, the archdiocese launched Cornerstone Builders, the first Re-Entry 72 project in the country for recently released prisoners. Returning citizens are met at the gate and offered employment for one month while they look for full-time jobs. The archdiocese has advocated for “justice reinvestment,” which takes the savings from reducing the prison population and reinvests it in community grants creating job opportunities. There is a Catholic chaplain’s presence in every area prison. (504) 267-9727;


More than 10 years ago, the archdiocese established the Office of Racial Harmony to promote racial healing and understanding. The office sponsors a discussion series on former Archbishop Alfred Hughes’ pastoral letter, “Made in the Image and Likeness of God”; school programs on anti-bullying, diversity and inclusion; and neighborhood “peace walks” at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month in various locations. (504) 861-6272;


Mercy Endeavors Senior Center, an adult day center on Jackson Avenue in New Orleans operated by the Sisters of Mercy, helps seniors in the Lower Garden District and Irish Channel stay active and healthy. (504) 568-0607.

The Peace Center is a neighborhood outreach center that offers services in computer classes, job readiness, homework assistance and gatherings for seniors as well as an available presence for the people of Gert Town. It is sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace. (504) 267-3342;

The Congregation of St. Joseph operates two locations of the People Program with educational, art and fitness activities for senior adults. New Orleans location, (504) 284-7678; Algiers location, (504) 394-5433; 


St. Anthony’s Gardens, a senior living ministry of the archdiocese, offers private residences with maintenance-free living, access to quality short- or long-term care, personalized services and opportunities for social, educational and recreational activities enveloped in surroundings that are rooted in Catholic principles and tradition. Seamless transition to assisted living and memory care. (985) 288-1075;


The Substance Abuse Ministry (SAM) offers help, hope, healing and support to those either afflicted with or affected by a loved one’s drug or alcohol abuse. It is open to members of all faiths at six locations: Slidell, Mandeville, New Orleans, Destrehan, Metairie and Marrero. The ministry started in 2011 at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Slidell. Addiction is not a moral weakness, it is a disease, Deacon Louis Bauer says. The next “You Are Not Alone” community forum will be Jan. 21, 2019, at 6 p.m. at St. Angela Merici Parish, 901 Beverly Garden Drive, Metairie. (985) 643-6124;


St. Vincent de Paul serves the community with its St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy, 1995 Gentilly Blvd, Suite C-18, open Monday and Wednesday from 8-10 a.m.; and its St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, 4034 Fourth St., Marrero, open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Also, Catholic parishes in the archdiocese have St. Vincent de Paul conferences that offer food, rent and utility assistance. (504) 940-5031;


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