A generous Protestant was responsible for the beginning of Catholic Charities in Dallas, before the Diocese of Dallas was established in 1890. In 1888 Thomas Lafayette Marsalis, founder of Oak Cliff, and a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, donated eight acres to the Catholic Church “to be used for some charitable purpose.” Father Joseph Martiniere, pastor of Sacred Heart Church knew that the most vulnerable in need of help at that time were orphans so it was decided to use the donated land for an orphanage which opened in 1891. Early Texas was a dangerous place for orphans who were often exploited and used as field hands or pressed into some other form of child labor to earn their keep,
Dallas Catholic Orphanage was the beginning of Catholic Charities Dallas which has sought out the poor, the vulnerable and the abandoned for 125 years without regard of race or religion. From those early days through today, countless children, women and men have been helped through Catholic Charities’ outreach to orphans, the elderly, the homeless, and families and individuals seeking refuge or assistance. Catholic Charities, like Father Martiniere, is aware of those who need a hand up, or a safe place of refuge, but looks to generous people like Tom Marsalis to make it possible.
Next weekend, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, a special collection to support the ministries of Catholic Charities Dallas will be taken up in the churches of our diocese. I appeal to each of you to be generous in your support because, as always, it will help those in need, regardless of their race or religion. Let us all look to assist our brothers and sisters in need and remember that we help people not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic.”
Image Credit: Prince of Peace Catholic Community Outreach Committee donated nine sets of IKEA tables and (36) chairs to our Refugee & Empowerment Services – Facebook