Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Nation and World
Founder of Philadelphia community center recipient of annual CCHD award
Catholic News Service photo
Bethany Welch poses for a photo at the St. Thomas Aquinas Center's community garden in Philadelphia June 6. Welch is this year's recipient of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin New Leadership Award given by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Develo pment. A June 11 presentation of the award was taking place during the bishops' spring assembly in New Orleans.
Catholic News Service photo
Bethany Welch poses for a photo at the St. Thomas Aquinas Center's community garden in Philadelphia June 6. Welch is this year's recipient of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin New Leadership Award given by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Develo pment. A June 11 presentation of the award was taking place during the bishops' spring assembly in New Orleans.
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Long before she became a Catholic in 2005, Bethany Welch demonstrated a commitment to serving others and living out the Gospel.

From creating relationships with the marginalized while living at the poverty level to developing a community center that supports immigrant populations in one of the poorest parts of the U.S., Welch embodies the Gospel message as she combats the problems of poverty, drug use and gun violence in South Philadelphia.

For her work, Welch, 35, is this year's recipient of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin New Leadership Award, given by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Named for the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, the award has been presented annually since 1988 to a Catholic between 18 and 40 years old who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice through community-based solutions.

Although Welch cites her parents as "models of faith in action," she didn't consider a career in social change until finishing her undergraduate studies.

After graduating from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2000, Welch worked at a large food bank in Rochester, New York, where she coordinated advocacy efforts and successfully secured new language for federal legislation governing hunger and food security.

Welch continued to serve the urban poor when she moved to Philadelphia to become an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. While participating in the one-year national service program, Welch developed a service learning program for at-risk youth and helped launch a community center sponsored by Catholic Social Services of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Although not yet Catholic herself, Welch was drawn to the anti-poverty mission of the project.

"I have never before encountered such brokenness, such pain. The neighborhood where the center is located is the 'hungriest in America,'" Welch told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview. "It has some of the highest rates of drug addiction ... and, as a result, incredible levels of gun violence. It was like the neighborhood had been completely forgotten by the rest of the city of Philadelphia."

Although she quickly became "overwhelmed and disillusioned" by the project, she cites the experience as "the final step" in her decision to join the Catholic Church.

"I didn't understand how the sisters and priests I worked with were doing this work for 30 and 40 years when I was discouraged after two months," said Welch. "I kept ending up over at the rectory kitchen asking how God was OK with this brokenness ... and how these men and women of faith stay invested in their work. What sustained them? They pointed me to the Eucharist."

As she discovered how "Christ's body ... unites us with those who are suffering," Welch began to feel called to "contribute to the light of the Gospel" by using her talents and gifts to help others.

"I found a home in the Catholic faith," said Welch. "I think I am called to be accountable for that gift. ...That means taking every opportunity to use my gifts and talents to further the kingdom of God on earth. Sometimes that is in art. Sometimes that is through research and writing. Sometimes it is in speaking up for those without a voice."

During the process to join the church, Welch's biggest supporter was Msgr. Hugh Shields. After he became pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in South Philadelphia, he invited Welch to use her extensive knowledge in community development and repurposing church property to convert a former convent on his parish campus into something that could foster the goals of the local community.

As she developed ideas for the space, Welch spent three months listening to the multicultural, multilingual members of the parish community explain their needs and hopes for the parish. After inviting a network of institutions and organizations to "come see what God was doing in South Philly," Welch received the support necessary to open the Aquinas Center in January 2013 during the feast of the parish's patron saint.

Following its mission to build unity in diversity, support learning and inspire thoughtful action, the Aquinas Center sustains a law clinic and mental health counseling program to support immigrant populations; houses global fundraising efforts with the help of Catholic Charities; and works with the greater Philadelphia community to promote urban unification projects throughout the city.

In a May 28 statement, the chairman of CCHD, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, described how Welch promotes the message of the Gospel within her community.

"Bethany Welch is practicing her Catholic faith in an inspiring way. She lives at the service of immigrants and the working poor, those on the margins of our society," said Bishop Soto. "Her work echoes Pope Francis' call to reach out to those whom the culture excludes with the 'evangelii gaudium,' the joy of the Gospel. Bethany brings to life the mission of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development."

He was presenting the award to Welch June 11 during the bishops' annual spring meeting in New Orleans.

Although Welch has already done so much, she hopes to inspire young people to become more active within their communities in a book she is writing regarding the experience of founding the Aquinas Center.

"I hope to help young people find the point of mutuality and reciprocity where an individual is able to share his gifts and talents in order to empower others to use the gifts that God has given them," said Welch. "Each of us has been given so many privileges and I feel that we are responsible for giving back. By discovering what animates your heart and spirit and using it to help others in a thoughtful and passionate way, you are able to make a real impact."

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved