Marie Jochum

Accompanying anyone in need

October 5, 2022

Since late August, I have been continually reminded about the vitally significant role that Catholic Charities plays in witnessing a message of mercy and hope to our clients in need.

As part of the Catholic Charities response team meeting hundreds of migrants arriving in Chicago, our rotating team of nearly 20 dedicated bilingual case managers conducts initial needs assessments with each individual or family, most of whom are from Venezuela, and connects those who are headed to other destinations with family, friends, and shelter.

The overwhelming majority of Venezuelans are Catholic. I have been able to see, firsthand, how comforting it is for them to be welcomed by the Catholic Charites team. We are fortified and upheld not only by the power and strength of the Catholic Charities community of employees, volunteers and partners, but also the power of prayer.

Since mid-September, more than 700 migrants have come through the Reception Center, with many arriving on buses, but some also coming to us via parishes.

Often, there is just a day’s notice or less before our Catholic Charities team must mobilize for action, but the commitment and dedication to our mission to help those caught in crisis has never wavered.

We do this work because our faith calling includes welcoming strangers and aiding anyone in need. Catholic Charities does this each day across all our programs. We have upheld this responsibility in previous crises and continue to do so for these migrants.

Of course, we do nothing alone.

We are grateful for Cardinal Cupich’s leadership, eager to deepen our partnership with the archdiocese’s immigrant ministry and committed to working more closely with local parishes. We are also joined by partners including the Resurrection Project, the Salvation Army and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

As each migrant is greeted, our team is witness to their fragile condition, yet glimmers of hope and optimism can occasionally shine through in moments that strengthen our spirits.

In particular, one 7-year-old boy arriving at the reception center stepped off a bus waving an American flag, skipping joyfully and saying aloud, “Hola, hola, hola!” Even amid his family’s difficult journey, his spirit was resilient, seeing this exhausting experience as an adventure. His mother stated how grateful she was for his perspective, a feeling she will hold in her heart as their journey to find a new home continues.

God calls us to be present for each person we meet, whether it is on the street in our own communities, or at a migrant reception center. I am forever grateful for the Catholic Charities response as we are called to serve and accompany the vulnerable, the suffering, the overlooked, accompanying anyone in need.


  • immigration
  • catholic charities
  • migrants