The Diocese’s many ministries share the same home

By Larry Urish     4/23/2019

Need proof that actions speak louder than words? Look no further than Catholic ministries. Faith alone cannot feed the poor or counsel those at risk. 

“Ministries extend the actions of God out into our world,” says Sr. Katherine “Kit” Gray, director of Mission Integration and Ongoing Formation. “Jesus paid attention to the human realities of life, death, suffering, hunger and the need for community.”  

The good works that come from the Diocese of Orange are centered in the Christ Cathedral campus. 

 “‘Cathedral’ means ‘seat,’” Sr. Kit says. “It’s the seat of a diocese. A cathedral is often considered to be a diocese’s ‘mother church.’ It’s the center for experiencing the ministry, then going out and acting on them for others.” 

The Diocese offers a wide variety of ministries. “Since we have such a diverse campus and have so many different ministries, we can serve so many,” says Tony Jennison, the Orange Catholic Foundation’s vice president of philanthropy. “They help both Catholics and non-Catholics, in Orange County and far beyond.” 

“The campus is home to offices that oversee our ministries,” says the Very Rev. Christopher Smith, episcopal vicar and rector of Christ Cathedral. “For example, the Office of Faith Formation supports religious education for everyone, from little children through adulthood.”  

The Office helps support Catholic Schools and the Parish Faith Formation and Youth and Young Adult ministries.  

“The Office for Worship is responsible for all liturgical matters,” Fr. Christopher adds. “Pastoral Care for Families in All Stages helps in marriage preparation and enrichment, matters of bereavement and families in crisis. And Life, Justice and Peace helps in a variety of issues – immigration services, the right to education and health care, and more – by connecting with the different outreach ministries, all of which flow from the campus.” 

The Diocese works with a number of local organizations. For instance, volunteers from the Diocese, Jennison notes, work with the Second Harvest Food Bank, a nonprofit that helps feed those less fortunate in O.C. The Diocese itself also feeds the homeless on a weekly basis, through the Helping Hands House, located on the campus and coordinated by Christ Cathedral Parish. 

Thanks to the campus’s many resources, the Diocese hosts several ministries that send the Catholic message throughout the country. Located in the aptly named Tower of Hope, they blend time-honored Catholic teachings with today’s digital technology to reach millions of the faithful.  

“Some of the various apostolates that call our campus home include EWTN, Relevant Radio and Dynamic Catholic,” Jennison says.  

EWTN (Eternal World Television Network) transmits 11 TV networks to more than 230 million households. The Diocese is home to its West Coast production facility. With an audience of 133 million listeners, Relevant Radio airs original content produced by Orange County Catholic Radio. The Dynamic Catholic Institute, a popular mainstay of the New Evangelization movement, re-energizes the Catholic Church throughout the U.S. And the Magis Institute continually proves the existence of God through contemporary science. 

Although these organizations, among others, aren’t part of the Diocese, the campus serves as their host and furnishes them with resources.  

“We [in the Diocese] must constantly re-evaluate ourselves,” says Sr. Kit, “and one of the key questions we must ask is, ‘What’s the best way to serve Jesus with the resources we have?’” 

These resources are made available through the generous contributions of individuals, families and parishes. The Orange Catholic Foundation raises and administers these contributions.  

“As the fundraising arm of the Diocese, the Foundation plays an important role,” Fr. Christopher says. “They’re a separate organization from the Diocese, but all of the fundraising happens through them.” 

Funding by the Orange Catholic Foundation pays for the resources that allow the Diocese’s ministries to turn faith into good works. Catholic faith in action does indeed speak far louder than words.