Photos courtesy of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington / 
Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, with Lydia Pearl Monroe, program supervisor for St. Maria's Meals.
Photos courtesy of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington / Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, with Lydia Pearl Monroe, program supervisor for St. Maria's Meals.
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To mark the 70th birthday of their president and CEO, Msgr. John Enzler, Catholic Charities is launching a “Catholic Charities DC Summer of Service,” which will include 70 different service projects throughout the summer.

The Summer of Service was announced during a birthday celebration for Msgr. Enzler on June 7 at the St. Maria’s Meals program. Each week, the program set up outside the entrance to Catholic Charities’ downtown Washington headquarters provides warm meals to about 100 homeless and hungry men and women.

Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville; Jacob Feinspan, the executive director for Jews United for Justice; and Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, the director of social justice and interfaith initiatives for the Jewish Community Relations Council; were present at the program to show support for the Summer of Service.

One of the clients of St. Maria’s Meals kicked off the evening by leading those gathered in singing “Happy Birthday” for someone who he said does many good things for them. After blowing out the candles in his cake, Msgr. Enzler announced that they were “using his birthday to celebrate something special.”

Explaining that they would be providing special opportunities to volunteer during a time that usually sees a drop in volunteer rates, Msgr. Enzler noted, “Those who are in need don’t have vacation.”

Many of the projects are what Msgr. Enzler calls “toe in the water” projects, which provide people with the opportunity to try out a new type of service, by doing something like helping out at one of the Catholic Charities shelters, painting, gardening, or doing other maintenance. Others are more long term, such as becoming a mentor to welcome home someone from incarceration.

“The fun thing about it is if you want to work with children or adults; if you want to work in the suburbs or in the city; if you want to work more with administration or more with getting hands dirty,” there is an opportunity to do so, Msgr. Enzler told the Catholic Standard.

Mark Tuohey, the director of the mayor’s office of legal counsel, presented a Mayoral Proclamation about the Summer of Service which recognized that “Catholic Charities has been an invaluable and inspiring part” of the Washington community.

As a birthday present to him, Msgr. Enzler asked everyone to “do something in service.”

“Every time someone gets involved in service, I think they are changed,” said Msgr. Enzler, in an interview with the Catholic Standard. “The person who is served has the benefit of having someone help them, support them, walk with them. But what I see more than anything else is people who get involved in service have a different perspective of the Church, of giving back, and maybe of life itself.”

To sign up for a service project, visit https://www.catholiccharitiesdc.org/volunteer.