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Office of Catholic Social Services

Serving Those in Need

Jesus came not to be served but to serve.
We follow his example and reach out in His Name.

Office of Catholic Social Services

Contact Information:
Sr. Joanne Dress, DC
Executive Director of Catholic Social Services
Diocese of Trenton
701 Lawrenceville Rd.
Trenton, NJ 08638-0147

"The Office of Catholic Social Services has responsibility for oversight of all offices, agencies and organizations in the Diocese of Trenton that administer diocesan-based and parish-based social services to the faithful of the Diocese or to others within the four counties who approach the Diocese in need.

Appointed by and reporting to the Bishop, the Executive Director of the Office of Catholic Social Services serves as his personal delegate and representative to all offices, agencies and organizations and/or boards related to it functioning as well as to other provincial, national or international Catholic social services offices, agencies or organizations such as the New Jersey Catholic Conference, Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services." (Statute 105 – Fourth Synod, 2014)

It is the primary responsibility of the EDCSS to serve the Diocese and its stated mission in any established areas relating to Catholic social services in the Diocese as well as any new initiatives to be proposed and/or established.

The Diocese of Trenton has numerous offices, agencies and institutions that make up the Catholic Social Services of the diocese. The determining factor of which agencies are "Catholic" is their listing in the National Catholic Directory. The Office of Catholic Social Services acts as a liaison with these agencies and the diocese. The office identifies the various Catholic Social Service agencies, offers support and provides opportunities to network with the other Catholic Social Services in the diocese.

The Social Service agencies come together at quarterly meetings to share information about their services, to share issues that they face in the delivery of services and wherever possible to network their efforts to provide for the needs of the people. This invitation to the Catholic Agencies will continue with the hope of strengthening the services they provide and increasing advocacy efforts for families and individuals throughout the four counties of the diocese.

The Office of Catholic Social Services has worked closely with numerous parishes in response to their efforts to provide assistance to those in need. We will continue to work closely with parishes and their social ministry services and outreach efforts in the coming year. The goal is to invite parishes to share information about their parish outreach/social services, to discuss issues that they face in providing service and to network with other parishes in their deanery and/or vicariate on direct services and advocacy efforts. The Office of Catholic Social Services will participate in the Diocesan Certificate Program through sessions on "Catholic Social Teaching", "Parish Social Ministry and “Contemporary Social Issues”.


Programs and Services of Catholic Social Services 2015-16.pdf

The Catholic Social Services Agencies and Institutions of the Diocese provide extensive services that taken collectively provide for the real needs of the people within the four counties of the Diocese. While this guide is not intended to be exhaustive it is an attempt to provide you with information that might assist you in your efforts to address the needs that you encounter.

Emergency Assistance, Anti-poverty Initiatives, Education and Advocacy, Counseling and Housing. Below are a list of Catholic social services that are partners with the diocese:

Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in 1969 as the Church’s domestic anti-poverty program. By helping the poor to participate in the decisions and actions that affect their lives, the program offers to empower the poor to move beyond poverty.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities is a faith-inspired social services organization, founded in 1913, with a mission to alleviate human suffering offering 58 programs at 35 service sites and 72 residential sites in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean counties.

Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas.  We are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic Social and moral teaching as we act to: 

  • Promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and, 
  • Serve Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world. 

As part of the universal mission of the Catholic Church, we work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, not creed, race or nationality.

Mount Carmel Guild

Mount Carmel Guild has been helping Mercer County community members in their times of need since 1920 regardless of race or religion. Our services are offered free to those who need them.

Project Paul

Project PAUL was founded in 1980 as a part of the community outreach ministry of St. Ann's Parish, Keansburg, NJ.

St. Vincent de Paul Society

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is an international Catholic organization of more than 750,000 lay men and women who seek to help the suffering in a spirit of justice and charity through person-to-person involvement.

Hurricane Relief Effort Update

We are grateful to all who contributed to the “Diocesan Hurricane Relief” fund in the aftermath of Super storm Sandy. All previous donations were distributed to families and individuals through parish-based programs and Catholic Social Service agencies to address the most pressing needs of those impacted by the storm.

The Catholic Diocese of Trenton, 701 Lawrenceville Road, Trenton, NJ 08648