Our Cherished Right, Our Sacred Duty

Jack Balinsky, director of Diocese of Rochester Catholic Charities, has received the prestigious Centennial Medal from Catholic Charities USA, one of only 100 to be awarded nationally during the organization’s 100th Anniversary celebration.The medal recognizes the exemplary contributions of individuals and organizations to the work of Catholic Charities to reduce poverty and assist people in many forms of need.

Through their work and life, recipients of the medal have shown an extraordinary commitment to the vision and mission of Catholic Charities USA. Thus far, only 8 medals have been awarded in the United States, including to Archbishop Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, DC, and retired Bishop Joseph Sullivan of the Diocese of Brooklyn.Rev. Larry Snyder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, announced Balinsky’s award at a special Diocese of Rochester Catholic Charities on Sept. 14, 2010. The Diocese also is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the founding of diocesan Catholic Charities .

“I am most humbled and deeply honored by the awarding of this medallion,” Balinsky said. “Even more, I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to serve with a team of people throughout our agencies and affiliates, people absolutely committed to the cause of helping others in a Diocese and for a Bishop equally passionate about living the Gospel message of compassion, justice and love.”

Balinsky, a native of Syracuse, has been diocesan director since 1992. He is credited with vastly expanding the services and presence of Catholic Charities in the 12-county diocese, from three subsidiary agencies to 10. Before joining the Diocese of Rochester, Balinsky served in a variety of roles in Diocese of Syracuse Catholic Charities from 1971-1984 , including as area director. From 1984-1990, he was executive secretary of the State Council of Catholic Charities Directors in Albany, and from 1990-1992 served as executive director of the DuLac Community Development Corp, also in Albany. He is a 1969 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he achieved the honor of class valedictorian, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Princeton University.

He also has made a life’s work of chronicling the long service of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Rochester and New York State, researching and writing eight volumes of history.

Balinsky directs a diocesan Catholic Charities family of agencies and affiliates that serve more than 250,000 people annually, regardless of religious affiliation, in such areas as home-purchase assistance; senior services,; emergency services for food, clothing and housing; help for the homeless; assistance to developmentally disabled people; help for people with mental illness; migrant-family assistance; and help with addiction, among others.

of agencies and affiliates are: Camp Stella Maris, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Catholic Family Center and Catholic Charities Community Services in Rochester, Catholic Charities of Livingston County, Catholic Charities of Wayne County, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler, Catholic Charities of Steuben County, Kinship Family and Youth Services, Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga, Providence Housing Development Corp. and Diocesan Services.”I am most delighted at this much-deserved recognition for Jack’s work, and most proud of the life-changing ministry that Catholic Charities accomplishes every single day,” Bishop Clark said.

For a look at the histories produced by Jack Balinsky, visit http://www.jackbalinsky.org