Catholic Charities announce agency merger

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The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester’s board of directors recently announced the merger of Catholic Charities Community Services and Catholic Family Center.  

The combined agency will be called Catholic Charities Family and Community Services, providing clients with easier access to a wider range of services and enabling staff to offer more comprehensive care and treatment options in a more efficient delivery model.  

Serving together, the staff will continue over 100 years of service to the most vulnerable individuals and families living in the city of Rochester and all 12 counties of the Diocese.  

Marlene Bessette, CFC president and CEO, announced her intention to retire in 2022. Lori VanAuken, current CCCS executive director, will lead the new agency as president and CEO. 

CCFCS will continue to serve clients across all stages of life with services and programs that enable independence and promote human dignity. The newly joined nonprofit agency will operate services and programs representing approximately $47 million. These services and programs span refugee resettlement to services assisting vulnerable individuals and families. 

“As sister agencies under Catholic Charities, both CCCS and CFC share a common mission and vision for helping the most vulnerable members of our community in answer to the mandate of Jesus to love God and to love our neighbor,” said the Most Rev. Salvatore Matano, bishop of the Diocese of Rochester. “In answering this call to serve together, the dedicated staff of both agencies will be even more strongly supported to continue their service, in faith and charity and in love. On behalf of the Diocese, and all who have been served by her leadership, our prayerful wishes and gratitude to Marlene Bessette for her dedication to the service of Catholic Charities.” 

The merger will be effective in January 2022. Visit or for information on current services and programs, as well as how the community can support them. 

“Our services and mission are naturally aligned, and our joining together will enable a broader array of services and programs for the people we have the privilege of serving,” Bessette and VanAuken said in a joint statement. “Both CFC and CCCS are in a position of fiscal and program strength, which helps to ensure the success of this transition. We are excited for what is to come.”