If you’ve ever spent time at Seoul Food Meat Co., Craft Growler Shop and Tasting Room or The Unknown Brewing Co., you’ve probably driven past it: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte Pastoral Center. It’s a mammoth, three-story white building with gold-tinted windows that’s situated at 1123 S. Church St. in South End.
Did you know these five things can be found inside this building?
(1) A food pantry operated by Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte
The pantry is open to families in need on a first-come-first-served basis from 8-10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the building is bustling with people at these hours. Items are a combination of donations from Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, area churches and bulk foods that the diocese workers shop for at Second Harvest.
Social worker Don Meanor is in charge of this client-choice food pantry program, which offers a full menu of frozen food, canned food and fresh produce that meets basic food needs as well as special dietary needs. They aim to serve up to 55 families twice a week. Families can also request diapers, toiletries and other food items.
Interestingly, about 80 percent of the clients served here are not Catholic.
“There is no restriction,” Meanor said. “Anybody is welcome. It’s not based upon any affiliation with any church.”
Other Catholic Charities services in the building include counseling, refugee resettlement and case management to help people transition out of poverty.
(2) The Catholic News Herald office
Move over, digital newsletters. The Catholic News Herald, or “the mighty engine of truth” as Diocese of Charlotte director of communication David Hains calls it, prints every other Friday and is delivered to about 60,000 registered families in the diocese. The newsprint pages are filled with a combination of parish and diocesan news, homilies from the bishop, opinion pages, school news and information about the church and its teachings. About 70 freelance writers across the diocese contribute to the publication.
(3) Average cubicles, offices and meeting rooms
Yep, once you move past the gold-tinted windows, the rose bushes tended outside and the lobby looking up to a tall, stained-glass version of the diocese’s coat of arms, this building largely functions as a typical workspace for 130 employees.
When the Charlotte Diocese was formed in 1972 (North Carolina’s only other diocese is in Raleigh), it was located on East Morehead Street. It found its home in South End around 1997.
The Charlotte Diocese overall employs about 2,000 people in Charlotte and across the western side of the state, and oversees 90 missions and parishes, as well as 19 schools including Charlotte Catholic High School and Holy Trinity Middle School.
Employee departments range from education, to development, to finance. Bishop Peter Jugis, a Charlotte native and the fourth bishop of the Charlotte Diocese, has an office here.
(4) A room filled with archives
Here, an archivist accumulates records of baptisms, people who have received sacraments, records of marriages and more. Most files are microfilm or in digital form at this point.
(5) A chapel
Not obvious from the outside, the chapel is on the third floor for visitors or workers who want to worship. Many days, Mass is held here. When I took a look, the space was empty but there was holy water by the door and the sanctuary light was on.
“When it’s lit,” Hains said, “it indicates that the blessed sacrament, the host, is present in the tabernacle.”
Photos: Katie Toussaint