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​Natalie Mohr: Bringing Christ to others through Catholic Charities

March 25, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic

Topics: In the Press, Breaking News

Natalie Mohr: Bringing Christ to others through Catholic Charities

Everything in Natalie Mohr’s life seemed to lead to the position she currently holds as project coordinator for parish outreach and Project Rachel at Catholic Charities. A native San Antonian, Mohr attended St. Matthew Catholic School and Antonian College Preparatory High School before entering Texas State University (TSU) in San Marcos.

“That’s honestly where my heart was really opened to the Lord,” she explains. “I grew up going to Catholic school and when I got to college, I felt like Catholic school put me in a place to be ready to encounter Christ in college.”

At first, she had struggled selecting a major. “I always knew that I wanted to find a way to promote Christ,” she says, so when someone described her as “marketing Christ,” she decided to major in mass communications with a focus on public relations and a minor in family-child development.

“I saw it as a way for me to learn how to bring Christ to others,” she explains. “At the time, I didn’t know how those would play out together,” she adds, “but it’s been very helpful to have that communications background, with also understanding more of what’s happening with our families and children.”

Becoming active at TSU in national Catholic service sorority Mu Epsilon Theta, she “fell in love” with its mission of serving Christ’s people. “I saw the great need in our community,” she notes, “and how simply just going out and doing small things could really impact a person’s life.” In college she also served as public relations chair and vice president for Bobcats for Life and as a student leader in FOCUS.

Following graduation, Mohr spent three years working as education manager for St. John Paul II Life Center in Austin, educating, marketing, doing outreach and working face-to-face with their clients. “I had the unique background of being able to know the outreach side,” she says, “but also to have seen the face of the client and served them.” It gave her the opportunity to serve families in need and provide holistic care regarding a woman's faith, body and fertility.

Familiar with Catholic Charities in San Antonio through her parents, who served on their board for several years, Mohr had seen the impact this ministry had on the community, which led her to apply for the position of parish outreach manager when it became available. Hired in October, she now serves as the bridge between Catholic Charities and archdiocesan parishes.

“My main goal is to make all of our services easily accessible to our parishioners,” she explains, “and also to be able to offer opportunities where they can serve our community and become more like Christ.” Running the parish hotline, she works with parish priests, helping them navigate Catholic Charities’ more than 40 programs to find which can benefit their parishioners in need.

Programs include counseling, parenting, emergency financial assistance, legal and tax help, services for the elderly and refugees, and a food pantry in which clients can “shop” with dignity in a grocery store-type setting, to name a few. Mohr’s biggest challenge since coming aboard has been learning to become well-versed in all of them. “Our programs touch on so many different areas of people’s lives that it really does take some time to learn all that,” she says.

For Project Rachel, an abortion healing ministry that supports anyone impacted by abortion, directly or indirectly, she is in charge of their 24-hour hotline, offering nonjudgmental, compassionate care and letting callers know, “You are loved; do not lose hope.”

“I have been blessed to be able to spend time at our food pantry at St. Stephen’s CARE Center,” she relates, “and I’ve been able to help distribute food to families that are food insecure and sack lunches as well.” She could see the impact firsthand, whether it was someone’s first and only visit or they came monthly. More than 1.2 million pounds of food was distributed this past year to families in need.

The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, has greatly increased the number of needy and necessitated many changes. The food pantry has been converted to a drive-through, with masks and social distancing precautions taken for the safety of staff, volunteers and clients. Masks are kept on hand for anyone needing them, Mohr notes. Counseling and parenting programs have converted to Zoom for classes and consultations. Curbside drop-offs are being used in other programs as well.

On February 19, Catholic Charities launched its annual 40 Cans for Lent and 40 Days of Service initiatives. In 40 Cans for Lent, bins are dropped off at Catholic schools, universities, parishes and organizations to collect donations of non-perishable food items for food pantry restocking. In the past, this has gathered enough to fill their shelves for three to six months, but at the pandemic-accelerated rate of distribution, the same amount will only sustain food needs for about a month this year.

In 40 Days of Service, volunteers have the opportunity to engage in a variety of services for those in need throughout the archdiocese, “the same type of vulnerable people Christ encountered and made an effort to serve during his time on earth,” says Mohr. “Just in my short time here, I have already seen the great impact our parishes have had on San Antonio and surrounding area. With their help, we have been able to impact so many lives.”