Bishop, Helias Catholic president view construction progress at Catholic Charities’ new center


As Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri’s (CCCNMO’s) new health and social services center in Jefferson City nears completion, one of its big neighbors are getting excited about the possibilities.

“I saw a beautiful building that will one day provide a multitude of services to our sisters and brothers who are most in need of assistance,” said John Knight, the new president of Helias Catholic High School.

Mr. Knight joined Bishop W. Shawn McKnight in touring the construction site and viewed recent progress with CCCNMO representatives.

Among them were Jim Wisch, a member of the CCCNMO board of directors; Executive Director Dan Lester; and Cristal Backer, director of development and outreach.

“I was very impressed with the leadership and vision of Catholic Charities,” said Mr. Knight, who recently moved to Jefferson City and became president of Helias Catholic July 1.

The new Catholic Charities campus, scheduled to be completed this fall, is located within walking distance of Helias Catholic’s campus.

It stands within view of the State Capitol and in a neighborhood where needs are now abundant.

The completed facility will help meet those needs and many others throughout the diocese.

It will include a full-service client choice food pantry, in addition to other services and opportunities for collaboration with churches, charitable agencies and other organizations in the community.

 “It will be a place where our whole community may feel at home, expand our ability to serve our neighbors in need, and restore a piece of our Mid-Missouri Catholic heritage,” Mr. Lester stated.

The building originally served as the chapel and gymnasium for the former seminary of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette.

Catholic Charities looks forward to a continued partnership with the Helias Catholic community, which is known for promoting service as a way of life.

“My hope is that the Helias Catholic community will joyfully embrace the many opportunities to share our gifts and talents with the good souls who are served by Catholic Charities,” said Mr. Knight.

Mrs. Backer noted that fundraising for the project is ongoing, with matching grants from the Mabee Foundation and another contributor basically tripling the impact of each gift people make toward the renovation.

To contribute to Catholic Charities’ “Open Hearts, Open Doors” renovation, visit or send a check payable to “Catholic Charities” to P.O. Box 104626, Jefferson City, MO 65110-4626.

For information about the ongoing renovations, contact Ms. Backer, at 573-635-7719 or, or visit