History of Catholic Social Services


The agency had its beginning in 1877, with the founding of St. Patrick’s Orphanage in Scranton.

In 1924, a Bureau of Catholic Charities Offices was opened in Wilkes-Barre and in 1928 a similar office was organized in Scranton. At that time, the position of Diocesan Director of Catholic Charities was established. In 1928 the basic services of counseling and a small amount of financial aid were offered.

In 1939, Catholic Charities of the Greater Hazleton Area was established. Early chronicles reveal that the work of the agency at that time reflected a strong emphasis on meeting material needs and alleviating the human suffering of those desperate times. Food, clothing, and shelter were the foremost concerns of that era, and Catholic Charities was there to meet them.

Catholic Charities Scranton office established a satellite office in Carbondale to serve the needs of residents in Upper Lackawanna County.

In 1968, the name of the agency was officially changed from Catholic Charities to Catholic Social Services.

In 1974, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentoring contract began with Catholic Social Services of the Wyoming Valley providing one on one mentoring services to youth between the ages of 7 and 18.

In May 1983, St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen was founded as a program of Wyoming Valley/Wilkes-Barre office of Catholic Social Services. The Kitchen was to serve a free meal in the middle of the day every day of the year. The Kitchen has grown to an afternoon and evening meal, also offering a clothing room and food bank.

In 1986 the Tunkhannock office was opened offering Drug and alcohol counseling and Big Brothers/Big Sisters services to the citizens of Wyoming County.

In September 1988, Catholic Social Services founded an office in Williamsport. The mission of the agency was to “meet the unmet needs of the people” residing in Lycoming County and vicinity.

In March 1989, a satellite office of Williamsport was opened in Mansfield, Tioga County to provide basic counseling services.

In October 1989, Catholic Social Services founded an office in Stroudsburg to serve the needs of Monroe County. Programs were established directed towards assisting individuals and families with issues of marriage, family, children, mental health and aging.

In 1990 the Pike County Deanery requested that a social worker from the Stroudsburg office visit Pike County weekly to provide counseling. As the need grew, the Deanery requested a full-time office be opened. Thus, the Milford Office was established in October 1997 offering counseling, adoption and material assistance.

In April 2007, with the cooperation of the parishes of Wayne County, Catholic Social Services established the Honesdale office, to meet the needs of those in Wayne County.

Catholic Social Services is a non-profit community service organization operating on a non-sectarian basis. Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Scranton. The CEO of this agency is appointed by the Bishop and is responsible for the overall effective functioning of the agency. Throughout the years, the entire organization has grown both in structure and availability of services and programs to continue to meet the changing needs in the community.