When Cardinal James Francis McIntyre established the then-called Archbishop’s Fund in 1951, he had a few simple, down-to-earth goals in mind.
The prelate, who had worked his way up from a runner to junior partner in a Wall Street firm, was a no-nonsense businessman and late vocation to the priesthood. First, he wanted the fund’s money to go to the “neediest of the needy” who had suffered sudden financial emergencies. Maybe a parent just lost his job, and rent was overdue. Or the pantry was almost bare in a single-parent house with five children, waiting for the welfare check that never came.
He wanted the fund to be handled by the local pastor, or his associate, at the parish level. They would know the emergency needs of their flock better than anyone. Paperwork would be kept to a minimum: just an ID, rent or other bill, or a request form signed by the pastor. In many cases, a check could be written right on the spot.