City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Father John at a St. Maria’s Meals service at the Catholic Charities headquarters.

Featured Article

Msgr. John Enzler Enters a New Phase of his Ministry

The Catholic Charities President Plans to Retire in Spring of 2023

Monsignor John Enzler, affectionately known as “Father John,” will be stepping down from his role as the President and CEO of Catholic Charities DC after leading the agency since May 2011. This new chapter coincides with the 50th anniversary of his ordination. A native of Bethesda, he served as a parochial vicar at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda and later as pastor of Mount Calvary in Forestville, Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac, and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington.

Catholic Charities DC serves more than 167,000 men, women, and children per year in Washington and suburban Maryland with its 50-plus programs. The organization also operates several of D.C.’s shelters.

From the pandemic to the arrival of thousands of refugees, you were at the helm of Catholic Charities during a very trying and unusual time for not only our nation, but for the D.C. region as well. Do you foresee the situation changing or needs expanding even more in the coming years? 

One of Jesus' more famous quotes was "The poor, you will always have with you." Our number of people served during the pandemic increased exponentially, both in people served and meals provided. Now, we have migrants coming from the border states by bus who have great needs and are anxious for Catholic Charities to meet them as best we can. I believe that God has positioned us in a place where we can help so many of those who are vulnerable and poor. The mission is the same but the number of people asking for assistance continues to increase. Since inflation has increased the cost of basic needs, we will continue to be stretched in our ability to serve those in need.

Did you have any surprises after assuming a leadership role in Catholic Charities that you didn’t expect in your years as a parish priest? 

​The biggest surprise for me was the size of our staff, the scope of our services, and the number of programs we provide throughout the year. I don't think most people understand how much we do and, in that group, are many Catholics and parish priests. I was one of them until 12 years ago. 

Which new Catholic Charities programs that have started under your leadership are most meaningful to you? ​

Our Catholic Charities board has continued to remind me that we need to help people move from poverty to sustainability. We serve so many individuals and we should continue to do so but some of these programs will not change the difficult situations people find themselves in. I often times say we need to do more "surgery" and less "band-aids." I am most proud of our programs that meet that goal, including Compass in Wards 7 and 8, our Newcomer Network, serving Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and D.C., the Financial Services Network (FSN) which continues to help people work through financial struggles (last year FSN helped over 500 people file tax returns), and the Family Peace Initiative which assists families experiencing domestic violence. 

How do you envision your new supporting role at Catholic Charities?​

While I'm retiring as President and CEO of an agency that I've served for 12 years, if and when asked, I will help to enhance the mission and also work with our development office as well. 

​I'm very excited about the future of Catholic Charities and what is on the horizon for me. I'm proud of the fact that we are the most comprehensive social services agency in the area. Our staff lives by the motto "Say yes every time you can and no, only when you have to." I'm very proud that we are seen as the "charitable arm" of the church here in Washington. 

For more information on how to get help or how to help visit the Catholic Charities website at or call 2022-772-4300

“As the Spiritual Director of the DC Chapter of the Christ Child Society, Fr. John provides us with insightful guidance, strategic thinking, and most of all, a model of what it means to be truly charitable and giving to the poor and underserved.” 

Kathleen Curtin

Executive Director,

Christ Child Society, DC

  • Msgr. John EnzlerEnzler
  • Father John at a St. Maria’s Meals service at the Catholic Charities headquarters.