Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 15, 2004
Al Pierog accepts new post at Caritas Health Group
Special to the WCR
"Our time on earth is very short," says Al Pierog, former chief operating officer of Catholic Social Services (CSS). "As a result, I feel we have an urgent responsibility to carry out our personal missions in life that support and foster Jesus' work."
Well-known and respected for his leadership and contributions to social services, Pierog is now carrying out his personal mission with Caritas Health Group. On Nov. 1, he began his new post as vice president of continuing care at Caritas Health Group -- one of Canada's largest faith-based health care providers.
"I feel fortunate to serve in yet another position where the organization's values are consistent with my own," says Pierog in a recent interview in his office at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
Pierog's journey of service with faith-based organizations began at CSS in 1979 as program supervisor. In 1996, with Msgr. Bill Irwin's retirement from his role as president of Catholic Social Services, Pierog was appointed chief operating officer.
He has served with numerous local and national organizations, and continues his membership with the Knights of Columbus and Rotary International. In 2003, Pierog received his Queen's Jubilee Medal for his work with Family Service Canada and the Child Welfare League of Canada.
In his new role at Caritas, Pierog provides leadership to Caritas Health Group continuing care, including the efforts of 900 staff and 350 volunteers who care for 430 residents at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre. Pierog is excited to continue his participation in the healing ministry of Jesus.
"I believe very strongly in the mission of Caritas, which is 'healing the body, enriching the mind and nurturing the soul,'" he says. "Spiritual needs are essential human needs. As a faith-based organization, Caritas has an important role to play in the broader health care system."
When asked what guides him in his career and life path choices, Pierog speaks of his sense of personal mission and Catholic social teaching. "Let courage, perseverance and integrity define my life and service to God," is hand-scribbled inside the day-timer he carries from meeting to meeting.
"Our Catholic social teaching gives us a clear context for approach to service of our community," he says. "I see this teaching very simply as the belief that each person is sacred. In this light, whether someone is poor or rich, a caregiver or in care, each has inherent value and dignity. Everything else -- including the need to be respectful, thoughtful, caring and compassionate -- simply follows from that basic tenet."
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