"Don brings a wealth of experience from his extensive work in southern Missouri and from his service within the church," commented James V. Johnston, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. "He is well-grounded in Catholic social and moral teaching and brings a special love and enthusiasm to his new role of service and administration."
Holding a master's degree in community counseling and a doctorate in adult education, Emge has been involved in the Catholic church for 36 years, 18 at the diocesan level. He has served as social ministry for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau for the past six years. He coordinated the Catholic Charities Feasibility Study in 2006 and was the interim director since November 2008.
The mission of Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri is to "improve the lives of the vulnerable by providing quality, compassionate social services which meet local needs." According to Recy Moore, the naming of the executive director is but one step in an extensive planning process as the board of directors determines how best to partner with other agencies and to serve those in need over a 39 county area that extends from the Kansas border to the Mississippi River. Although initiated by the Catholic community, the agency's focus is to serve those in need, regardless of religious affiliation.