The leaves are changing colors and we are experiencing a very beautiful fall, at least for now, in the upper Midwest. Although the vibrancy of colors varies each year, we know that fall has arrived, and we hope and pray that it stays around for awhile. Another staple each fall is the Diocesan Annual Appeal, and for St. John the Baptist, the kick-off weekend will be Oct 17 & 18. Our theme for the new year is: HIS CHURCH IS STILL HERE; HIS CHURCH STILL PROVIDES; HIS CHURCH IS YOU AND ME, which is a response to the situation we find ourselves where many particular church’s, in many facets, find the buildings may be closed or limited, the Church itself remains open. The appeal is a work of mercy in the diocese, and in a very real way presents to us a time of hope. This is also the primary way we reach out to our neighbor’s right here at home and to reach the far corners of the world by supporting missions in Peru and Bolivia, providing assistance and support to the next generation of priests and religious to serve our diocese and provides for an outreach at the diocesan level for local parishes and groups such as PCCW and Knights of Columbus. Viewed through the lens of mercy and hope, the appeal is an opportunity for us to give alms to God in thanksgiving for all the blessings we have received.
In the coming week, you should receive in the mail a brochure on the annual appeal along with a letter from Bishop Callahan. Once again, all mailings will remain within our diocese, and will utilize a scan (similar to a bar code) on each pledge card. These allow the office to quickly track the pledges and donations, and it allows the diocese to process these gifts in-house. Please use these pledge cards on AMEN Sunday, which will be the weekend of Oct 24-25.
During the past year, both St. John’s and Columbus Catholic School have received direct grants in excess of $10,000. The appeal is also the primary way the various offices of the Diocese are funded; the Bishop’s office, the Office of Catechesis, Youth Ministry, Sacred Worship and the Marriage Tribunal being among them.
The overall goal for this year’s appeal remains the same as last year, and the goal set for St. John’s Parish has been reduced by about $2,500, with a set goal of $136,700. Please prayerfully consider the request that will be in your mailing. If you have not participated in the appeal in the past, please consider a gift of $50 (a dollar a week) to the appeal. As I reminded all of us last year, the easiest way to attain our goal is to increase the percentage of participating members of our community. Adding 15% of our families, at $50 each for a year, will bring in an additional $10,000, and if we meet the set goal, any additional comes back directly to the parish tax-free. As priests, we are called to participate in the appeal as well. In recognition of the sacrifice I am asking of each parish family, I will pledge $600 to this year’s appeal.
Lastly, we must never overlook the spiritual aspect of all things we do as Catholic Christians. Just as the spiritual works of mercy underlie the corporal works of mercy, the spiritual aspect of the annual appeal is the primary concern. Even if you cannot support the diocese financially at this time, please return your card stating that you will pray for the success of our parish and diocese. I also ask for everyone’s prayers for the success of our campaign and for those who benefit directly in time of need; also please pray for our parish family, your bishop and for your priests.
May God bless you for your generous consideration, and remember the weekend of October 24 and 25 will be AMEN WEEKEND, the day we ask you to return your pledge card by bringing it to Mass and placing it in the collection basket. If you have already sent your pledge in, thank you for your generosity.
DO NOT FEAR, I AM WITH YOU; DO NOT BE ANXIOUS; I AM YOUR GOD (IS41:10)