Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
It’s time once again to consider the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal, which this year is entitled, “On Course With Christ”. Divine Mercy Parish has surpassed its goal for the appeal each year that I’ve been here; and it’s my understanding that we surpassed our goal in all the years of my predecessors as well. So, it’s my intention to approach the ACA Campaign just as we always have. (Why fix something that’s not broken?) Each year this bulletin letter has been my primary witness to the value of our support for this diocesan endeavor. Although the Campaign focuses primarily on pastoral efforts of the diocese, I think it’s useful to remember each year how much the Diocese supports us, and how much we are a part of the whole Diocesan mission.
Considering the pastoral efforts of the diocese covered by the campaign, we benefited as four of our couples went to marriage prep weekends that were staffed by diocesan – trained personnel. I heard directly from the couples how helpful the “Joyful Marriage Weekends” were. Then, there was the pastoral conference on outreach to millennials, which happened this past fall. All of us who attended from the parish found it a very enriching conference. That’s where we picked up the idea of the Evangelus electronic communication system, that allows us to send out messages simultaneously through various social media, according to each parishioner’s preference. [We are awaiting the company’s implementation of this for us.] We also listened to studied data of millennials’ preferences, and we felt pretty confirmed with some of the advances we’ve made in the parish regarding social media. This pastoral conference has been happening for the past three years, and each time it has been a very useful experience. Another pastoral effort covered by the ACA Campaign of the Bishop is the Andrew dinners, where high school men have a meal with the Bishop and hear about vocations stories and discernment. We had six boys from the parish attend an Andrew dinner with me this past fall. Another pastoral effort covered by this Campaign: the formation of seminarians, many of whom we have met and supported over the past several years… And we continue to support them as a parish. Then there are the cathedral liturgies that are covered by this Campaign. We will have our confirmation Mass this coming spring at the Cathedral, and it will be beautiful as always. Then, there are the other Diocesan liturgies, where we are always represented somehow: The Chrism Mass, the Neophyte Mass (for people newly entered into the church), the Marriage Anniversary Mass. There is the Tenebrae Service on Wednesday evening of Holy Week (where I have sung one of the “Lamentations” for the past couple of years; and this year will again). There are the permanent deacons’ retreats, that our deacons take advantage of each year. There is the jail and prison ministry, which gave spiritual support to some 5,700 incarcerated men and women in the Diocese this past year. Deacon Dave Laker participates in this ministry. Finally, there are the school leaders’ conferences, which our principal, Joe Linder, attends. These are very beneficial for our school. So, there are the pastoral efforts of the Diocese that have directly benefited us.
Then there are the other pastoral outreach efforts of the Diocese, which we can be proud to support. Catholic Charities has clothed, fed and sheltered more than 90,000 people in the Diocese, as well as providing emergency care and case management support. Catholic charities helped 761 women and men recover from the trauma of abortion through post-abortion care. To our knowledge two babies were saved from abortion through peaceful, prayerful sidewalk counselors. Also, someone 1,000 faithful from the Diocese of Toledo participated in the Respect Life Novena. So, there are the directly – pastoral efforts, which are supported by the Bishop’s campaign.
But, it makes sense to remember all the other ways that the Diocese supports us. Consider the organization into trusts that the Bishop and his staff accomplished for the Diocese’s temporal goods (all the material stuff involved in Church life). Now we have opened up for us a Catholic Investment Trust that allows our parish savings to do a lot more work. Then, there is the ongoing oversight of our parish finances, that happens quite automatically by means of required Diocesan financial reporting. In the past number of months the “temporal goods” section of Diocesan Policy Handbook has been rewritten to give us more guidance. I have personally contacted the Diocese on numerous occasions, regarding annulments and marriage dispensations, as well as with questions regarding financial recording and legal matters. Then, consider all the first sacraments we administer: for every child who was baptized in our parish before the merger, we get our necessary certificates from the Diocesan archives.
The list goes on, but I think what I have written suffices to help us all realize that supporting the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal makes plenty of sense. I will be giving to it generously, as I do every year. Soon, you should be receiving a mailing about the Campaign. There will also be ACA envelopes in our pews next weekend. Thank you for your prayerful consideration of a gift. Even the smallest gift makes a difference.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,