As I mentioned at the end of Mass this weekend, this weekend kicks off the Bishop’s 2022 Annual Catholic Appeal. Last year, our parish donated $43,369.75, which was 155% above our goal for that year. This is tremendous! Thank you to all who donated to make that happen! This year, our goal is $30,227. As we have in the past, we will continue to provide updates in the bulletin about our ongoing progress throughout the year. Also, as was the case last year, for any amount that our parish donates above our assigned goal, the parish will receive 50% of that amount.
The Annual Catholic Appeal helps to fund some very important ministries in our diocese. Although many might be well aware of what our ACA donations are utilized for, it is always worthwhile to be reminded of how our donations help the diocese. This year, 35% of the overall goal for the entire diocese will go toward promoting vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, providing education for our seminarians, formation for priests and deacons, and supporting healthy clergy. These items are very important! How often we hear the sad news about the shortage of priests in our diocese and “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Mt. 9:38)!
The ACA also strongly supports the diocesan office of Discipleship and Family Life. 23% of this year’s overall diocesan goal will go toward, among other items, evangelization and pastoral care to parishes, ministry to persons with disabilities, Hispanic Catholic ministries, marriage and family life, and ministry to youth, young adults, and college campus ministry. The money that will be applied to these areas will allow the diocese to provide workshops for those who are preparing for the sacrament of Matrimony, provide resources to foster evangelization at the parish level, and support youth and young adult formation. Equally important is the large number of college students at The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University that will benefit from our campus ministry efforts there.
Our diocesan branch of Catholic Charities will receive 21% of the overall ACA goal. Catholic Charities provides adult advocacy for those who are not able to take care of themselves, provides meals and groceries to those who are poor, provides ministry to those who are incarcerated, and operates Miriam House, which is a shelter for women and children. Among other ministries, Catholic Charities also leads the pro-life activities held throughout the diocese; this includes the Respect Life Ministry, crisis navigation services, and the Project Rachel post-abortion healing services.
Next, 11% of the total diocesan ACA goal will be directed to Catholic education across the diocese. This will include money to help support our Catholic schools, providing resources for catechetical formation, professional development for teachers in our schools, and resources for home school families. I can attest that the Catholic Education office at the diocese has been very helpful in answering questions and providing resources for Divine Mercy School. As such, supporting the ACA will not only benefit Catholic Schools in general, but will directly support the mission of our own school here in Paulding County.
Lastly, 10% of the total diocesan ACA money will be utilized to preserve our beautiful cathedral and to cover expenses related to cathedral liturgies. Anyone who has visited our cathedral in Toledo knows what a gem it is! The art and architecture alone are not only aesthetically pleasing, but very catechetical at the same time.
If you would like more information about this year’s ACA, you can find it at www.acatoledo.org, or by contacting the Diocese of Toledo directly. By now, everyone should have received their ACA envelope; you can send it to the diocese directly or you can give electronically on the ACA website. Thank you for your continued support of the ACA, which allows the diocese to continue its mission in Northwest Ohio!