Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
It’s that time of year again to consider a donation to the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal. I am very grateful and content that our parish continues to meet its ACA goal each year. It’s a very important statement we make in this way, that we understand that we are part of the wider local church, the Diocese of Toledo. And therefore we financially support the works that the ACA covers.
In the bulletin you can see the ACA flyer of the Diocese that explains how the ACA money is used. The ACA primarily funds pastoral initiatives that the Diocese undertakes. First on the list is the formation of seminarians. We have been blessed to have seminarians for the last number of years; and we have financially helped a number of seminarians who have not even been assigned to us. So, first on the ACA list is seminarians. Then there are those people in the Diocese who are poor, and the ACA reaches them in various ways: with clothing, meals and emergency shelter. Then there are those in jail, supported by prison ministry. At our parish each year, since it has come into being, we have been willing to host a Joyful Marriage Workshop, which is a two-day/weekend retreat for engaged couples to deepen their understanding of God’s vision for marriage. The Diocese trains the presenting couples for these weekends. Consider the couples who have been married in this past year: All of them have been asked to attend a Joyful Marriage Workshop. Also on the list of ACA funded efforts is the training of teachers in the Diocese, through various religious programs and software. Consider the pastoral conferences that have been held in the fall for three consecutive years now – the most recent one on the topic of drug and alcohol addictions. Very enlightening for all of our teachers and staff members who could be in attendance.
It is always worth noting during the ACA how much we benefit as a parish in general from the work of the Diocese. Our major financial decisions are always monitored by the finance department of the Diocese. The annulments I file get processed through the Diocesan Tribunal. Any contracts we sign for major projects are examined by Legal Counsel of the Diocese. Our savings and endowments are invested in a way that is both very financially competitive in the general market, and socially responsible (i.e., not invested in any instruments that support companies whose mission would be contrary to Catholic social principles). We have been given some useful tools from the Amazing Parish Movement, recommended by the Diocese, including the recent Disciple-Maker survey.
Or consider the fact that every time I walk into a hospital room to anoint, there is a connection with the Bishop, since he consecrated the Oil of the Sick that I will apply to an ailing parishioner. The same is true of the confirmation of all of our children, with oil specially blessed by the Bishop, and the Bishop or his delegate laying hands for this sacrament.
Bottom line: it simply makes sense for us to support the Bishop’s ACA campaign each year. We ourselves benefit from many pastoral initiatives of the Pastoral Center, and we get to participate even in those initiatives that benefit others. I personally will make a sacrificial gift to the ACA campaign, as I do every year. I invite each parishioner to pray and consider what to give. No gift is too small. (No gift is too large!!) Any amount of money collected beyond the stated goal gets refunded to the parish 100% as well. We will put any returned funds this year towards running the school, thus reducing the school subsidy.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,