I am blessed to be part of such a warm and giving community here in northeastern Wisconsin. As I travel around to different parishes, I hear appreciation for what the church is accomplishing and I also recognize how much there is to do. The Holy Spirit is manifested in our parishes through the people who minister, serve, teach, love and share the light of Christ with others. Did you know much of their service and ministry is impacted by the Bishop’s Appeal?
Every so often I receive a letter from a parishioner asking me how the Bishop’s Appeal helps their parish. While it isn’t always readily visible, I can assure you that the Appeal impacts every parish in our diocese in many positive ways. When you give to the Bishop’s Appeal, you reach out to others; and so I would ask you to consider a gift to the Appeal today.
Through the Appeal, we are able to provide support to the people who work behind the scenes in our parishes, schools and ministries. They receive training and formation to serve our parishes as priests, deacons, pastoral leaders and lay ministers. Through these formation programs, many men and women are trained each year to become the heart and hands of Jesus in your parish.
Catholic Charities is able to counsel the disadvantaged, hurting and vulnerable. They offer a variety of counseling services to people in our diocese — the couple sitting next to you at Mass experiencing trouble in their marriage, the single parent who is struggling to pay off debt, the hopeful couple looking forward to adopting a child. We may not know there are problems facing the people we see week after week at Mass, but they are there and Catholic Charities can guide them. We can help them by supporting the Bishop’s Appeal.
Maybe you are familiar with our Stewardship and Pastoral Services Department. These outreach programs are beautiful ways to witness the blessings of the Bishop’s Appeal! Care ministers are trained to reach out to people who are homebound, in medical facilities, the hurting or the grieving.
Training helps improve our pastoral leadership, staff and parish councils. Funding helps parishes welcome those from other cultures, or those with disabilities. It’s wonderful to know we can reach out and help people know God’s love.
We plant the seeds of faith with children in our Catholic schools and religious education programs. A gift to the Bishop’s Appeal helps provide inspiring learning programs for the children in your parish. Teachers and volunteers receive training they need to share the Gospel stories with children.
Catholic schools receive quality curriculum and guidance in tackling specific issues. The next time you see the younger children leave during Mass to hear the Sunday readings on their own level, or when you see a group of students excited about a catechism class — know your support of the Bishop’s Appeal is at work.
Does your parish have marriage preparation workshops, family ministry or marriage enrichment programs? Oftentimes these sessions are supported by the Bishop’s Appeal. How about people who serve at the Mass — your musicians, altar servers, liturgists or lectors? It’s likely these people or those in charge of them have received some training and direction through programs funded by the Appeal.
Here you are, reading The Compass. Even The Compass receives funding from the Appeal.
As Catholics, we are called to embrace and care for those in need. We are called to reach out and minister to others … to share the light of Christ! This work is happening right in your parish, and the Bishop’s Appeal makes so many ministries possible.
On behalf of the men, women and children who are so grateful for your care and support, thank you! Thank you for prayerfully considering your gift to the 2014 Bishop’s Appeal, and for Sharing the Light of Christ!