The world needs the full embrace of God’s love now more than ever. “Rising in Faith” we can welcome, heal and educate! It’s our opportunity to lift one another up and help one another see the real purpose and meaning of life.
I notice today that so many people are looking for hope, for happiness and joy in life. When you find a deeper relationship with God, all of these things start to really come into focus. To help families grow in our Catholic faith, I have put forth a goal for the diocese to call out and form leaders who love Jesus and live his mission.
I am excited about this because it is central to what Jesus has asked us to do – to go forth and make disciples of all nations. It all begins by knowing Jesus yourself, making a new friend and introducing your new friend to Jesus. The goal is to mobilize the whole church, the whole diocese – all the parishes, ministries, schools and faith formation programs to help everybody know Jesus personally. Then these people will be able to share the faith so even more families can experience meaning, fulfillment, hope and joy in their lives.
To be able to accomplish this mission, we need your support of the Bishop’s Appeal. Last year, nearly 28,000 families joined us in this mission. Today, I ask that you to prayerfully consider making a gift to this year’s Appeal. If you have never made a gift to the Bishop’s Appeal, please consider a gift of maybe $10, $25 or even more. Whatever you decide to give, please know how grateful I am for your support of the mission.
The 2020 Bishop’s Appeal theme, “Rising in Faith,” is all about growing in love and seeing the goodness in one another and the dignity of the human person. By Rising in Faith, we find ways to positively connect and help people regain hope. And hope is so essential today. So many people want hope, desire hope, and, through the ministries of the church funded by the Bishop’s Appeal, we can restore hope.
One way this happens is in our parishes. Our nearly 2,000 catechetical leaders and catechists receive the tools and training to help our youth grow in the faith and their relationship with Jesus. They help more than 15,500 children in religious education understand God is with them throughout all of life’s ups and downs.
For Kirk Fishel, a high school catechist, he knows firsthand the many challenges teenagers face, such as cyber bullying and anxiety. He’s grateful for the training he has received from the diocese to be able to meet students where they are and walk with them in their faith journey. Kirk feels privileged to be able to help them open up and talk about religion and how it relates to everyday life. Many times he restores their faith and helps them find happiness in life.
Another way your support of the Bishop’s Appeal helps is through the many social service programs of Catholic Charities. Individuals and families struggling with mental health illness, grief and/or alcohol and other drug addiction receive hope and healing through counseling. With the help of adoption services married couples are able to grow their families.
For the Kempen family, they were able to adopt two beautiful children with the help of Catholic Charities. After struggling with issues to grow their family, their hope of having children was restored. Having children has also grown their faith tremendously. They are grateful to the birth parents and their adoption specialist at Catholic Charities for helping to make their family complete. Your generous gifts to the Bishop’s Appeal make this and so much more happen in our parishes, Catholic schools and communities.
The Bishop’s Appeal helps us to pass on our Catholic mission to the next generations. The Appeal helps us carry forth a message of hope and helps us reach out to serve one another, especially families and individuals in greatest need. The more we look for opportunities to share Jesus, the more opportunities present themselves. We invite people in simple daily ways to reach out and be a part of each other’s lives.
I am very grateful for your support of the Bishop’s Appeal. The world needs our Catholic mission, now more than ever. As we continue to look for opportunities to share Jesus, let’s rise up in faith together. Let’s reach out with joy in our hearts to share the Good News with all of our brothers and sisters. Please prayerfully consider making a gift to the 2020 Bishop’s Appeal. To show your support of our Catholic mission, please visit catholicfoundationgb.org/give and give today. May God bless you and your family abundantly.
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter at @BpDavidRicken.