As I prepare for my Lenten journey, one of the things that I’ve been reflecting on for the past several months is how we, as church, help inspire faith and restore hope for people across northeastern Wisconsin. It is through Jesus’ love for each of us and the work of the Holy Spirit that “We Rise Again.” One way we are restoring hope is through the church ministries supported by gifts to the Bishop’s Appeal.
You are helping so many people in search of hope. This work happens through the ministries of Catholic Charities. Throughout the last year, many people have been reaching out to Catholic Charities because of their anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness. Catholic Charities’ professional counseling services have broadened their service area to help the growing number of people seeking help. Through this expansion to the northern corners of our diocese, more people are being cared for and counseled because of innovation and technology.
I was moved by the story of Abbi, a vibrant, active young woman who loved playing sports and going to school. Like so many children throughout northeastern Wisconsin, sports, school and connection with her peers came to a sudden stop. She found herself riddled with anxiety and worry about catching the virus. Through the support and care of her counselor at Catholic Charities, Celia, Abbi broke through her fear and regained what she loves most in life. So many others, just like Abbi, are able to get the help they need because of your support of the Bishop’s Appeal.
As a church, we must also look at how we inspire people in their faith and how we provide the connection that helps all of us thrive together. Through the diocesan “Reconnect to Inspire” program, parishes have been touching lives and moving hearts, reconnecting people with Christ’s light.
Rose Unser, pastoral associate at St. Mary Parishes in Winneconne and Omro, said this about the program: “It has been helpful to learn and experience that we are not alone. Taking the time to share our stories, encouraging and empowering each other, has allowed us to continue to move forward together.” Rose and the groups at her parish demonstrate how Catholics become church to and for one another.
Inspiring faith begins by helping people discover Jesus in their lives. One of these ways is through youth faith formation in our parishes. These important leaders are formed through the support of the Bishop’s Appeal. Meg Lehman works with youth every day at St. Bernard Parish in Green Bay to help teach them about the Catholic faith and what it means to have a friendship with Jesus. She said this of youth ministry: “When our youth live out their faith, they are loving and kind to others. They’re not afraid to talk about Jesus and speak the truth.” Isn’t this beautiful? A next generation on fire for our Lord lifts us all and together — “We Rise Again.”
Through the Bishop’s Appeal, we are able to reach out to bring hope to our communities. Today, more than ever, our world needs Christ’s light bringing his peace, his comfort and his love to us all. Through the efforts supported by the Bishop’s Appeal, we are able to rise together, loving all God’s people all the time.
Last year, more than 27,000 families and individuals joined together in supporting this much-needed work. Today, I ask that you prayerfully consider making a gift to this year’s Appeal. Whatever you decide to give, please know how grateful I am for your support of the mission through the Bishop’s Appeal.
As we prepare for Lent, and as Catholics, “We Rise Again.” Please prayerfully consider how the Holy Spirit calls you to share your gifts at this critical time. To show your support of our Catholic mission, please visit catholicfoundationgb.org/give and make a gift to the 2021 Bishop’s Appeal today. May God bless you and your family abundantly.
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.