My brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit is hard at work in our diocese. I see it every day and it is inspiring! God is working wonders in our midst. I believe there is even more that God wants to do, but he needs our help. I invite each of you to reflect prayerfully on how God is inviting you to participate in the wonderful things he wants to do for the people of the Diocese of Green Bay.
This coming weekend, across the diocese, we will be kicking off the 2022 Bishop’s Appeal. Our theme this year is “Hearts Filled With Hope,” and how welcomed and needed this idea is in our world right now.
Inspiring hope can begin by helping people discover Jesus personally. The seeds of this personal relationship with our Lord are planted in our parish faith formation programs. Our faith formation leaders receive training and tools to educate our young people in the faith through the Bishop’s Appeal. St. Thomas More Parish in Appleton uses these tools to take the traditional faith formation model for our children and expand it to include the whole family.
For Shawn, Jolene, Tristin and Addison, the St. Thomas More Family Faith Formation program on Wednesday nights has helped them grow in faith. They start the evening with prayer as a family and then split into their respective classrooms.
As Shawn was participating in sessions each week on the sacraments of the Catholic Church, his daughter, Addison, prepared for her first Communion. The Holy Spirit lit a fire in Shawn and he was called to come fully into the church. He continued his formation in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program and was confirmed at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. His daughter was at his side and made her first holy Communion at the same Mass.
What a beautiful way for father and daughter to receive the fullness and everlasting love of our Lord — together! This story is just one of so many ways lives are transformed through faith formation. Those programs help open the door to people’s hearts for God to enter and fill them with his goodness and hope.
Your gift to the Bishop’s Appeal makes it possible for the Office of Children and Faith Formation to provide training, new curriculum and support to our parishes. This team joyfully serves the faith formation leaders at St. Thomas More and at parishes across our 16 counties as they adapt and innovate to help make the next generation of disciples.
In addition to faith formation programs, making a gift to the Bishop’s Appeal also serves those most in need of hope through the ministries of Catholic Charities. The Bishop’s Appeal is the largest funding source for Catholic Charities, and their services are needed now, more than ever. The professional counselors at Catholic Charities work tirelessly to bring relief, help and hope to folks who are struggling.
Last year, more than 27,300 families gave to this much-needed work. Today, I ask you to prayerfully consider making a gift to this year’s Bishop’s Appeal. Your support helps parish faith formation programs, Catholic schools, Catholic Charities and many other important ministries that help people discover Christ. Whatever you are called to give, please know how thankful I am for your generosity.
The Holy Spirit is moving in our area and calling us to come together with “Hearts Filled With Hope.” To learn more about the Bishop’s Appeal or to make a gift, please visit catholicfoundationgb.org/give and make a gift today. May God bless you and your families abundantly!
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.