Blockbuster action and beyond
Offering a helping hand at a cold time in someone's life
By Bishop David A. Zubik
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pray with hundreds of the faithful of our local Church at the Pro-Life Mass which was celebrated on Friday evening, Jan. 23, in Ss. Peter and
Paul Church. While the weather was snowy and the temperature chilled to the bone, the church was packed, standing room only.
In making my preparations for the visit to the church near University Avenue, I double-checked all the details with Msgr. John Schuh, diocesan master of ceremonies. Many of you, who know Msgr. Schuh, know him to be very precise in every detail of every liturgical ceremony. The preparations for the Pro-Life Mass were no different.
Because my father, just the day before, had had major surgery, I planned to visit him at the hospital before the Pro-Life Mass. Since St. Mary Hospital is on the west side and since Msgr. Schuh had an earlier engagement on the east side, I suggested that we meet somewhere on the way to Ss. Peter and Paul.
While I am learning quickly how to get around our fair city of Green Bay, there are still lots of places with which I am yet unfamiliar, Ss. Peter and Paul being one of them. Monsignor suggested that we meet at Walgreen's on Mason Street at 6:10 p.m., well in advance of the 7 p.m. Mass. I soon painfully learned that there are three Walgreen's on Mason.
Just as planned, I arrived at the Walgreen's on the east side, several blocks beyond the Mason Street bridge. Ten after 6 - no Msgr. Schuh; 15 after 6 - no Msgr. Schuh; 20 after 6 - no Msgr. Schuh.
Finally, at 6:30, I thought it best to try to negotiate my way to SS. Peter and Paul Church. I went further out Mason Street. Now panic was beginning to invade. I was desperate.
Seeing a Blockbuster video store, I stopped and shared with the customers my dilemma, begging for some direction to Ss. Peter and Paul Church. It was now 6:50. Every one of the customers pitched in to give directions.
One very fine, young couple offered: "Follow us. We'll lead the way. We know where the church is located."
At four minutes to 7, I pulled into Ss. Peter and Paul parking lot. The young couple was true to their promise. They got me to the church on time. They drove off to their destination. I never got the chance to thank them. Nor did I know their names. What they did that evening I shall never forget. They offered me a helping hand when I desperately needed it.
This week, in all the parishes of our Diocese, we begin the annual Bishop's Appeal, a long-standing drive to secure financial assistance, from as many of the faithful as possible, to continue the good works of our Church. The theme for this year is "Offering a Helping Hand."
Over the course of each year, literally thousands of people receive a helping hand from our Diocese:
Clients who are served by Catholic Charities;
Youngsters who attend religious education programs;
Students who attend our Catholic schools;
Mourners who deal with the heavy burden of loss;
Hospital patients who are comforted with pastoral care;
Parish communities engaged in the sensitive process of reorganization.
All of these people and many more receive "a helping hand" from the Church, help made possible by the faithful who so generously contribute to the Bishop's Appeal.
As the Bishop's Appeal drive begins again this year - this year when I begin my ministry as your shepherd - I appeal to you to make this year's drive the best yet. So many more people stand in need of the assistance which the capable staff of our Diocese can offer.
But the help which the needy can receive can only happen because of the generosity of so many of the nearly 400,000 members of this Church of Green Bay. When each of you contributes whatever you are able to contribute, you, like the young couple on that cold January night did for me, are "Offering A Helping Hand."
Whether you are only able to give a few dollars or are a member of the Crozier Society, comprised of people who contribute $500 or upwards to the Bishop's Appeal, each of you, through your generosity, becomes the hands and the heart of Christ to those who are in
Thank you again for your commitment to this effort. Thank you again for being Church. Thank you again for being the hands and the heart of Christ - truly an action that is blockbuster and beyond.