Reaching out in Love
As we heard last week at Mass, the Annual Catholic Appeal has begun. There are literally thousands of people who will benefit from your gift. Students in our Catholic schools, parishes which are struggling to pay the bills, seminarians preparing to serve the church, children in special education, women struggling with a problem pregnancy, people with disabilities, people who need health care in our rural are- as, and elderly priests. (I’m getting very close…) I encourage you to look at the brochure in the back of church to see all those agencies and services who will benefit from your generosity. For myself, this is one of four major charitable causes that I in- vest in. As I mentioned at Mass, Fr. Gene and my- self have already made our pledge.
“But Fr. K., I can’t give a lot this year.”
Let me tell you something, but you got to promise not to tell this to the Archbishop. There were many years when I gave a lot less than I do now. Why? Well, I wasn’t paid a great deal back in the day and I had some big bills to pay. Nonetheless, I made sure that I gave something so that I could participate in this effort. The participation numbers are very important to me. As I mentioned a while back, when I was down in Houston, their Archdiocese was beginning their version of the “ACA.” The pas- tor spoke at all the Masses and he mentioned that 178 households had given to this appeal last year. The parish has 8000 households. I was flabbergasted by the shockingly low numbers. We have already had 79 households participate this year and we really haven’t begun the appeal in earnest. Giving something says that you are a part of something vital and important, that we are all pulling in the same direction.
“But Fr. K., I am not too happy with the Archdiocese right now.”
The past year and a half with All Things New, we’ve all been through a turbulent time, no doubt about it. Anytime you do something different, anytime there is change, anytime someone get shoved out of their comfort zone, people will feel uncomfortable and even angry. I understand that. HOWEVER… (there’s always an “however” in life) please keep a couple of things in mind. I think that the Archdio- cese, and in particular the Archbishop, has been
remarkably open about what is going on and why it needs to happen. I have been pleasantly surprised by how this process has worked. (I will admit, I was a skeptic.) That being said, there are probably a lot of people who will not be giving to the ACA this year because of real or perceived issues with this process. So it is imperative that parishes like us step up in response. If you have any issue with the ACA this year, I would be more than happy to discuss this with you, to listen to your concerns and explain why, this year in particular, I increased my gift. Finally, know that the people benefiting from your gift had those needs long before All Things New and will continue to have those needs into the future.
HOLY has been blessed.
The biggest reason why I am stepping up my efforts for the ACA this year is the simple fact that the Archdiocese had put a lot of faith in our parish by recognizing that we are strong enough to be a “stand alone.” (I hate that term, but I couldn’t figure out a better one.) We are beneficiaries of a strong and loving tradition. In the last month and a half, I have celebrated several funerals of present and former parishioners and I have become aware of the legacy of service they have left us. Rick Bischoff, Do Reis, Pete Berndt, Cathy Jeep and Mick Hahn, all in their particular ways gave of them- selves to make this parish, our world, a better place. This year, in particular, it is vital that the parishioners of Holy Redeemer share their goodness with our larger Catholic community, a community in transition and change, a community which I believe, is on the cusp of great and glorious things.
A Final Thanks
For many years Mary Smith was our point person for the ACA. This year Dan Hartrich has taken over the job. (I didn’t twist his arm too much.) I thank the two of them, and I thank all of you for your generosity and care as you reach out in love.