Gifts of all sizes help annual appeal - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Gifts of all sizes help annual appeal

I have been especially moved by the story of young Danilo, a young student at one of our Monroe County Catholic schools. Last year, Danilo spotted a pledge card for our annual diocesan ministries appeal in a pew at his church, picked it up and prayerfully decided to give a third of his entire savings of $30.

Danilo’s $10 certainly helped our effort, as does every gift, small and large.

But what has touched me even more is the reason he gave so generously — and the way he expresses it so eloquently and with a wisdom about our faith that is well beyond his years. Listen to what Danilo says in a video we made to help people better understand the appeal’s importance to the local church:

“Jesus gave for us by dying on the cross and forgiving our sins forever and ever. So I think it’s kind of right as Catholics and Christians, to give back to Jesus for what he did for us,” Danilo remarks.

In the video (which can be viewed on the diocesan Web site, www.dor.org), the boy’s face shines with reverence as he talks about the sacrifice our Risen Lord made for us. I am sure he was filled with the warmth of the Holy Spirit when he so lovingly gave his earnings to help the local church.

I am sure you have experienced that same feeling of warmth and cheer when you have done something good for others, helped someone in some way, made a donation out of love and generosity in the spirit of our Christian beliefs. Perhaps you felt it most recently when you gave to help the victims of the hurricanes. The response from thousands of people in our diocese has left me in awe once again at the spirit of love throughout our 12 counties.

That feeling of warmth that fills us when we share our bounty with others. The wonderful gift we receive back in more ways than we will ever know is the idea behind the theme of this year’s appeal, now in its 25th year.

Yet this year’s theme, In Giving We Receive, is more than a “slogan.”

It represents a statement of faith. It represents our belief as Catholics that our God is not only a generous God but also asks that we share that generosity with others. Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” As we read in 1 Peter, we must also, “like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift you have received.”

Our annual appeal truly does represent an important opportunity to count our blessings and make that statement of faith. It is an opportunity to praise God and say, “Thank you for your generosity, Lord, in so many areas of my life. Let me share these gifts as you wish, so that others less fortunate than I can prosper and grow and be encouraged and so our church can flourish and help spread the Kingdom of God on Earth.”

Over these past 25 years, the generosity of pastoral leaders and parishioners throughout our diocese has helped feed our poor, educate our youth and provide encouragement and hope to the sick. It has renewed the faith of those who drifted away from the church, encouraged vocations and strengthened our parishes. Indeed, your ongoing commitment to our local church and our mission has been heartwarming.

Please know we cannot do what we do without you.

This year, we have set the same goal as last year: $5.3 million. It is no small amount, this goal, but it truly does reflect the need of the church of Rochester and its many diocesan and parish ministries. All that we receive is used to good purpose, for just as you seek to be a good steward of the gifts God has given you, we also seek to shepherd well the gifts you give from your heart to build the church.

I can ask only this as you consider a gift: In a quiet moment or two, think about your own circumstances and your own challenges, as well as the ways you think God has blessed you and those you love. Involve God in your decision. Pray for guidance and inspiration in making a gift to the appeal. Listen to God’s promptings. Do the best you can to follow your heart.

Thank you for your generosity in the past and in the years to come.

Peace to all.

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