Giving is an act of thanksgiving, worship - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Giving is an act of thanksgiving, worship

Just a week or so ago, we kicked off the 2008-09 Catholic Ministries Appeal through the kind presence of the local news media. We chose as the setting for our news conference the beautiful St. Michael Church downtown — a way of highlighting through one church the partnership we have with all of our parishes and the particular way the CMA helps St. Michael in its urban-ministry programs.

A good majority of the reporters’ questions centered on whether recent news about the national economy worried me as we try to raise $5.39 million — our CMA goal this year. My answer was based on my experience for these past 29 years as bishop, on other times of uncertainty and on the steadfast generosity of local Catholics in the best and worst of times.

I said I believed we would make our goal.

Now, I do not say that with overconfidence or with any presumption, but with a sincere belief that people, as they always have done, will prayerfully consider a gift to this cause that is so crucial to their parish and the diocese. They will give as best as they can.

They always have in our diocese. This was true decades long past when the poorest of our immigrant families built the most glorious of our churches at great sacrifice. It has been true in trying economic times these past few years, as evidenced by a four-year upward trend in our CMA totals to a record year last year.

Perhaps it is fitting that we have chosen as our theme this year, “Our Faith, Our Future.” Those four words make all of realize that the church we hold so dear depends on us now — that our faith is a bulwark in times of uncertainty and that the need for ministry only grows; that we must make the church strong now and for our children and generations still to come.

And so I do ask you to give this year as a statement of faith and as a statement of confidence in your parish and the church of Rochester.

At its heart, the Catholic Ministries Appeal truly is about taking care of one another — family, neighbors and those in need. It is about passing on the faith and spreading the Good News to others so that they, too, can receive the Light of Christ. It is about ensuring that the Kingdom of God increases.

It is about practicing good stewardship, this basic principle of our Catholic faith that we acknowledge God as the source of all we have and all we are. Stewardship challenges each of us to recognize our gifts of time, talent and treasure, to use them wisely and to share them generously. The Catholic Ministries Appeal is a good example of the stewardship of treasure and challenges us to look beyond our own needs and offer a share of our personal blessings with our brothers and sisters. Through the CMA, we can show our thanks and joy for the gifts we have received and show our love for God and one another.

Simply put, we give as an act of thanksgiving and worship.

When we give, we touch the lives of thousands and thousands of people through programs and ministries that affect nearly every Catholic in some way:

* Welcoming new Catholics through special education programs (RCIA)

* Providing faith-formation programs for youths

* Giving support to families, the elderly and the sick

* Assisting Catholic Charities and Catholic education

* Reaching out to the poor, the homeless, the hungry

* Encouraging religious vocations

* Honoring marriage and preparing engaged couples

* Spreading the Gospel through communications media

* Teaming with other dioceses in the U.S.A., supporting the Vatican

* Providing parishes with needed services and support they would likely not be able to afford on their own

These are solid, even crucial, ministries that are the lifeblood of our work as Catholics.

On this anniversary of our diocese, all that we have done — and all we have still to do — is because of people like you.

I thank you in advance for your consideration and your gift to the CMA, a gift we promise to use wisely to help your parish and our diocese spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Peace to all.

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