On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, we had two organizational meetings in preparation for the 2008-2009 Catholic Ministries Appeal. The CMA is of vital importance to the life and health of our local church in that it provides about one-half of our diocesan budget. The fruits of the effort are many. It supports essential diocesan services, is of benefit to every parish, and helps many of our sisters and brothers who need particular assistance.
Their knowledge of the good done by the CMA may be among the reasons the pastoral leaders and volunteers in attendance brought such a positive spirit to the sessions. I know that their great spirit encouraged me because I recognize full well how critically important positive, confident, enthusiastic local leadership is to the success of any of our common efforts ‚Äì especially the CMA.
I had the opportunity to welcome those in attendance, to thank them for their presence and to invite them to pray together. I then spent just a few moments reviewing some of the progress we have made in the past few years ‚Äì an increase in the amount of our average gift, a steadily increasing number of parishes that meet their goals, and reaching the $5 million mark for the first time.
The heart of the program came in two parts: 1) a showing of the five-minute video we have produced in support of this year’s CMA; and, 2) a panel of three pastoral leaders who shared some of the practical and concrete things they have done that have helped them to be successful in the CMA.
The video was very well received. I think that’s because it presents concrete ways in which the CMA supports some important activities in our diocese: faith formation, concern for those in need and the promotion of vocation awareness.
The two panels were a great hit. The ideas presented were helpful, eminently doable and, therefore, attractive to those who heard them. And, as is always the case when presentations like this are made, the presenters did so with humor and wonderful spirit.
I left the meeting realizing that a lot of work lies ahead, but with a genuine trust that we will do well. The needs are real, and we have genuinely committed people ready to lead the effort.
My confidence does not mean that I am presumptuous or complacent. It simply means that I trust our pastoral leaders and volunteers will do their best to lead the effort; and that the faithful people of this diocese will do their best to support this important work.
It will be several weeks before this year’s CMA will be publicly front and center. But it’s not too early, I hope, to invite your prayers for God’s blessings on the effort, your energy to help to conduct the CMA in your local parish and your consideration of a gift in support of this year’s effort.
If you gave to the CMA last year, I thank you once again for your gift and ask you kindly to participate again this year. If you did not participate last year, I respectfully ask you to give prayerful consideration to participating this year.
And, I hope that any one who reads these words will encourage friends and neighbors to share in this effort. It takes work; it takes some sacrifice; but your participation results in much good ‚Äì not the least which is the joy of sharing in such an important work.
Peace to all.