Upholding life among CMA-sponsored ministries - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Upholding life among CMA-sponsored ministries

I think you’d agree that it’s crucially important for the church to educate not only Catholics but also our government leaders and the larger society about our beliefs about the sanctity of life from conception to death. As Catholics, we must oppose abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, the use of embryos in stem-cell research and unjust war. We must support economic justice, dignity and peace for all.

Indeed, these beliefs, which form what we term the “consistent life ethic,” stir us to build a culture that affirms and defends life through education, personal service and public advocacy. As Roman Catholics, we are called by Christ himself to treat all people with dignity and respect because, as a gift from God, all life is sacred. We cannot remain silent.

While we do this every day of the year and maintain a very active diocesan life-issues office to coordinate our activities, we turn up the volume further in October, during which we honor Respect Life Month nationally. Jann Armantrout, our diocesan life-issues coordinator, works fervently to ensure that programs and events are in place to re-affirm our life teachings and make sure the unborn, the marginalized and the vulnerable have a strong voice through our words and actions.

Important work? I daresay you would agree. Worthy of your financial support? I think you would say yes.

This ongoing work to herald the sacredness of God-given life is one very good example of the ministries and programs supported by the Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA). Indeed, Jann’s work in such areas as education, advocacy and Project Rachel, a post-abortion reconciliation ministry, is fully supported by the CMA.

There are other good examples.

For instance, would you support passing on the faith to young people through religious-education programs and curricula? Or gathering teenagers together to experience their faith in a guided, inspirational way? Both of these ministries are a fruit of your gift to the CMA!

How about encouraging young men to think about the priesthood? Or helping young adults on our college campuses anchor themselves in that challenging environment through Catholic campus ministry?

Would you offer whatever comfort you could to a child of a hard-working migrant family?

Would you, within your means, give some assistance to making sure those new to our faith are properly prepared and initiated in a welcoming, spirit-filled way?

What about offering help to couples who are about to receive the sacrament of marriage? Many long-wed couples have told me that the marriage preparation they received was the foundation for the rich life they built together. What a wonderful program we have!

These ministries are all a result of your gift to the CMA every year, along with life-giving and nurturing services provided to the hungry, homeless, the sick and the aged through our Catholic Charities and other programs.

Finally, I would venture to say most people would make an offering to help their parish receive the kinds of help it needs to do its work in an organized, professional way. Such assistance might come in the areas of materials support, human services, technology, accounting, communications — crucial services any parish would be hard-pressed to provide on its own.

I am mindful that these past few months have been particularly challenging economically for many families in our diocese, and I do pray things will and are beginning to turn around. I only ask you to support the CMA if you are able. If you simply are in no position to offer a financial gift, I would thankfully welcome your prayers for a successful campaign.

At a news conference recently announcing the 2009-10 CMA, I was asked if I were worried the economy would affect the overall $5.49 million goal. In my response, I reminded the gathered journalists that having 30 years experience as bishop gives one perspective.

What I have found over the years in other tough economic times is that Catholics just seem to understand that the ministries and services of the church are needed all the more to offer hope and help to people of every walk of life.

I ask you to pray about your gift to the Catholic Ministries Appeal and, if you are able, to make a gift that truly will help your parish, your diocese and those whose lives and well-being would be reduced without our ministries.

Peace to all.

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