ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL: Sharing God’s Gifts

A few months ago, we shared with you a video from the Diocese.  It highlighted the focus of this year’s Diocesan Annual Catholic Appeal with testimony from many of those who benefit from the resources provided by this campaign.

Every parish is assessed a goal and is responsible for that amount whether or not it is contributed by the parishioners.  This means that it comes out of our operating budget if we have a shortfall.

As you can see on the facing page, we have exceeded this year’s goal by a few thousand dollars!   (Our goal was reduced from $30k to $28 this year.)   All monies collected (in one-time gifts and paid pledges) in excess of our assessment are returned to the parish to be used at the pastor’s discretion.

We recently received a notice from the Diocese that our 2017 campaign was about $7,500 short of our assessment.  We will be remitting this amount to the diocese in the near future from our operating budget.

If you have not yet made a pledge to the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal, I ask you to prayerfully consider doing your part.  You can use the pledge envelopes found in the church vestibule or the parish office or go online at www.sdcatholic.org.

Thank you for your generosity to our parish and the greater Church.

 

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND TUITION ASSISTANCE:  With support from the Annual Catholic Appeal, we strive to make Catholic Education both affordable and accessible to every child and family who desires it, regardless of their background, neighborhood, family income or culture.  Tuition Assistance is provided to families who would otherwise not be able to afford sending their children to a Catholic School.

FORMATION IN THE FAITH:  The ACA provides funding for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministries, the Diocesan Institute and Youth Ministries.  These diocesan ministries coordinate training for Directors of Catechetical ministries, Youth Ministry Coordinators, catechists and religious education teachers as well as theological formation for adults.

RETIRED PRIESTS:  Fifty five retired priests of this diocese receive financial support so they can live in dignity, free of anxiety about their means of subsistence.  This support includes providing heath and auto insurance, and nursing care when required as well as supplementing their retirement and pension income when necessary.  Retired priest are also invited to the annual convocation of priests at no charge.

PRISON MINISTRY:  Chaplaincies at 27 different facilities impact the lives of over 25,000 inmates.  These include eight sheriff’s jails, five juvenile detention centers, three state prisons and four federal detention facilities.  Ministry supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal responds to the hunger that many of these inmates have to deepen their relationship with God.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY:  Young Adult Ministry reaches out and invites this age group to responsible participation in the full life and mission of the Church.  Faith-filled peer ministries and various social, service and spiritual opportunities strive to connect young adults to Christ and His Church.

SEMINARIAN SUPPORT:  Our Diocese supports over 16 seminarians who are discerning a call to the priestly life and service in the Church.  Tuition and living expenses average around $45,000 per seminarian.  Three new priests were ordained for our diocese this past year.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES:  Following the example of Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve”, Catholic Charities is supported by the ACA in its effort to promote the dignity of the human person and its commitment to the Judeo-Christian version of justice and charity.  The agency assists almost 300,000 people each year through its expansive network of programs and services.

Be a Good Steward of the Environment  – Stop Plastic Pollution

In his ground-breaking encyclical Laudato Si (“Praise be to You”), Pope Francis urged humankind to exercise better stewardship of the earth. Subtitled “On Care of Our Common Home,” the pontiff’s letter called for a radical “ecological conversion” on the part of people the world over, and especially disciples of Jesus Christ, to honor and save our earth from degradation.

One way we can be better stewards of the earth is to fight plastic pollution. Cheap, capable of being made into any conceivable shape, strong and durable, plastic is the wonder product of the modern world. However, the victim of this technological success appears to be much of life on earth. Almost 80% of the plastic produced since the 1950s has been thrown away, either into landfill sites or into the general environment.

Ending plastic pollution is the focus of Earth Day 2018, the annual event celebrated on April 22 world-wide to raise awareness of ecological dangers and demonstrate support for protection of the global environment. Items like plastic packaging, bags and bottles are thrown away every day, and end up in trash sites as well as in forests, creeks, rivers, seas, and oceans around the world.   While some of these items are recycled, the growth of plastic consumption and its improper disposal currently outpace efforts to recycle and produce post-consumer plastic materials.

But plastic is more than just litter. A petroleum product, plastic is nonbiodegradable. And in reality, most plastic does not ever disappear, but becomes long-lasting “plastic dust”. When items like plastic bags break down, they readily soak up (and release) toxins that then contaminate soil and water, as well as harming animals that ingest plastic fragments. The increasing presence of plastic in our oceans poisons and ensnares marine life.

Check your refrigerator. How much stuff in there is stored in plastic? Hazardous chemicals, some of which can disrupt human hormones, leach from some plastics that are used for food and beverage storage. Plastic is the basic material of a consumer world. Without it we wouldn’t enjoy the same standard of living or convenience.

But if we take the Holy Father’s urgent pleas seriously, we should take seriously the issue of plastic contaminating and damaging our environment. For Christian stewards, it is a moral responsibility to confront this pollution. And become better stewards

Earth Day 2018 asks us to consider the Five Rs: Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle and Remove plastic in our everyday lives.   Here are some suggestions for stopping Plastic Pollution:

 Keep reusable canvas bags in your car for shopping trips and commit to refusing plastic shopping and grocery bags. • Many stores have containers to recycle plastic bags, even newspaper wraps. Utilize them. • Carry a small set of simple utensils and a reusable straw so that you never have to use throwaway plastic utensils. • Encourage your school or college to look into utensils made with biodegradable components. Many Catholic schools have gone this route. • Store left-overs in reusable containers. • When shopping for gifts or toys, watch for excessive, wasteful plastic packaging.

Visit www.earthday.org for more ideas and inspiration!

 

 

STEWARDSHIP SAINT OF THE MONTH: Saint Fidelis Sigmaringen

 

Given the name Mark Rey at his birth in 1577, our stewardship saint for April grew up in Sigmaringen, a town located in present-day Germany.

He was the son of the town’s affluent burgomeister (mayor) and studied law and philosophy at the renowned University of Freiburg. As a student, Mark made prayer a priority in his daily life.

He also spent time visiting the sick. He embraced a humble, chaste and simple lifestyle. He earned a doctorate in canon and civil law, became a prominent lawyer and soon gained a reputation for representing those who had no money to pay. Mark was affectionately nicknamed “the poor man´s lawyer.”

He was known to be extraordinarily generous, and committed himself to working with the poor.

Dismayed by the greed and corruption he found among his counterparts in the legal profession and in the courts of law,  Mark abandoned his law practice and entered the Capuchin religious community. He took the name Fidelis, which is Latin meaning “faithful.”

He studied for the priesthood and after ordination, celebrated his first Mass in 1612 on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4). After his ordination, Father Fidelis was assigned to preaching and hearing confessions. It was reported that a large number of converts were accepted into the Church because of his zealous evangelizing efforts. He was devoted to Saint Francis of Assisi and revealed that devotion in his pastoral care of the poor and sick. During a severe epidemic in a city in which his friary was located, he cared for and cured many.

In 1621 Father Fidelis was sent to begin missionary work in Switzerland, a territory that had  experienced much bloodshed as a result of growing tensions among a number of religious movements of the expanding Reformed traditions. All of these movements were violently opposed to the Catholic faith at the time. His writings, preaching and pastoral ministry converted many in Switzerland to Catholicism. But many others, enraged by his missionary work, threatened his life. On April 24, 1622, while traveling on the road between preaching missions, Father Fidelis was attacked by a group of armed men, beaten and hacked to death. He was 44 years old. Fidelis once wrote: “It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.” He was canonized in 1746 and his feast day is April 24.