God expects us to discern our gifts and to nurture them. We are called to share a portion of our gifts with our parish, our diocese, the universal church and our community. At this time of year, Catholics throughout the twelve counties that make up the Diocese of Rochester are asked through the CMA to share some of their financial resources to help the Church meet real needs. The money raised by this campaign is used to fund specific programs, services and ministries. These programs, services and ministries are usually diocesan-wide in scope and impact and they are beyond the ability of any one parish to fund.
I would like to share with you some of the specific areas of ministry that are supported by your CMA gifts that are a blessing for our parishes. The diocese supports faith formation programs in which many of our youth have participated. One is the National Catholic Youth Conference that is held every other year. Our diocese usually has the largest contingency attending other than the host diocese. The Diocesan Youth Office coordinates this endeavor and assists parishes in the planning process. I hope that many of our youth will have the opportunity to experience NCYC during their high school years. The diocese has also held Foundation retreats for our youth to help them to be youth leaders the next one is scheduled for February 17-21 at Camp Stella Maris. The Diocesan Youth Office also provides The Diocesan Senior High Retreats for students in grades 9-12. The next Senior High Retreat is scheduled for January 14-15. They have also begun a retreat called Chosen: A day retreat for those preparing for Confirmation. Many of our youth have already attended this day retreat and others are scheduled to attend one soon. The Diocesan Youth Office also aids us in annually recognizing our youth with the Hands of Christ awards that are presented by Bishop Matano to high school seniors who are active in their faith.. All these youth ministries are made possible through the CMA.
Also, our parish offices receive services from the diocesan offices of Human Resources, Financial Services, and Legal and Information Services. These offices might not seem to have much to do with ministry or in dealing with parishioners on a daily basis, but I assure you they are of vital importance in the everyday running of our parish. All these and other diocesan offices are there to help our parish staff minister to you.
Every year each parish in the diocese is assigned a CMA goal. Your gift to the CMA can help Good Shepherd Catholic Community reach our parish goal of $33,711. I have already made my personal gift to the appeal and I sincerely hope that you will as well. So far 39 Parishioners have made a gifts or pledges totaling $9,018, 26.75% of our goal; a pretty good total for early returns! Last year we surpassed our goal and received a check back for 50% of our overage. To help us reach our goal again this year it is our hope that we can increase the number of households supporting the CMA. If every household can give us their support I am confident we will achieve our parish goal.
All registered parishioners should have received a brochure, letter, pledge card and return envelope in the mail. Hopefully yours has arrived. I encourage you to read the material carefully and give prayerful consideration to your participation. If you are a newly registered parishioner or if you didn’t receive a mailing, extra copies of the brochure and pledge forms are available in the church vestibules.
Every gift is important! If it is easier for you, you can make your gift online at www.dor.org by clicking on Give on - Line. There you can also view a video about this year’s appeal. You can also pay your pledge off in six installments; pledges can be paid through May 31, 2017. Pledge forms can be mailed directly to the Diocese. You can pay by a check made payable to Catholic Ministries Appeal.
The Catholic Ministries Appeal helps to bring service and assistance to so many people throughout our diocese, but it takes the support of us all to make it possible. Please prayerfully consider making your gift, whether large or small each gift is needed to help our diocese and parishes to continue to grow in faith and minister to God’s people.
God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill