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. 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 also schedules Foundation retreats for youth to help them develop youth leadership skills and equip young people with the tools to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The next one is scheduled for February 16-20 at Camp Stella Maris. The Diocesan Youth Office also provides Diocesan Senior High Retreats for students in grades 9-12. The next Senior High Retreat, called “Source and Summit” is scheduled in this Year of the Eucharist for January 13-14 at Camp Stella Maris. Also provided are retreats for our youth preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation; You are Chosen, a day retreat for those in the first year of preparation and You are Called for those in year two. Many of our youth have already attended these days retreat and others will this year. The Diocesan Youth Office also aids us in an annually recognizing our youth with the Hands of Christ awards that are presented by the 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 IInformation 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 $35,165. While this goal is an increase from last year, the diocese did lower our original assigned goal after I appealed the amount of increase from last year’s goal. I have already made my personal gift to the appeal and I sincerely hope that you will as well. To help us reach our goal 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. Please use Good Shepherd Catholic Community as our parish name and 337 as our parish code. You can also view a video about this year’s appeal online. You can also pay your pledge off in six installments through May 31, 2018. 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