This weekend, March 7 and 8, the archdiocese will launch the 2009 Catholic Appeal in most of our parishes.
The 2009 Catholic Appeal theme “Responding to God’s Grace, Renewing Our Church,” conveys Cardinal Seán’s hope that we can continue the work of renewing the Church across the archdiocese despite the challenging economic climate. It also communicates our belief that when we respond to God’s grace and share our blessings, we can accomplish great things for God and for each other.
Renewal of the archdiocese is occurring in so many ways. Spiritually, the Arise Together in Christ program is strengthening parish communities and helping parishioners to increase their knowledge of the beauty of our Catholic faith in Jesus Christ. We are fortifying Catholic schools through the involvement and generosity of thousands who have become involved in the 2010 Initiative and many other local efforts. We are continuing the work of administrative and pastoral renewal in all of the many central ministries now housed at the Pastoral Center in Braintree. We have begun many new training initiatives that recharge and prepare priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders for their dedicated service to the Church. And we continue to focus on renewal of the many ways we communicate our faith by expanding the work of CatholicTV, The Pilot, CardinalSeánsBlog.org and Cardinal Seán’s weekly email, and by preparing to launch a new archdiocesan website later this month.
Our Church spans the entire world, with more than one billion people across the globe that call themselves Catholic. Locally, our faith family consists of Catholics from 292 parishes, those who worship in numerous chapels, on college campuses, or in medical centers across the 144 cities and towns that comprise the Archdiocese of Boston. Together, we are close to 2 million strong.
Because of our size, we have over 50 life-changing ministries that are best accomplished centrally instead of at each parish. These ministries touch and change the lives of so many, by helping to hand on the faith to young and new Catholics, supporting priests, seminarians, and all those that offer their lives to serve us, and making our parishes, schools, and agencies more effective through training and support services. The central ministries supplement the work done in our parishes and help coordinate many renewal initiatives that will benefit Catholics both here and now, and for years to come.
Last year, almost 50,000 individuals and families participated in the Catholic Appeal, contributing over $15 million dollars in support of Cardinal Seán and the effort he is leading to advance the mission of our local Church. If you were one of these contributors, thank you for your generosity. If not, we invite you to join this important effort this year. Now more than ever, you are encouraged as a member of our growing family of faith, to participate out of gratitude for God’s gifts and blessings in your own lives.
In his video homily for the launch of the Appeal, Cardinal Seán states “Lent is a special time to focus on our spiritual journey, our relationship with God, with our family, with our community. It is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. One of the characteristics of the faith community from the pages of the New Testament up to the present is the willingness of the Catholic community to share our resources with those in need and to support the crucial task of teaching the Gospel and making disciples of all nations.
“This Lent, I invite all of you to join me in supporting our Catholic Appeal. This is the way we are able to make a sacrifice in faith and love that will allow the Catholic community to carry on the mission that Christ has entrusted to us. These are challenging economic times, and we are truly grateful to all of you who freely give to support the works of mercy and the proclamation of the Gospel by our Catholic community.”
Information is available in all of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston or at www.BostonCatholicAppeal.org. Please join us this year and participate as generously as your means allow. Thank you for all you have done, and all you will do, to help with the renewal of the Church and to be a sign of God’s love to others.
Scot Landry is Secretary for Institutional Advancement.