My Dear Friends in Christ,
Through the use of parables and the example of His life, Christ teaches us much about stewardship in the Gospels. Each one of us has been given gifts and talents by God, who loves us and calls us to develop those gifts and share them for the building up of His kingdom.
In the Acts of the Apostles and the New Testament letters, we see how the first Christians put Jesusí teachings into practice. They generously sacrificed on behalf of the widows, orphans and neediest members of the community. St. Paul was in some ways the Churchís first fund-raiser, taking up collections among the local churches of his time to support the persecuted believers in Jerusalem. He saw this as an opportunity to provide for the material needs of others and, importantly, to create a sense of unity within the Church.
Stewardship, unity and helping others, which are at the center of the Churchís mission, are at the heart of our annual Catholic Appeal.
Each year our Catholic family lives the call to stewardship by generously giving from the blessings we have received. This support allows the Church to continue the good works of serving those in need, proclaiming the Good News, and coming together to pray and celebrate the sacraments.
Like St. Paul in his day, we also know that the Catholic Appeal is more than a means of providing funding for our many good works. It is a way of fostering the unity of the Church. Like modern-day Good Samaritans, we work together to help our neighbors who are in need.
The Catholic Appeal unites all 295 parishes of our archdiocese, drawing us together in the service of the Gospel. I am grateful for and proud of the dedication and sacrifice so many parishioners demonstrate in supporting the appeal with an annual pledge.
Through the generosity of so many people in recent years we have been able to accomplish many good works. But much more remains to be done. Therefore, I ask every Catholic in our archdiocese to join me in contributing to this yearís Catholic Appeal. All gifts -- of whatever amount -- matter.
Thank you for all you have done, and all you will do, to be a sign of Godís love to others. Filled with the joy of this Easter season, let us go forward to carry out the work of the Lord.
Devotedly yours in Christ,