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Dear Friends in Christ,
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus sent his disciples to go and witness to what they had seen and heard. This first generation of Christian disciples responded by offering their lives to the mission of spreading the Good News of God’s saving love. They shared what they had with their fellow disciples and often endured persecution and martyrdom. Because of their witness, the light of Christ was handed on to successive generations.
Two hundred years ago, a generation of disciples was the first to witness to the Catholic faith in the newly created Diocese of Boston. Like the first disciples, these Catholic immigrants suffered hardship and discrimination for their beliefs, but they persevered and the Church prospered in its efforts to welcome fellow immigrants and care for all those in need. Successive generations of Catholics took on the call to hand on the light of Christ by building parishes and schools, fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and building one of the strongest networks of Catholic service agencies and hospitals that the Church in the United States has ever seen.
We, the current generation of disciples, owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those who established the foundation of our faith. They have taught us that discipleship often involves sacrifice. But sacrifices for Christ are not a heavy burden; they are an opportunity to grow in faith, and to imitate Christ who gave Himself to save each one of us.
This year’s Catholic Appeal is an invitation for every Catholic family to respond with a generous offering to build up the Church. We have many needs. The parishes and schools that our parents and grandparents built for us need to be strengthened for our children and grandchildren. Our faith formation programs for youth, college students and adults must be renewed to meet the challenges of today’s society. And we are called to be a sign of Christ’s love by helping the needy in our communities.
Our Bicentennial Catholic Appeal theme, “Handing on the Light of Christ,” reminds us that when we share our gifts of treasure to support the spiritual, educational, and outreach ministries throughout our archdiocese, we bring gifts of hope and love to thousands of men, women, and children.
The supplement included in this edition of The Pilot provides detailed information on the many shared ministries that are supported by the Catholic Appeal. There is also an intent card below for your use. Gifts can be submitted in the collection basket in your parish on Appeal Weekend: March 1-2, 2008 or mailed to the archdiocese.
Thank you for all you have done, and all you will do, to be a sign of God’s love to others. Filled with the gratitude and hope of our bicentennial year, let us go forward together to hand on the light of Christ.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Boston