Father Tirso

For the benefit of those who may have missed my article last weekend, I would like to announce one more time that we are beginning the Annual Catholic Appeal. This is the yearly appeal of the Archdiocese that asks every parish to raise a portion of its yearly ordinary income where parishioners make either a one-time contribution or a larger pledge that can be paid off within five months. This is also the same appeal that gives parishes a rebate of 100% of every amount collected over and above the parish’s goal. For SMM, our goal for this year is $18,596.40. I would again like to take this time to explain for where the funds for this campaign will be used.

I am sure that one of the thoughts on some peoples’ minds might be, “Oh the Archdiocese needs the money to pay off legal settlements as a result of the sexual abuses.” This can make some of us reluctant to give anything to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Contrary to what we or anyone might think, this is NOT the aim of the Annual Catholic Appeal nor will funds from the appeal be used in this way. Donations to the Archdiocese given either by parishes or by individuals are never used to pay for legal settlements.

The Annual Catholic Appeal helps the Archdiocese to share the Word of God through its support of Catholic schools, parishes in need, religious education programs, ministry formation, the protection of life, the promotion of peace and justice, and assistance for victims of natural disasters and/or wars through the Catholic Relief Services. Let us all take into consideration that our support of the Annual Catholic Appeal is a way for us to make certain that the faith is taught and proclaimed through education, defending the dignity of human life, and works of charity to the poor.

Again, 100% of funds collected over and above our goal of $18,596.40 will go right back to the parish to address our local needs and ways in which we can better advance the gospel mission. At the Masses last weekend, I again made mention of just one of the many needs in our parish community. The stained glass windows in our church are in need of repair. There are sixteen tall windows plus the rose window on the south wall, the two smaller round windows close to the altar on both the east and west walls, and the three small windows above the crucifix in the apse of the sanctuary. Again, this is just one of the many needs on our local level which might be partially addressed through the funds we collect from the Annual Catholic Appeal.

The cost of repairing just one of the sixteen tall windows is $6,000. This is why we are engaged in the raffle fund raiser to begin making those repairs. The nearest I can tell, we currently have enough funds in our To Teach Who Christ Is account to complete two of the windows. As I mentioned last weekend at the Masses, the hope is to raise as much money through the raffle fund raiser to complete the repairs to as many of the windows as possible. Depending on how much we raise over and above our goal of $18,596.40 for the Annual Catholic Appeal, we might be able to add some more funds to the window project and have a couple of more windows repaired and restored.

Of course, maintaining the physical structures is just one of the needs that we have here at the parish but it is not the only one. We must also give due attention to ways in which we can deepen our spiritual lives as a parish community. Our task is to form ourselves into grateful disciples who are committed to living out the faith. This is measured by how much we give of our time, talent, and treasure in terms of living out the demands of our faith. The extra funds that we collect through the Annual Catholic Appeal can also help in this endeavor. When it comes right down to it, tending to our spiritual life is much more important than anything else because if we do not nourish ourselves and future generations to be good disciples, we will never be able to accomplish the mission entrusted to us by Jesus himself.

This weekend is simply the “Announcement Weekend” for the Annual Catholic Appeal. Next weekend will be the time when each of us will be asked to make a commitment to the appeal. Normally, we listen to a recorded homily from the Cardinal. However, I might take a different approach for the commitment weekend. The reason is two-fold. One, it is our hospitality weekend and I would rather not dampen the spirit of hospitality. Second, at the 10:30 a.m. Mass next Sunday, we will be recognizing our teen candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation along with the three teenagers who have requested to be baptized and received into the Church. Our prayer and support of their journey is just as important as our commitment to the appeal—perhaps even more so—which is again a reason why I would like to take a different approach in terms of making our commitment to the Annual Catholic Appeal. I still have to work out the details but I am sure that it will all work out well in the end.

Fr. Tirso S. Villaverde, Jr.

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