Father Tirso

This weekend begins the Annual Catholic Appeal. Pastors are supposed to announce to the beginning the process of the appeal which will span a period of three weekends. Of course, I will still be in the Philippines as you read this article. In fact, I am writing this article even while I am still in Chicago dreaming that I will be in warmer weather and possibly on a beach. I hope that I am not making anyone feel jealous. But, I have digressed.

Since I will be away this weekend, I am choosing to use this article as a way to announce the start of the Annual Catholic Appeal. In years past, the parish has been extremely successful with the Annual Catholic Appeal. We have not only reached our goal but exceeded it. The excess money has been a blessing and allowed us as a parish to support certain projects or just pay off some needed bills. Either way, I want to thank you all again for being so generous and committed to the needs of the Church—both for the Archdiocese and our own parish.

This year, the goal amount for our parish was based on the offertory income from the fiscal year 2018— 2019 which totaled $300,779. The Annual Catholic Appeal asks each parish to raise at least 7% of the previous year’s offertory income. So, based on the figure of 2018—2019, St. Margaret Mary Parish has been assigned the task of raising at least $21,055 for the 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal. Again, if contributions exceed that goal amount, the parish receives a rebate. The more we collect the more it will benefit both the Archdiocese and our local parish needs.

As for the Annual Catholic Appeal, it helps the Archdiocese to further its mission as disciples of Jesus. It is just like any other parish that relies on the donations of its members. The only difference is that the Archdiocese is a much larger operation than an average parish.

To be clear, the funds from the Annual Catholic Appeal are not used to pay off debt incurred from lawsuits connected with abuses. The funds for the Annual Catholic Appeal are used by the Archdiocese to advance its mission imperative to preach the gospel by helping to improve the schools and religious education programs. The funds are also used to invest in the people who go through formation to be trained as professional pastoral assistants in the parishes. Further, the funds are used to advance the commitment of the Church in Chicago to issues surrounding peace, justice, and respect for life.

On our local level, the excess funds that we might get from this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal can be used for several capital projects that are needed. For example, even before I started here, the chimney over our boiler room (behind the rectory and close to the school building) has been in dire need of repair. The top of the chimney is not as stable as it should be and can present a major safety issue if anything were to happen to it. If bricks were to start falling off, we can imagine what a potential problem this might cause especially if someone unexpectedly gets hurt. This is the next big project that the Finance Committee and I would like to tackle.

Of course, even as I announce the Annual Catholic Appeal, I am sure that the announcement on all of our minds is the one that was made on February 4 th in regard to the future of the four communities of St. Margaret Mary, St. Timothy, St. Henry, and Blessed Aloysius Stepinac Croatian Mission. Unfortunately, I did not have advance knowledge of the decision as I wrote this article. So, for that announcement, I ask that we also pay close attention toward the end of each Mass this weekend especially if you were unable to make it on February 4th.

At the 4:00 p.m. Mass, the announcement will be made by Art Blumberg. At the 8:30 a.m. Mass, Reid Mackin will share the announcement while at the 10:30 a.m. it will be Deacon Michael Neba. All three of them were part of the discernment team so they should be able to answer any questions parishioners may have regarding the Renew My Church outcome. If they cannot answer your questions, I will field those questions after February 14th when I have returned to the parish.

Fr. Tirso S. Villaverde, Jr.

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