No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. This is the intent behind the new Annual Catholic Appeal in our diocese.
Just as it takes many peoples' involvement, commitment, sacrifice, perseverance, and more when it comes to maintaining the vitality of our respective parishes, the same is true for our family of parishes, our diocese. When it was founded in 1946 in the 11 counties of southwest Wisconsin covering over 8,000 square miles, the diocese had 82,000 Catholics. Now it has 277,000. It had 122 active priests; now there are 96.
Appealing for help to sustain and enhance the various ministries which have grown to serve the needs of our people is a learning experience. First of all, not everyone is always aware of what a diocese is, who makes up its structure, how it goes about using its resources, when it should reach out to help and to ask for help, where it came from and where it is going, and why we are invited to be part of it.
More information than ever before has been assembled and distributed to the people of our diocese to help answer these questions as part of the new Annual Catholic Appeal. Please make use of the printed materials you have received in the mail and check out our Web site at www.madisondiocese.org to obtain more details on specific ministries such as rural life, worship, Catholic schools, adult faith formation, religious education, vocations, retired priests, Camp Gray, youth ministry, Catholic Charities, and more. These all make up the focus of our diocese as it strives to fulfill its mission in serving God's people today and beyond.
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. You and I are being invited to do our part at whatever level is possible. We stand on the shoulders of dedicated people, bishops, priests, and their parishioners before us who sacrificed to build up and strengthen the Catholic faith, to "Cultivate God's Kingdom of Heaven On Earth." Their example encourages each of us to do something by sharing our prayers, our work, and our resources in gratitude for all we have received as members of the Diocese of Madison.
May our first Annual Catholic Appeal be a success for us and, with the help of God, because of us.
Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is the vicar general for the Diocese of Madison.