Annual Catholic Appeal: Why I give to the appeal and why you should, too Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Mar. 20, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

This is the time of year when Catholics throughout the Diocese of Madison are hearing and reading about the Annual  Catholic Appeal (ACA).

Members of parishes have received a letter and pledge form from Bishop Robert C. Morlino. In addition, there have been prayers and announcements about the ACA at Masses each weekend. There was an insert about the appeal distributed last weekend in parishes; it is also included in this week’s Catholic Herald. Next weekend, we will watch a video message from our bishop.

Why the ACA is important

Why is this so important? The ACA funds the ministries and services benefitting every Catholic in the Diocese of Madison. It supports the work of diocesan offices and agencies in the 11 counties of our diocese and also the work of our Church beyond the diocese.
Perhaps the best way to talk about the ACA is to explain why I give to the appeal — and why I think you (other  Catholics in our diocese) should, too.

Before I continue, let me clarify by way of a disclaimer that the Catholic Herald does not receive any direct funding from the Annual Catholic Appeal. We are funded strictly by subscriptions and advertising.

However, as editor of the Catholic Herald, I am aware of the important ministries and services provided through the ACA. As Bishop Morlino points out in his letter in the ACA insert, the theme of this year’s appeal is “Beacon of Faith; Fire of Charity.”

This is such a timely theme, because as the bishop says, “We are each chosen to be a Beacon of Faith to our friends, family, co-workers — a beacon radiating the light of Christ to all with whom we come into contact.”

The bishop observes that “Pope Francis has made clear that as the world grows darker, we must continue to strengthen our own faith; allow ourselves to be evangelized anew; to become part of the New Evangelization; and work together as one with the mission of Christ and His Church.”

Accomplishing our mission

How do we accomplish this mission? We do it in so many ways. These are just a few of them:

Through Catholic Charities. I am so impressed by everything that Catholic Charities does in our diocese. This agency has more than 35 programs serving people of all ages. I am especially aware of the work being done with senior citizens through the All Saints Neighborhood, which I visit several times each week because my mother-in-law lives there. We are so blessed to have All Saints available for independent seniors and those needing assisted living.

Through the Catholic Multicultural Center. The ACA gives some support to the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison, which is operated by Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish (my parish). The CMC creates an environment that gives every person who walks through the doors the opportunity to be part of the community and be treated with dignity and respect. The programs at the CMC provide food, computer training, language classes, help for job-seekers, and many other services to those in need.

Through education. Our diocesan Offices of Catholic Schools and Evangelization and Catechesis provide many resources to our schools and parish religious education, youth ministry, and marriage preparation programs. Recently my husband and I went to a training session for the FOCCUS program, which is used by those of us who help prepare engaged couples for marriage. The session was presented by diocesan staff member Andy Galvin. This is just one of many services provided by these diocesan offices.

Through seminarian education. Where would we be without our priests? The diocese helps train our future priests — and we are so fortunate to have 32 wonderful diocesan seminarians. They need our financial support.

Through worship. Our Catholic faith is enriched through worship. Our diocesan Office of Worship helps train the people involved in liturgical ministry in our parishes. As an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, I have attended workshops presented by the diocese to help me better understand the privilege of sharing the Holy Eucharist with others.

There are many other wonderful ways the ACA helps enrich the faith of people in our diocese and beyond. I haven’t even mentioned Camp Gray, Hispanic Ministry, continuing education for clergy, and diocesan and parish planning . . .  the list goes on.

I encourage all Catholics to give generously to the ACA. Our Church can accomplish so much with our help. Our financial gifts do indeed make a difference as we strive to become Beacons of Faith sharing the Fire of Charity.